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The University of Southampton

PHIL3050 Advanced Aesthetics: Aesthetic Creativity

Module Overview

W.B. Yeats writes 'The Second Coming'. Jean Sibelius composes his seventh symphony. Paul Cezanne paints his tenth picture of Mont Sainte-Victoire. All three are clearly acting in artistically creative ways; but how should we understand what they do, what their creativity consists in? Is it a matter of inspiration? Or is it a matter of rationality? Or perhaps of self-expression? Or even of trial-and-error? Indeed, should we regard these suggestions as alternatives to one another, as if at most one of them might be true? These are the issues that this module explores. Drawing on writings from Plato to Kant, from Nietzsche to the present day, the aim is to explain and assess some of the most philosophically significant answers to the question: What is artistic creativity?

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Important philosophical views of aesthetic creativity.
  • The arguments for and against philosophical views of aesthetic creativity.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake independent work, including identifying and using appropriate resources
  • Work effectively to deadlines
  • Take notes from talks and written materials
  • Contribute to discussion in a critical but dispassionate way
  • Express views clearly and concisely
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret, synthesise and criticise complex texts and positions
  • Present ideas, both orally and in writing, clearly and carefully
  • Debate and criticise ideas and arguments in an even-handed fashion
  • Articulate and defend your own views regarding the issues the module concerns


The syllabus may vary from year to year. Topics might include: - Inspiration vs. perspiration - Genius - Creativity and rationality - Aesthetic reasons

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: - Lectures - In-class discussion - One-on-one consultation with module co-ordinator Learning activities include: - Attending classes - Contribution to class discussion - Doing independent research for and writing assessed work

Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Follow-up work24
Wider reading or practice24
Completion of assessment task22
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

A full reading list will be made available once the module is underway. 

Plato. Ion. 

Berys Gaut (2012). Creativity and Rationality. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. ,70 , pp. 259-270.

Immanuel Kant. Critique of Judgement, sections 46-50. 



Business case or Essay plan


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 50%
Timed Assignment  (1500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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