Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Archive for the ‘Aesthetics’ Category

Barry Allen on Aesthetics of Engineering, 12th November, Istanbul Technical University

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Professor Barry Allen of the Department of Philosophy at McMaster University, currently visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boğaziçi University, will give a talk on ‘Aesthetics of Engineering’ to the Culture and Art Club (Kültür ve Sanat Birliği), Istanbul Technical University, at the central Campus, 12:30, 12.11.2013.


Written by Barry Stocker

November 10, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Aesthetics

Talk by Barry Allen (McMaster University) at Bogazici on “ENGINEERING AESTHETICS” 01/11/2013

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Department of Civil Engineering


Seminar on



Prof. Barry Allen

Visiting Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boğaziçi University

Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada

Friday, November 01, 2013, 3:00-4:00 PM

Vedat Yerlici Conference Center, Room 1

Engineering Building 5th Floor


Abstract: Works of engineering (for example a bridge, ship, or aircraft) resist the separation, traditional in aesthetic theory, between how they look, or what it is like to perceive them, and how effective or efficient they are. As a result, it is impossible to take a disinterested stance. We cannot separate an assessment of aesthetic value from an appraisal of technical achievement. How well such objects work cannot be separated from how well they look, or the aesthetic quality of their perception.

Works of engineering thus require us to reconsider the idea that aesthetic quality is merely subjective, or a matter of how people feel, without regard to physical qualities or real changes in the physical world. Appearance and functionality are not as independent as aesthetic theory traditionally tends to assume. In this lecture I explain this argument with several examples, mostly drawn from modern bridge engineering.



Barry Allen is Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. He received his PhD in philosophy from Princeton University in 1986. He is the author of four books, including “Artifice and Design: Art and Technology in Human Experience” (2008). This semester he is a visiting professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boǧaziçi University, where he is teaching a class on Chinese philosophy.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

October 27, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Ivan Soll (Wisconsin-Madison) on “In Praise of Illusion.” 18/07/2013

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Professor Ivan Soll (Wisconsin-Madison) will give a talk at Bogazici University on Thursday 18/07/2013, in TB130 from 5-7pm. Everyone welcome.

“In Praise of Illusion.” 

ABSTRACT: A wide ranging discussion of various attitudes to illusions, both perceptual and intellectual, in Descartes, the Empiricists, Kant, Schopenhauer, 20th century aesthetic theory, and Nietzsche, and including my own views about the matter.


Written by Lucas Thorpe

July 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Two-Day Conference on Neurology, Philosophy of Biology, and Artificial Intelligence, organized by Koç University Philosophy Department (Venue: Beyoglu – RCAC)

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  • Speakers include but are not limited to: Bernard Stiegler (Université de Technologie Compiègne), Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley), Barry Smith (University of London), and Güven Güzeldere (Harvard University)Poster

Conference Program

May 25th  Saturday

9.30 Opening

9.45-11.45 First Session

  Hilmi Demir: “A Recent History of Philosophy of Mind: Convergence Points between Cognitive Sciences and Phenomenology”

 Barış Korkmaz: “Self: Neuroscience and Psychoanalysis”

Aziz Zambak: “Plasticity: The Forgotten Principle in Artificial Intelligence”

11:45-12:00 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00  Second Session

Bernard Stiegler: “From Neuropower to Noopolitics”

13:00-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30:16:30 Third Session

Patrick Roney: “Neuro-aesthetics”

Zeynep Direk: “Neuroethics and the question of alterity”

Stephen Voss: “What do I mean when I say I”

May 26th Sunday

 9:30-10:30 First Session

Alva Noë: “The Fragile Manifest: Presence in Thought and Experience”

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break 

10:45-12:45 Second Session

Barry Smith: “Are Flavours in the Brain? The Phenomenology and Neuroscience of Flavour Perception”

Güven Güzeldere: “Unity of Consciousness in a Divided Brain?” 

 12:45-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:30 Third Session

Fuat Balcı: “Reward Maximization: The Role of Time and its Psychophysics”

Emrah Aktunç: “On Bickle’s ‘Ruthless Reductionism in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience: What are they Reducing?”

Hakan Gürvit: “Plasticity: Via Regia to the Neuroscientific Subjectivity”

Venue: Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations – Beyoglu

Venue Map

Talk at Bogazici: Stephen Snyder (Fatih) on “Arthur Danto’s Andy Warhol: The Embodiment Theory in Art and the Pragmatic Turn” 15.03.2013

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Stephen Snyder (Fatih) will give a talk on Friday March 15th from 5-7pm in TB130 on:

“Arthur Danto’s Andy Warhol: The Embodiment Theory in Art and the Pragmatic Turn”

ABSTRACT: Arthur Danto’s most recent book, Andy Warhol, leads the reader through the story of the iconic American’s artistic life highlighted by a philosophical commentary, a commentary that merges Danto’s aesthetic theory with the artist’s own narrative.  Inspired by Warhol’s Brillo Box installation, art that in Danto’s eyes was indiscernible from the everyday boxes it represented, Danto developed a theory that is able to differentiate art from non-art by employing the body of conceptual art theory manifest in what he termed the ‘artworld’.  The strength of Danto’s theory is found in its ability to explain the art of the post-modern era.  His body of work weaves philosophy, art history and art criticism together, merging his aesthetic philosophy with his extensive knowledge of the world of art. Danto’s essentialist theory of embodied meaning provides him with a critical tool that succeeds in explaining the currents of contemporary art, a task that many great thinkers of art history were unable to do.  If Warhol inspired Danto to create a philosophy of art, it is appropriate that Danto write a tribute to Warhol that traces how Warhol brought philosophy into art.  Danto’s account of ‘Warhol as philosopher’ positions him as a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century art, effecting a sea change in how art was made and viewed.  Warhol achieved this by conceiving of works that embodied the answers to a series of philosophical puzzles surrounding the nature of art.

