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The University of Southampton
PhilosophyPart of Humanities

Research Group: Analytic Aesthetics and the History of Aesthetics

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With one of the highest concentrations of specialist aestheticians anywhere in the world, Philosophy at Southampton is exceptionally well placed to offer expert research supervision on a variety of topics and thinkers in aesthetics.

We specialise in the philosophy of music, philosophy of film, philosophy of literature, tragedy, ontology of art, definitions of art, fictional characters and their names, pictorial representation, art and morality, and the aesthetics of Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Collingwood and Wittgenstein. This breadth of expertise reflects the wide range of topics on which members of staff have published significant work. Our research has been published in the leading specialist aesthetics journals the British Journal of Aesthetics, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, and Philosophy and Literature, as well as in leading generalist philosophy journals such as American Philosophical Quarterly, European Journal of Philosophy, Journal of Philosophy, Mind, The Monist, and Philosophical Quarterly. For more details see our list of publications.

Topics researched by recent and current Southampton students include: the philosophy of poetry, the philosophy of horror, cinematic formalism, musical expression, Hume's aesthetics of character, Schopenhauer on beauty, Nietzsche and self-creation, Nietzsche and Wagner, Nietzsche's aestheticism, Collingwood's expression theory, and Wittgenstein and the philosophy of music.
Students wishing to conduct research in aesthetics at Southampton may be interested in applying for the British Society of Aesthetics PhD Studentship Award.

Research Student Profile: James McGuiggan

"R. G. Collingwood's account of art is, roughly, that through the creation and apprehension of art we come to understand our emotions better and clarify them. In my PhD, under the supervision of Aaron Ridley, I defend Collingwood's account against the criticisms that 'art' as Collingwood uses it is just stipulated to be what he says it is, and that, as philosophers such as Wollheim and Scruton have argued, Collingwood focuses on one value of art to the exclusion of others. By so doing I introduce Collingwood's account into contemporary debates in aesthetics, particularly to debates on aesthetic and ethical value in art, and truth in art. Outside of aesthetics, I am interested in political philosophy and normative ethics, in particular in how state action can be legitimate, and, separately, in the value of virtues such as emotional honesty, an ethical value particularly important to art."

Postgraduate Researcher
James McGuiggan
Arguing about Art: Contemporary Philosophical Debates. Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley (eds.) (2007)
Contributing to the debate
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