The primary focus of this course is to explore the philosophy of art. Creating, enjoying and appreciating art is one of the most distinctive features of human beings. Artworks are among the most valued entities in our culture, but also in most human cultures. But what is art, and why do we, or why should we, value it so highly? These are the core questions that we will address in this course. We will explore a variety of answers that philosophers have given to these basic questions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out to be difficult to formulate a coherent and consistent theory of art and of its value. One aim of the course is to become familiar with the main answers to these questions, and the arguments for and against them. The range of theories we will explore include: the representational theory, the expression theory, formalism, neo-Wittgensteinianism, and the institutional theory.  Aesthetic theory encompasses more than the domain of art. A secondary aim of the course will be to locate art within the wider domain of aesthetic objects, aesthetic properties, and aesthetic experiences.


Professor: Graham Oddie, Hellems 273


Phone: I don't currently ave an office phone number. Email me or accost me in the hallway.

Web site:

Office hours: Thursdays 12.30 pm - 1.30 pm, in Hellems 273. At other times by appointment.

I am here to help you, so do not hesitate to come to the scheduled office hours if you have any problems, or if you cannot attend those then schedule an appointment.


Apart from the textbool (NoëI Carroll, Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction) all materials for the course are on the D2L website.

Classes:  Tuesday/Thursday 11.00 am - 12.15 pm, in MUEN E130

Offfice hours: Fridays 2.00 pm -3.00 pm, in Hellems 273. At other times by appointment.

I am here to help you, so do not hesitate to come to the scheduled office hours if you have any problems. Other times can be arranged by appointment.


NoëI Carroll, Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction. (Routledge, 1999).

This is a compulsory text. You can probably get it cheaper at Amazon than at the Bookstore though I have ordered it at the latter.

I will also be placing books on reserve and recommending articles, most of which I will probably be able to make available on the D2L website.

A very useful resource available electronically through the Library online service:  Jerrold Levinson, Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford University Press, 2003).


The assessment for the course will be based on four items:

i. In-class participation: 15%. (Logical point: you cannot participate effectively if you are not there! I assign one point per week for 15 weeks, so half a point for each class. )

ii. Weekly exercises/responses: 15%. (To be submitted to the D2L discussion board each Sunday by midnight.)

iii. Term Paper: 1500-1700 word paper: 30%. (To be submitted electronically, through the D2L website, by March 19, midnight.)

iv. Final Paper: 1800-2000 word term paper: 40%. (To be submitted, through D2L website, by the end of the scheduled exam period.)

Drafts:  I am available to read, comment on and discuss drafts of papers, but they have to be submitted to me at a week before you need them back for revision.

Resubmitting: If you have a legitimate and documented excuse for missing a deadline or failing a paper (illness, dismemberment, death etc.), then you may be granted a late submit or the opportunity to revise and resubmit the paper. In certain circumstances I might require you to revise and resubmit.


TERM PAPER:  No later than 11 pm, Monday March 20th. Submit electronically, through the D2L website.  The paper topics will be up on the D2L website before the end of February.

FINAL PAPER:  No later than Monday, May 8th, 730 pm.  Submit electronically, through the D2L website. The paper topics will be up on the D2L website before the end of March.


DISABILITIES:  If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please let me know in the first two weeks of the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the Disability Services Office in (C4C), Suite N200, phone 303-492-8671, E-mail

RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES. It is university policy to make reasonable accommodations for religious observances.