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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: The Rise of the Aesthetic: Art, Nature and the Ideal (HIAR10130)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the invention of aesthetics in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain and Germany.
Course description The philosophical concept of the aesthetic had its origins in the Enlightenment project of the rigorous study of all aspects of humanity, including the nature of sensuous experience, the relationship between sense and the mind, the difference between nature and art, the relationship between the arts, and the role of art in determining or defining the shape and meaning of human history. Students will engage in the texts via presentations, group work and by bringing to class examples from the history of the arts that amplify or challenge the ideas under discussion. In some years, there may also be a visit to the SNG where students will give group presentations on specific works using theoretical material from the module.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2A Reason, Romance, Revolution: Art from 1700 to 1900 (HIAR08027) AND History of Art 2B From Modernism and the Avant-Gardes to Postmodernism and Globalisation (HIAR08028) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have completed at least 3 History of Art courses at grade B or above, and we will only consider University/College level courses. **Please note that 3rd year History of Art courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge of key texts in aesthetics in the Enlightenment and in German Idealism.
  2. Demonstrate basic knowledge of key texts in aesthetics in the Enlightenment and in German Idealism; Exercise reading and interpretative skills relevant to the study of philosophical aesthetics and art theory.
  3. Present their ideas and arguments in group and individual formats using both theoretical and visual material.
  4. Work effectively in a group context.
Reading List
Primary Texts

David Hume, Of the Standards of Taste, 1757
Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, 1757
Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, 1790
Friedrich Schiller, Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind, 1794
G W F Hegel, Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics, [1820s, first published 1835]

Key resources

Howard Caygill, A Kant Dictionary, Wiley-Blackwell, 1995
Peter De Bolla, The Discourse of The Sublime: Readings in History, Aesthetics and the Subject, Blackwell, 1989
Michael Kelly (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Volume 2: 428;33.
Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy (on-line at

Some Secondary Texts

Paul Crowther, The Kantian Sublime, From Morality to Art, OUP, 1991
Paul Crowther, The Kantian Aesthetic: from Knowledge to the Avant-Garde, OUP, 2010
Peter De Bolla and Andrew Ashfield, Cambridge University Press, 1996
Paul Guyer, 'The Standard of Taste and the 'Most Ardent Desire of Society',' in Paul Guyer, Values of Beauty: Historical Essays in Aesthetics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2005, pp. 37;74.
Fiona Hughes, Kant's 'Critique of Aesthetic Judgement': A Reader's Guide, London: Continuum, 2009
Kivy, Peter (2003). The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson & Eigteenth-Century British Aesthetics, 2nd ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press
The Sublime: A Reader in British Eighteenth-Century Aesthetic Theory, Ed.
Michael Podro, The Manifold in Perception: Theories of Art from Kant to Wildebrand, OUP, 1972
Podro, The Critical Historians of Art, London: Yale UP, 1984
Robert Pippin, 'The Absence of Aesthetics in Hegel's Aesthetics', in The Cambridge Companion to Hegel and Nineteenth Century Philosophy, ed. F. Beiser. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Stephen Houlgate, ed. Hegel and the Arts (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2007)
Robert Williams, Art Theory: An Historical Introduction, London: Wiley Blackwell, 2003
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Iain Campbell
Tel: (0131 6)51 3120
Course secretaryMiss Chloe Hancock
Tel: (0131 6)50 4124
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