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Workshops and Classes

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Wed, June 28, 2023 6:00 pm via Zoom
Instructor: John Marmysz

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that investigates the nature of beauty and sublimity, creativity and genius, taste and other issues related to the appreciation of art, artistry and natural wonders. The word “aesthetics” is derived from Greek words meaning “to perceive,” “to feel,” and “sensitive, or perceptive.” It was first used in the early 18th Century, but writings dealing with aesthetic issues date back to ancient times and the beginnings of western philosophy.

Those who study aesthetics are called "aestheticians." They ask questions such as: What is art? What is beauty? Is beauty a purely subjective phenomenon or are there any sorts of objective criteria by which to judge beautiful objects? What constitutes an artwork? How important are the intentions of artists when interpreting artworks? Are some interpretations of artworks better than others? What is the social function of art? What is the relationship between Truth and art?

In this presentation, I will address these questions and introduce attendees to some of the traditional aesthetic theories of art, beauty, sublimity, horror, comedy, and tragedy. Topics will include the theories of Plato, Aristotle, Tolstoy, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, among others.

Exposure to these philosophical issues and traditions will provide visual artists an opportunity to reflect upon their motivations, intentions, and goals in creating their own art. The presentation will include time for attendees to discuss their artistic processes and to relate them to the philosophical theories discussed.

John Marmysz holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University at Buffalo. His primary research interests include the issue of nihilism and its various cultural and aesthetic manifestations. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Laughing at Nothing: Humor as a Response to Nihilism (SUNY Press, 2003), The Path of Philosophy: Truth, Wonder, and Distress (Cengage, 2011), The Nihilist: A Philosophical Novel (NFB, 2015), and Cinematic Nihilism: Encounters, Confrontations, Overcomings (Edinburgh University Press, 2017). Marmysz is the recipient of a SUNY Chancellor’s Award For Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity and he has served as an NEH fellow. He teaches philosophy at the College of Marin.



Sweet Spirit Ceramics Center
Led by master ceramist Barbara Andino-Stevenson, Sweet Spirit Ceramics Center offers classes, workshops and private instruction for all ages.
Contact Barbara Andino-Stevenson (415) 482-7612, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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