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Conferenza ART - Andy Hamilton

Pubblicato: Lunedì 8 marzo 2021 da Alessandro Giovanni Bertinetto

ART (Aesthetics Research Torino) Philosophical Seminar 

Prof. Andy Hamilton


(University of Durham)


March, 31th at 4 p.m.




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The Canon and the Test of Time: defending subjective universality in aesthetics



The test of time applies to all areas of human life. In aesthetics, it is more properly called the test of time and place, and it claims that (art)works of quality have appeal across all cultures. It is expressed in the canon – those who believe in the test of time also believe in the canon, and in the value of tradition. Anthony Savile rightly argues that "the function of time is to allow the better view to emerge". Works that pass the test of time, are those that endure in the canon. Passing the test of time is necessary and sufficient for classic status. Canons are multiple and plural. They change, unless they are a closed canon, like Gregorian chant – which is truly "museum art". However, once a work is in the canon, it tends not to leave. The question "Is the Test of Time merely a symptom, or a criterion, of artistic value – or both?",parallels the debate over Hume's account of criticism in "Of the Standard of Taste", with its rival detection and constitution interpretations. I locate the truth in both interpretations, in a no priority account. Finally I defend the canon from postmodern ideological critique, which regards it as elitist, Eurocentric andpatriarchal– attributes also, allegedly, of the "geniuses" that populate it. That ideological critique is confused, I argue. If there are artworks, there is a canon. Criticism involves giving reasons, which have general or universal application, and is not simply the bandying of personal preferences. I advocate a middle way between strong objectivism, and strong relativism or subjectivism – a middle way captured in Kant's notion of subjective universality.  



Andy Hamilton teaches Philosophy, and Aesthetics of Jazz, at Durham University UK. His monographs include Aesthetics and Music (2007), and Lee Konitz: Conversations on the Improviser's Art (2007), and titles on philosophy of mind, and Wittgenstein. His latest book is Pianos, Toys, Music and Noise: Conversations with Steve Beresford (Bloomsbury, 2021) and his monograph Art and Entertainment is forthcoming (Routledge, 2022). He is a long-standing contributor to "The Wire" magazine. 






ART (Aesthetics Research Torino) is a periodic philosophical seminar organized by the Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences of the University of Turin and the the PhD Program FINO.


Prof. Alessandro Bertinetto (University of Turin). 

Prof. Federico Vercellone (University of Turin). 



Dr. Paolo Furia (University of Turin). 

Dr. Lisa Giombini (University Rome 3). 

Dr. Gregorio Tenti (FINO Doctoral School). 

Dr. Alice Iacobone (FINO Doctoral School)


ART addresses different topics of the contemporary debate in Aesthetics: philosophy of beauty, philosophy of the arts, theory of sensory experience, philosophy of image and imagination, and history of aesthetics.

ART is supported by:
Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sulla Morfologia Francesco Moiso (CIM)
Centro di Ricerca Interdipartimentale di Logica, Linguaggio e Cognizione (LLC)
Centro Studi Arti della Modernità

Centro Studi Filosofico-religiosi "Luigi Pareyson"
Laboratorio di Ontologia (Labont)


ART is sponsored by: 
Italian Society for Aesthetics (SIE) 
European Society for Aesthetics (ESA)


Ultimo aggiornamento: 25/03/2021 12:49

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