DUE: 11pm, January 26, electronically in MS Word document or cut and pasted into an email.
LENGTH: 4-5 pages word processed, font no larger than 12.

The assignment is to demonstrate comprehension of and an ability to respond to classical aesthetic theory as presented in our readings so far this term.  The four philosophers that you choose from are: Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Kant. You may use theconcepts from Japanese Aesthetics  that we discussed in a comparison paper.

  • "Comprehension" is demonstrated by presenting an author's ideas accurately.
  • "Ability to Respond" is demonstrated by making connections between two authors based on your reading and reflecting on the texts.
    • A "C" paper does the above
    • A "B" paper goes beyond class discussions in depth of comprehension and finding new connections.
    • An "A" paper contains deeper insight into the texts and their comparisons.
There are two options.
  • Write your paper on an aspect of one of the four philosopher's view of art, what it is, what it's function is and/or its place in a society. You must have a thesis statement that spells out the aspect that you will consider.Suggestions:
    • The differences between Book III & Book X of Plato's Republic.
    • Aristotle -- his view of the function of art.
    • Hume -- the relationship between his standard of taste and the things that can go wrong.
    • Kant -- the relationship of aesthetic judgment to judgment in general. What role does aesthetic judgment play in his theory?

  • Do a comparison between two of the philosophers

  • Again a thesis statment is required -- and, since you are dealing with 2 philosophers the "aspect" needs to be more tightly focused. 

    Suggested combinations:

    • Plato & Aristotle on imitation and the function of Art
    • Hume & Kant on role of reason in aesthetic judgment/or the role of feeling. [You could take it from either direction]
    • Plato & Concepts from Japanese Aesthetics.
    • Aristotle & Kant: "catharsis" vs "disinterest"
  • Your paper should have an introduction where you state what your topic will be and generally indicate what direction you will be going. Stating your thesis concerning your text/topic choice at this point can save you a lot of wandering later... 
    • The thesis should include a statement of the aspect of the author or authors you will discuss [the TOPIC] and a general statement about HOW you will discuss or compare them. [your THESIS]

  • You may organize the body of your paper in whatever way seems to present the material best, but be sure your organization is clear! 
    • However, it usually works better to present the philosopher's view [the parts you need for your discussion] first, then start the comparison/discussion of the other philosopher or literary text.
    • In other words don't alternate: "Plato says....., but I think...." 
      • If you do this you won't see the whole picture.
      • Present Plato's view first, then proceed to develop the contrast in relation to the topic you have chosen.
    • The paper should end with a conclusion, focusing and summarizing your discussion. 
      • The best papers are those where the conclusion "writes itself" - that is - it follows from what you have argued in your paper.

  • Please explain in your own words.  If you use a quote be sure to explain what the quotation means in the context of your discussion. In other words demonstrate understanding of the text.