The American Society for Aesthetics held its Eastern Division Meeting on April 4th and 5th at the Independence Park Inn in Old City Philadelphia. Approximately seventy-five people from the US, Canada, and Australia attended the conference. David Clowney (Rowan University) and Bill Seeley (Bates College) served as Program Co-Chairs.
The program for the meeting was philosophically diverse. It featured sessions on traditional topics in aesthetics such as the ontology of art, Hume and Kant’s aesthetics, philosophy of film, philosophy of music, philosophy of literature, empathy and imagination, and narrative understanding, along with a session on cultural meaning and a paper by Henry Pratt on narrative in comics. In addition, a panel discussion with Paul Guyer, Mary Wiseman, John Gibson, and Laurent Stern was devoted to the latter’s Interpretive Reasoning and an Author-Meets-Critics session with Malcolm Turvey, Dirk Eitzen, and Dan Shaw was devoted to Noël Carroll’s The Philosophy of Motion Pictures. Although the meeting had no central thematic focus, narrative in various media was a recurring topic among the sessions.
Jenefer Robinson (University of Cincinnati) delivered a rich and lively plenary lecture replete with sound clips on “Emotional Responses to Music: What Are They? How Do They Work? And Are They Relevant to Aesthetic Appreciation?” on Saturday night. The plenary lecture was followed by a well-attended reception. Unfortunately Aesthetic Attitude was unable to reprise their performance at Patou this year. However, many of the conference attendees migrated to a nearby restaurant for a lively dinner afterwards. The previous evening Anthony Appiah (Princeton University) gave the annual Beardsley lecture at Temple University entitled, “What Shall We Do with Museums?” His cosmopolitan approach to the topic wove together questions about art, architecture, nationality, culture, and ownership around the world.
We have agreed to follow the example of our immediate predecessors, Saam Trivedi (Brooklyn College) and Robert Fudge (Weber State University) and organize the conference for a second time next year as well. We are indebted to both of them for their advice and assistance in organizing this meeting.