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CO118 – Order and Chaos in Art

Since very early in the history of the Western philosophical tradition and up to the present, art has often been debated in terms of order versus chaos, and has been considered a privileged arena on which to probe ethical questions. The border between what is beautiful and what is good is a fertile ground for students beginning a liberal arts education. In addition to sharpening an awareness of the fact that even such intimate feelings as the aesthetic experience are theoretically constructed, students will be encouraged to articulate different approaches to account for the artistic phenomenon. An important connection between things personal and things political will come to the fore. Students will be introduced to the thoughts and works of major Western philosophers and poets, from Plato and Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kant and Schiller, and Baudelaire, Gide, and Thoreau. Students will record their personal reflections on art objects and will be encouraged to present them to a community of peers, both in short papers circulated within the class and in class presentations to which other classes will be invited. (A First Year Experience offering, Blocks 5-6. Enrollment is limited to entering first-year students.) (Not offered 2018-19).

Prerequisite: First years Only.


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