Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen
Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen
campus Desguinlei
Desguinlei 25 - 2018 Antwerpen
T +32 3 244 18 00 - F +32 3 238 90 17
Philosophy of Art33207/2227/2122/1/61
Study guide

Philosophy of Art

Academic year 2021-22
Is found in:
  • Bridging Programme dance
This is a single course unit.
Study load: 3 credits
Co-ordinator: Goossens Dimitri
Languages: Dutch
Scheduled for: Academic year
This course unit is marked out of 20 (rounded to an integer).
Possible deadlines for learning account: 31.10.2021 ()
Re-sit exam: is possible.
Compensated fail: You have to pass this course unit (will never be compensated).
Total study time: 90,00 hours


This information is subject to possible future changes in the Corona-measures.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Prerequisite competencies (text)

  • Passed the admission test.
  • The student has a general basic knowledge of philosophy and general cultural subjects as offered in the curriculum of the Conservatoire or equivalent.

Learning outcomes (list)

The student can formulate a personal and substantiated response to basic questions from the philosophy of art.
The student can articulate his or her insights into the meaning and uniqueness of art and art forms.
The student can articulate his or her insights into questions relating to art as an historical-cultural process and event.
The student has acquired an understanding of the critical questions in the arts in general and music in particular, both on an aesthetic as well as a cultural-social level .
The student is able to critically indicate in a general sense the historical changes in performance practice and productively use this for thinking about his or her own practice.
The student is able to read, understand and interpret basic texts independently and from a critical and philosophical starting point.

Course content

Philosophy is a discipline that asks itself fundamental questions about mankind and what the act of art is in the world. Questions that do not lend themselves to simple and straightforward answers. Philosophy of art is a sub-discipline of philosophy in search for the foundations of art as a discipline, a way of acting, an experience, a form of speech or language....or in search for answers to the lack or impossibility of fixed foundations (post-metaphysical). This course wants to introduce the student to the world of important and also current questions in art philosophy and the subsequent answers given by different thinkers. The idea is that the student becomes familiar with their visions or perspectives, understands them, and is able to confront them with each other and with a personal vision. A knowledge and insight that the student can also use and apply in relation to works of art (past and present) during the course. All of this resulting in more insight in art and the own artistic practice of the student. To achieve this goal the course will start with the question about the nature and task of philosophy of art and the different big perspectives on the nature of art ('What is art?'). During the exploration of these perspectives already some big names in the world of philosophy will be investigated (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche..). The next part of the course will show a thematic approach. Questions or problems in the world of art philosophy will be treated through the reading of text fragments dealing with those topics. In dealing with those topics a lot of big names in the tradition of art philosophy will be addressed (Kant, Heidegger, Arthur Danto, Walter Benjamin...), but attention will also go to authors in art philosophy who still are active in the domain of those topics (Carolyn Korsmeyer, Rina Arya, Petra Van Brabandt,...). It will be an exploration course that predominantly will stay within the scope of western tradition and culture because it is very difficult to take on, from the awareness of our own culturally located existence, non-western philosophy of art within the limited framework of an introductory course.
Questions that might be central to the course (but other topics might be added by students) are:
Can pornography and/or horror be art?
What is an image?
Ways of looking: voyeurism and the male gaze in art and aesthetics in relation to the female?
Aesthetics of beauty(Enlightenment), the death of beauty and aesthetics of disgust and ugliness: can disgust find a place in aesthetics?
Art and commerce: authenticity of a work of art and the artist?
Showing and hiding, silence and speaking: the phenomenon of art and the talking about art?

Study material (text): Mandatory

Students are expected to get the book 'Thinking Art' of Antoon Van den Braembussche. This book serves as a back-up for the philosophers dealt with in course. I will refer to the book frequently in class when dealing with subject matter that is in there in a more elaborate way than handled in class. It will be very handy as a framework for everything talked about in class. The text fragments (whom students must read either at home or sometimes together in class) will be put on the digital learning platform in pdf-format. Fragments will be in English.

Educational organisation (list)

Learning Activities
Lectures and / or tutorials30,00 hours
Work time outside of contact hours60,00 hours

Evaluation (list)

Evaluation(s) for first exam chance
Academic yearReflection assignment100,00
Evaluation(s) for re-sit exam
2nd examination periodReflection assignment100,00

Evaluation (text)

For the exam students are expected to study the philosophers who have been talked about in class based on their notes, possible powerpoints and the book of A. Van den Braembussche. For the philosophical topics students should explore the texts (already explored at home or during classes) and participate also in dialogues and debates during classes. At the exam, questions will be asked based on the text fragments and notes taken in class. Text fragments that have been dealt with during the course can be brought to the exam.
Form of the exam: oral exam