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Kenneth Walden Wins Inaugural Danto/ASA Prize

Wednesday, June 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Julie Van Camp
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The American Philosophical Association and the American Society for Aesthetics are pleased to announce that Professor Kenneth Walden (Dartmouth College) has been selected as the winner of the inaugural Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize for his paper, “Art and Moral Revolution.”

UPDATE: The special session at the APA Eastern meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, January 4, 12 n-2 pm. If you are planning to attend the APA Eastern meeting, please join us.

The article was published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73:3 (Summer 2015), 283-295. It available in the Wiley On-line Library (for ASA members) and JStor.

Abstract: Traditionally, questions about the role of the arts in moral thought have focused on the arts’ role in the acquisition of new moral knowledge, the refinement of moral concepts, and the capacity to apply our moral view to particular situations. Here I suggest that there is an importantly different and largely overlooked role for the arts in moral thought: an ability to reconfigure the structure of our moral thought and effect what we might call a revolution in that framework. In this article I explain this distinction between two kinds of change in view, suggest the second type has not been addressed by the extant literature, provide examples of this role, and argue for its importance.

The Danto/ASA Prize, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded to a member of the APA and the ASA for the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood. In addition, a symposium in honor of the recipient of the prize is held at the APA Eastern Division meeting, normally the next such meeting following the selection of the prizewinner. This prize is in honor of the late Arthur Danto, a past president of the APA Eastern Division.

Walden is assistant professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College. His areas of expertise are ethics, epistemology, Kant, and aesthetics. He received his Ph.D. from MIT.  Walden has published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Ethics, Philosophical Studies, and Oxford Studies in Metaethics; with two articles forthcoming at other journals.

The chair of the selection committee said, “Works of art can effect incremental tweaks to our moral concepts or patterns of moral response. Kenneth Walden’s “Art and Moral Revolution” contends that art sometimes goes further, transforming frameworks of moral thought. In the spirt of Arthur Danto, in whose memory this Prize is given, Walden advances an ambitious and far-reaching argument through insightful redescriptions of Wagerian opera and the provocative street performances of the Cynics.”

The prize will be awarded in even-numbered years, with the next award expected in 2020. The next submission deadline is May 31, 2019, for articles published in 2017 and 2018. For guidelines: http://aesthetics-online.org/?page=DantoPrize

About the APA

Founded in 1900, the American Philosophical Association promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena. The APA supports the professional development of philosophers at all levels and works to foster greater understanding and appreciation of the value of philosophical inquiry.

About the ASA

The American Society for Aesthetics was founded in 1942 to promote study, research, discussion, and publication in aesthetics. “Aesthetics,” in this connection, is understood to include all studies of the arts and related types of experience from a philosophic, scientific, or other theoretical standpoint, including those of psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural history, art criticism, and education. “The arts” include the visual arts, literature, music, and theater arts.


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