Warhol had transformed himself, in a way, into an icon of the times. Because of this, Danto sees Warhol as manifest in his art.  The pragmatist notion that art should undermine the dichotomies that exist between art and life would, by some accounts, position Warhol to be the philosopher that Danto claims him to be, for he dissolved the philosophical questions posted by late modern aesthetic thinkers by creating art that imploded the accepted notions of art at the time.  One of Danto’s greatest contributions to aesthetics is his theory’s ability to distinguish art from non-art, recognizing that it is the artist’s intention that levels the sublimity of art into the commonplace, thereby transfiguring the everyday.   However, while acknowledging this achievement,   I argue that Warhol’s philosophical contribution actually manifests itself in a manner different from that proposed by Danto.  Danto maintains that the internal drive of art leads to the unfolding of art theoretical concepts that ineluctably shift the terrain of the world of art.  I agree with Danto that Warhol, almost as Hegel viewed Napoleon as Geist on a horse, pushed forward the boundaries of art through the actualization of art’s internal drive.  However, I disagree that the conceptual nature of art is one that unfolds merely as a relation of concepts that artists connect to the meaning of history using their unmediated grasp of style.  Rather, I would argue that the artist’s style is not narrowly bound to the meanings of history.  Through their aesthetic articulations, artists initiate a process of social interaction.  This process employs the philosophical logic that Danto attributes to Warhol indirectly, and through it, it is able to transfigure the vocabulary of art—the concepts of the artworld—by superseding the language of modernism.  Warhol’s philosophical contribution is seen in his mastery of both the medium of art and the underlying logic of the medium’s expression and reception.

In this essay, after exploring the gains Danto’s account of embodied meaning and the artworld have brought to aesthetic philosophy, I will discuss Warhol’s art in terms of Danto’s theory.  On some levels it seems like the perfect match of an aesthetic theory and an artistic practice.  However, I will argue that Warhol’s ‘philosophical’ activity is described better in terms of pragmatist theory, putting his activity at odds with Danto’s ‘appropriation’ of Warhol for his essentialist theory.  To conclude, I will suggest a way that the pragmatic turn taken by some members of the second generation of critical theorists, such as Jürgen Habermas, Karl-Otto Apel and Thomas McCarthy, could provide an example for how to integrate rationally, or in Danto’s case essentially, oriented theories into practical activities.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Talk at Bogazici: Alberto L. Siani (Münster/Pisa) on “Kant’s Aesthetic Judgement as non-aesthetic Knowledge” (14.03.2013)

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Alberto L. Siani (Münster/Pisa) will give a talk on Thursday March 14th in TB130 from 5-7pm.

“Kant’s Aesthetic Judgement as non-aesthetic Knowledge”

ABSTRACT: One of the most interesting aspects of Baumgarten’s project of aesthetics as the younger sister of logic lies in a sort of “heterogenesis of ends” to be ascertained in its later reprises. Later philosophers who implicitly or explicitly referred to it incurred in productive misunderstandings, as they developed the original project in directions having little or nothing to do with it. Nonetheless these developments brought forward with surprising outcomes the idea of the aesthetic knowledge as a mediation between sensibility and intellect or reason. My presentation will focus on Kant’s understanding of the aesthetic judgement, taken in its non-aesthetic relevance, but rather as the paradigmatic site of free intersubjective consent. Unlike similar discussions of this issue (like the one by Hannah Arendt), however, I will not claim an objective relevance of the aesthetic judgement for the practical-political sphere. Rather, I will show that the Kantian aesthetic judgement does not so much lay the ground for aesthetics as a specific philosophical discipline, but rather for a new understanding of subjectivity and of knowledge that will find its fully developed actualisation in Hegel’s philosophy.

Written by Lucas Thorpe

March 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Istanbul Technical University Talk (23.10 at 13:00). Zsolt Bátori (Budapest University of Technology and Economics). Philosophy of Perception Meets photography

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“Philosophy of Perception Meets Photography”
Zsolt Bátori
Budapest University of Technology and Economics

23.10. 2012, Tuesday, 13.00

Istanbul technical University

Faculty of Science and Letters

Department of Humanities and Social Science, Seminar Room

In this paper I consider an important aspect of photographic realism that is strongly connected to the debate over photographic transparency, and to the question of what types of processes are to be considered perception proper. Photographic transparency theory holds that in photographs we see the scene photographed as we see objects through eyeglasses or in mirrors. I discuss some of the major arguments for and against transparency, and then I argue that formulating a position first requires an explication of one’s position about the nature of perception (seeing). In order to show what decisions one must make to arrive at a position about seeing, I consider beings with perceptual systems more or less different from ours. This discussion not only enables us to see how relative our notion of photographic realism is to our specific visual capacities, but it also helps to explicitly formulate a position about what conditions one might or might not consider necessary for seeing.! Although I do not argue for or against any of these specific conditions here, my considerations show through what steps the transparency debate may be resolved. This discussion also sheds some light on how to proceed when arguing for or against the (proper) perceptual status of specific perceptual mechanisms.

Written by Barry Stocker

October 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm