Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join ASA
Virtual Summer Aesthetics Festival
Tell a Friend About This EventTell a Friend

Virtual Summer Aesthetics Festival, May - August 2020

 Export to Your Calendar 5/1/2020 to 8/31/2020
When: May - August 2020
Where: United States
Contact: American Society for Aesthetics

« Go to Upcoming Event List  

The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce the Virtual Summer Aesthetics Festival to enable the sharing of work-in-progress by ASA members with others for the purposes of dialogue and discussion. This service will be offered through August 2020.



Thursday, May 28: 2-4 pm London (BST)/ 9-11 am New York (EDT)
"Savouring the Impossible"
Sponsored by The Aesthetics Research Centre, University of Kent

Presenter: Jason Leddington (Philosophy, Bucknell; Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at The Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp)

Abstract: It is a puzzling feature of human beings that we are attracted to artworks that provoke negative emotional responses. Why are we drawn to what should, intuitively, repulse us? Tragedy and horror are paradigm cases, but similar questions are raised by works that provoke, say, disgust or moral outrage. This talk introduces and explores a new version of this old puzzle. My question is: why are we attracted to magic tricks? Magic is one our most consistently popular forms of mass entertainment. Consider the recent successes of performers such as Derren Brown, Dynamo, and David Blaine, as well as the ubiquity of magicians on talent shows such as America’s Got Talent (thrice won by magicians). But while philosophers speak fondly of the pleasures of knowing, successful magic performances present apparent impossibilities that provoke potent experiences of ignorance. So, why do people seek them out? I argue that recent work in the philosophy and psychology of so-called “knowledge emotions” can help us to resolve this puzzle. At the same time, in a surprising parallel, I show that it can also illuminate the appeal of a distinctive form of puzzlement especially dear to philosophers. Finally, I conclude by proposing an extension of this account to explain our attraction to another “art of the impossible”: the impossible figures created by artists such as Reutersvärd and Escher.

The talk will take place on Zoom. The meeting id and password will be made available to those who register for the talk; please drop a note to Angela Whiffen at to register. Zoom details for the meeting will be sent out on the morning of the talk.


Monday, June 15: 5 pm Italy (CEST)/ 11 am New York (EDT)
"The Aesthetic Values in the Living Experience:  From the House to the City" 
Presenter: Aurosa Alison, Politecnico di Milano, Naples, Italy 

Abstract:  In order to theorize the architectural practice of the project as an aesthetic opening phase, we must allow ourselves a reflection on our way of living space. In this study we would like to illustrate the aesthetic and phenomenological aspects of living, as the cognition of being in a sensitive world. In the western conception of living there is a correspondence between the outside and the inside. Our study wants to highlight the relationships between the intimate inhabited space that corresponds to the image of the house and the exterior space that corresponds to the image of the city. How do you live an intimate space? How we live a collective and shared space?

For the complete paper and to sign up for the Zoom session, contact You will be sent the access information for Zoom the morning of the meeting to ensure security.
Wednesday, June 24: 5 pm London (BST) / 9 am (PDT)
"Aesthetic Life & Why It Matters: Three Views (Panel)"
Originally scheduled for the ASA Pacific program March 20
  • Bence Nanay (Antwerp): "Aesthetic Experience as Achievement"
  • Nick Riggle (U of San Diego): "Aesthetic Lives: Individuality, Freedom, Community"
  • Dominic McIver Lopes (University of British Columbia): "Getting Into It: Ventures in Aesthetic Life"
  • Mary Beth Willard (Weber State): "Response"
Abstract: Aesthetic Life and Why It Matters is a slim book principally intended to fill a need for material in aesthetics suitable for teaching undergraduates in introductory philosophy courses. The book’s premise is that first-year students are especially aware of their own aesthetic interests at a time when they're in rapid, self-directed flux. Nanay emphasizes how aesthetic life enriches our experience. Riggle emphasizes how aesthetic life allows us to cultivate our individuality in ways that form community. Lopes emphasizes how aesthetic life facilitates explorations of benign value diversity.

This is a pre-read conference on a book draft of ~22k words. To sign up, please write to for the zoom link and a PDF.


