Category Archives: Media

100 Philosophers 100 Artworks 100 Words #46

This is my entry for Aesthetics for Birds‘s series.

Philosopher: Shen-yi Liao, University of Puget Sound

Artwork: Tehching Hsieh 1986-1999, Tehching Hsieh, 1986-1999. “Endurance performance art”: life in spacetime.

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Artist’s Statement

100 words: life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is work is life is art is ?

The Last Podcast Episode

Here is the concept for the Project’s podcast. We wanted to know what philosophers and other academics think about the central themes of our project. So, we ask our guests three questions:

  1. What does aesthetics tell us about human nature?
  2. How does empirical research bear on their research projects?
  3. What kind of experiment would you want to run on their research projects?

For various reasons, the plan for the podcast series did not take off. Still, all is not lost. We have now, finally, the last (and first) podcast episode, featuring Jim Hamilton (Kansas State University). Professor Hamilton specializes in aesthetics, especially on theater. In this episode, he tells me–amongst other things–an exciting idea that he has on empirically investigating theater audiences’ experiences.

Check it out!

Coffee & Philosophy Roundup

Aaron Meskin‘s essay “Latte Art as Art” is now available on Food&_.

We just finished two successful events on aesthetic psychology, as applied to coffee. Laynes Espresso provided coffee for both events. We are grateful to Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange at University of Leeds for partial financial support. Special thanks goes out to our research assistants Nosi Ekenimoh and Nick Watts!

Here are some pictures of what you missed, by photographer Justin Slee, if you weren’t there!

Mere Exposure to Bad Art

One of the precursors to our project is the paper “Mere Exposure to Bad Art” by Aaron Meskin, Mark Phelan, Margaret Moore, and Matthew Kieran. Here is a quick synopsis:

In a 2003 study, psychologist James Cutting briefly exposed undergraduate psychology students to canonical and lesser-known Impressionist paintings (the lesser-known works were exposed four times as often), with the result that after exposure, subjects preferred the lesser-known works more often than did a group of students who had not been exposed. Cutting concluded that mere exposure explains a great deal about the formation of artistic canons. If he’s right, then repeated viewing of the ‘bad art’ on Tumblr might make you like it more.

We reported findings suggesting that increased exposure to art works does not necessarily make people like them more. Instead, the quality of an art work remains at the heart of its evaluation.

After its publication, the paper received a good deal of press. Here is a sample:


Related Research Output:

Aaron Meskin, Mark Phelan, Margaret Moore, and Matthew Kieran (2013). Mere Exposure to Bad Art. British Journal of Aesthetics 53(2): 139–164. DOI:10.1093/aesthj/ays060