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Phenomenology and the Visual Arts

Lecturer: Graham Jones

Originally Taught: Summer School 2017

Phenomenology has provided one of the richest and most nuanced philosophical approaches to the arts. This course details the relevant ideas of five key figures within this tradition: Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Mikel Dufrenne, Michel Henry, and Henri Maldiney. The final part of the course examines the ‘post-phenomenological’ legacy of this tradition, offering Gilles Deleuze's Logic of Sensation as an important example.

Seminar 1
The first seminar provides a brief introduction to, and overview of, phenomenology as a philosophical method and a conceptual paradigm. It then examines phenomenology's relation to the arts (particularly the visual arts), beginning with Heidegger's view of these matters.

Seminar 2
This seminar looks at Merleau-Ponty’s evolving view on painting, presenting his ideas against the backdrop of his philosophy more generally.

Seminar 3
This seminar examines Dufrenne’s famous and influential work on aesthetic experience and the nature of the aesthetic object.

Seminar 4
This seminar looks at two lesser-known phenomenologists, Michel Henry and Henri Maldiney, examining their respective contributions to theorising the arts.

Seminar 5
The final seminar looks at the legacy of these figures’ respective contributions, particularly the way their concerns have been selectively adopted and critically extended by subsequent thinkers who often claim no specific or overt affiliation with phenomenology as such. In particular we will look at Deleuze’s Logic of Sensation and its synthesis of several key phenomenological concepts.