Thursday, June 25: 12 noon EDT
“Blackening Aesthetic Experience”
Originally scheduled for the ASA Eastern program April 17

Presenter: Nicholas Whittaker, CUNY Graduate Center, New York

Abstract: Analytic philosophy of aesthetics generally assumes that aesthetic experience is (perhaps necessarily) structured by a "subject/object" dichotomy. I argue that there exists a robust racial critique of this model of aesthetic experience, one found in the work of underexamined (within philosophy) writers on art and Blackness such as Adrian Piper, Fred Moten, and Ashon T. Crawley. In this paper, I draw out two specific modes of critique - the objectivizing concern and the subjectivizing concern - that articulate the ways in which the subject/object model is bound up in projects of racialization and antiBlackness. 

To sign up, please email for Zoom link (to be sent out the day before) and PDF. 


Wednesday, July 8: 9 am (PDT)
"Resist. Persist. Simone de Beauvoir’s Aesthetics of Creativity"

Originally scheduled for the ASA Pacific program March 20

Presenter: Peg Brand Weiser (Arizona; Indiana University Purdue University - Indianapolis)

Abstract: How free—in terms of aesthetic, ethical, and political options—is an artist to create? What might cause an artist to self-censor her creativity in light of conflicting notions of freedom? I look to the existentialist writing of twentieth century novelist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir for a model of the role of freedom within the realm of artistic creativity that enables an artist to “face the truth” of injustice and oppression that can be adopted within contemporary “Resistance” movements worldwide. Two examples of controversial artists in the U.S. include Joel Peter-Witkin and Illma Gore.

To sign up, please write to for the zoom link and a PDF.



Jonathan Gingerich: 'The Spontaneity of Genius: Kantian Genius Reconstructed'
22 April 2020, 5:00-7:00 PM London, Zoom (12-2 pm EDT)

Abstract: I develop an interpretation of Kant’s theory of “genius”—a talent that, according to Kant, is required for the production of all beautiful art—that shows how Kantian genius might avoid charges of elitism and individualism that twenty-first century aestheticians have leveled against the notion of genius. I contend that Kantian genius can be fruitfully understood as the power to act in ways that are not planned out in advance, but that arise “spontaneously.” My interpretation counts a much broader range of actives as expressing “genius” than those activities that are traditionally understood as artistic activities. I further contend that my interpretation of Kantian genius illuminates an underappreciated connection between Kant and Nietzsche: Kant’s genius and Nietzsche’s aesthetic experience both console us to existential suffering by providing us with an opportunity to see ourselves not only in our rational, deliberative faculties, but also in our subconscious drives and dispositions.
The first hour of the session will be devoted to the presentation of the paper and the second hour to discussion. Guests who wish to read the paper in advance are welcome to join at 6:00 PM BST for the discussion.
For a link to the Zoom meeting or details on how to connect by phone, please write to:

To access the Zoom session, please register at the RSVP site:


Are you interested in presenting your work?

What ASA members need to provide:

  • A paper or panel presentation arranged by the ASA member to be live-streamed on Facebook-live, Zoom, or a comparable vehicle widely available via Internet at no charge for persons interested in viewing
  • A specific date and time when the live stream will be available
  • Information on how to access the session or sign up for it, depending on the medium used
  • Information on how to obtain a copy of the paper in advance of the session, if the member wishes to make that available

This information should be sent by e-mail to the

What the ASA will do:

  • Provide minimal review to ensure that the presentation is appropriate for distribution by ASA as part of the Virtual Summer Aesthetics Festival

o   Any paper or panel previously scheduled for the cancelled 2020 Pacific or Eastern ASA programs will be automatically considered appropriate for distribution

o   For others, the Secretary-Treasurer will ask one or two officers or trustees for a quick review for appropriateness

o   The goal is to screen out material inappropriate for publicity by ASA, such as scammers, material unrelated to aesthetics, etc.

  • Distribute a list of available presentations with names of presenters, titles of presentations, time and date of presentation, access information

o   The list will be distributed weekly or bi-weekly, depending on interest, to ASA bulk email, web page, ASA-Facebook, Twitter, and Philos-L

Persons with questions about participation in the festival should contact secretary-treasurer@aesthetic-online

Please note: 

  • Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these virtual events will not necessarily reflect those of the American Society for Aesthetics.
  • All presenters will be asked to certify that they are not in violation of intellectual property rights, nor including material which is defamatory or obscene.
  • Persons participating in the virtual events assume responsibility for any security or privacy risks presented by the virtual medium used.


more Meetings

5/1/2020 » 8/31/2020
Virtual Summer Aesthetics Festival

6/5/2020 » 6/8/2020
Virtual Aesthetics Day: North American Kant Society

Featured Members
Brian R. SoucekASA Trustee 2020-2023
GEMMA A. MANRESAASA Facebook Manager & Chair, FCC 2019-20

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal