The Eastern Division meeting took place at the Best Western Independence Park Hotel in Old City, Philadelphia. Attendance held steady this year with seventy-two folks traveling from across the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom for the conference. The range of papers presented represented a wide range of philosophical approaches to a broad range artistic media. There were sessions on the environmental aesthetics, Kantian aesthetics, the relationship between art and ethics, philosophy of film, photography, literature, visual art, theater, music, and comics. Of particular note was a submitted paper in evolutionary aesthetics by Albert Magro (Biology Program, Fairmont State University) reviewing the relationship between human anatomical evolution and our responses to figurative artwork.
Sherri Ross convened a session of the Feminist Caucus of the American Society for Aesthetics with Mary Wiseman and Joanne Waugh Friday afternoon. Saturday morning Henry Pratt, Christy Mag Uidhir, Roy T. Cook, and Marcus Rossberg discussed the relationship between photography and comics in a special panel aptly titled “Photography & Comics.” Saturday afternoon, Princeton Psychologist Uri Hasson and Amy Coplan discussed recent findings in the cognitive neuroscience of art and their relevance to questions in philosophical aesthetics in the second of a series of EASA panels on cognitive science and the arts. Hasson presented a paper on his research on the intersubjective synchronization of cortical activity in communicative contexts and group responses to films. Coplan presented her research on relative roles of empathy and emotional contagion in viewer responses to film.
Friday evening the Philosophy Department at Temple University hosted the annual Monroe Beardsley Lecture at Temple’s Center-City Campus a short walk from the conference hotel. This year’s Beardsley Lecture was presented by Dominic M. Lopes. His topic, “The Myth of Artistic Value,” explored the grounding role of aesthetics in our judgments of artistic value. In a break from tradition, we returned to Old City for the reception following the lecture. It was our great privilege to have Professor Kendall L. Walton of the University of Michigan bring the meeting to a close on Saturday evening with his Plenary Lecture titled, “Poets as Thoughtwriters: Music Without Personae.” Professor Walton’s lecture was followed by a reception at the hotel.
The 2010 program co-chairs would like to express special thanks to the graduate students from the Program in Philosophy at Temple University for their continuing dedicated service of to the Division. Please direct any questions concerning the 2011 Eastern Division Meeting to the conference organizers Chris Bartel (Appalachian State University) and Tiger Roholt.
Tiger C. Roholt