The Eastern Division Meeting was once again held in the Old City District of Philadelphia at the Best Western Independence Park Hotel. “Losing the Body: The Later Art of Jacques-Louis David” was this year’s Monroe Beardsley Lecture and was delivered by Michael Fried of Johns Hopkins University. While focusing quite closely on the paintings of Jacques-Louis David, Fried’s talk gave a concise account of his well-known work on “absorption” and “theatricality.” Susan Feagin’s plenary lecture on the philosophy of theatre fruitfully explored the relationship between scripts, performances, and productions.
Garry Hagberg, Lydia Goehr, and Jerrold Levinson all presented papers on improvisation in a panel organized by Margaret Moore in honor of Philip Alperson’s work. Phil was present and gave gracious commentary on the three quite disparate talks. The conference hosted two other special panels – one on the Institutional Theory and the Aesthetic and the other on metaontology. Gary Iseminger, Brandon Cooke, and Simon Fokt discussed the merits of the institutional theory, while Andrew Kania, James Young, and Julian Dodd had a lively session on the metaontology of music.
Music and performance was the theme of a session that included a talk by Andrea Baldini and one co-delivered, with ample musical examples, by David Clowney and Robert Rawlins. The session was rounded out by the commentaries of Philip Jenkins and William Day. The session on Aesthetics and Ethics saw new work by Christie Mad Uidhir, Aaron Smuts, and Alessandro Giovannelli. Andrew McGonigal commented on Mag Uidhir while Noël Carroll responded to Giovannelli’s engagement with his work on sympathy. Larry Shiner was another commentator responding directly to criticism of his work – in this case Martin Donougho’s talk, “After Kristeller.” Sue Spaid’s talk, “The Role of Exhibitions in Conceptualizing Artworks,” had a response from Ivan Gaskell.
Katherine Tullmann and Jérôme Pelletier gave talks on neuroscience, fiction, and aesthetics with commentary by Mark Rollins and Nada Gatalo. Literature and fiction we treated to disparate philosophical treatments in Iran Newman’s and Bradley Elicker’s talks, with Newman focusing on imagining logical impossibility and Elicker exploring the ontological significance of the visual elements in novels. Cathleen Muller commented on Newman’s paper while John Brown took up Elicker’s argument. Henry Pratt found showed that two prominent theories of film produce the odd result that Monday Night Football counts as a documentary. Anthony Aumann argued that aesthetic and cognitive values are not neatly separable while Denise Vigani explored the role of the artist’s intention in the evaluation of artworks. Darren Hick, Sonia Sedivy, and Anthony Cross were commentators. Finally, Adorno, Dewey, Sartre and Ricoeur were mined for insight by Casey Haskins, Lior Levy, and Serge Grigoriev. Rich commentary was provided by Espen Hammer, Kathleen Higgins, and Beau Shaw.
The geographical scope of universities represented was impressive this year. Along with the usual range of area universities – Princeton, Villanova, Columbia, CUNY, Rutgers, Temple, etc. – people came from far and wide: University of Leeds, Institut Nicod, University of St. Andrews, Manchester University, University of Toronto, Gonzaga University, University of Victoria, University of Houston, Trinity University, University of Texas at Austin, Central Oklahoma State University, College of Charleston, University of South Carolina, Appalachian State University, University of Illinois at Springfield, and more.
The program co-chairs would like to thank everybody who agreed to chair a session and helped keep the schedule running smoothly: Nola Semczyszyn, Tiger Roholt, John Dyck, Garry Hagberg, Oscar Barragan, Margaret Moore, Erum Naqvi, John Carvalho, Brian Soucek, and Kristin Gjesdal. We would like to give special thanks to those who served on this year’s review committee: Philip Alperson, Hanne Appleqvist, Aili Bresnahan, David Carrier, John Carvalho, Brandon Cooke, Alessandro Giovannelli, Espen Hammer, Gregg Horowitz, Michael Kelly, Aaron Meskin, James Shelley, and Scott Walden.
Please direct any questions concerning the 2013 Eastern Division Meeting to the conference organizers Jonathan Neufeld (College of Charleston), Kristin Gjesdal (Temple University), and John Gibson (University of Louisville).
Thanks to everyone for helping to make this a great conference.