Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FT0279 (AF:357669 AR:203030)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
6 out of 12 of AESTHETIC
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
4th Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course will help the student developing the ability to deepen the classics of philosophical aesthetics through investigations into secondary literature and the mapping of the philosophical debate, by acquiring an attentive attitude toward different interpretative lines. As a result of the course, the student will approach the authors and the classical aesthetic themes with a critical awareness of the debate they have generated, knowing how to orient within the debate, respecting the plurality of readings, as well as establishing a first critical personal approach to the considered topics and authors.
Knowledge and understanding: As a result of this course, students should acquire the conceptual tools for understanding some crucial aesthetic debates as well as for contextualizing main aesthetic issues and classical authors on their theoretical and historical background.
Applying knowledge and understanding: As a further goal, students should achieve the capacity to explore and delve into secondary literature, as well as reconstructing philosophical debates about a topic or an author.
Making judgments: The course is expected to provide some basic tools for a critical reconstruction of the different positions within aesthetics debates, based on a critical, although not reductive engagement with reference to alternative interpretations.
By the end of the course, students should be able to expose their analysis of the considered literature with clarity and convenient arguments through oral presentations.
In order to take the exam of Aesthetic II students are requested to have passed the written examination in Aesthetics I with Professor Dreon.
The current syllabus is designed as a development of the program worked out in Aesthetics I by Professor Dreon.
Aesthetics II is a course intended as a natural development of the study of authors and topics that have been introduced through the previous course (Aesthetics I).
The central topic of the course will be the concept of "aesthetic disinterest" as it emerged during the eighteenth century where it became one main feature of the process of art autonomization and provided the ground for characterizing a specifically aesthetic form of experience.
This inquiry into aesthetic disinterest will start through a synthetic reconstruction of the historical roots of the concept among English thinkers of the eighteenth century (Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Alison, Addison), according to Jerome Stolnitz’s interpretation.
Particular attention will be devoted to focusing on the different meanings of the term in Kant’s works (both in his "Critique of Judgment" and his "Critique of Practical Reason"), as well as to highlights some problems pointed out by contemporary interpreters (Guyer, Zuckert). A couple of lessons will be devoted to exploring the hypothesis that Kant’s notion of disinterested pleasure can be considered as an answer to some difficulties in Edmund Burke’s physiological aesthetics (Vandenabeele).
Subsequently, the course will focus on the notion of disinterested contemplation developed by Arthur Schopenhauer: aesthetic contemplation will be understood both as a development of Kantian aesthetics and as a key concept in Schopenhauer’s interpretation of art as the true metaphysics (Vandenabeele).
The last part of the course will be devoted to an examination of Nietzsche's critique of aesthetic disinterest in "The Genealogy of Morality" and in "Human Too Human" (Rampley).
List of texts that are requested for the examination (NB: regarding enlisted books, only a selection of sections is requested to prepare the examination):
Burke, E. (1958). A Philosophical Inquiry into the origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, London: Routledge – Introduction. On Taste, Part I, Part, IV.
Kant, I. (2000). Critique of the Power of Judgment – the following sections: §§2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 41 e 42.
Kant, I. Critique of Practical Reason – selected sections: The incentives of pure practical reason, On the primacy of pure practical reason, Methodology of pure practical reason.
Schopenhauer, A. (1966). The World as Will and Representation. New York: Dover Publications – selected sections: Book I: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, Book II: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, Book III: 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 52.
Nietzsche, F. (1984). On the Genealogy of Morality, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, Part 3: What do Aesthetic Ideals Mean?
Nietzsche, F. (1996). Human, All Too Human, Cambridge: Cambridge UP – Concerning the Soul of Artists and Authors.
Stolnitz, J. (1961). On the Origins of "Aesthetic Disinterestedness". The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 20, 2, pp. 131-143.
The exam consists of an oral test (3/4 open questions), concerning concepts, argumentations, and texts that have been read during the lessons and requested for the examination (see the previous section).
Direct reading of the texts and detailed analysis, even considering second literature interpretations.
Students who cannot attend the course are requested to contact the teacher (
Students are requested to subscribe to the Moodle space of the course as well as to regularly check materials and information they can find there.

Ca' Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services:

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Poverty and inequalities" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 15/05/2022