[SydPhil] SHAPE Seminar: Michalle Gal. 10.30am Fri Aug 16 Phil Common Rm (USYD)

David Macarthur david.macarthur at sydney.edu.au
Wed Aug 7 22:37:11 AEST 2013

In the next SHAPE seminar Michalle Gal (Tel Aviv University) will present a talk titled “Conceptual Mimesis: Pictures and Ideas”.

Michalle Gal is Head of Cultural Studies at Shenkar College of Art, Engineering and Design (Tel Aviv, Israel). She also has an appointment teaching Aesthetics in the Philosophy Department (TAU).

This paper examines what I call the linguistic turn of aesthetics: the shift from the aestheticism-formalist-modernist model of art and aesthetics to a linguistic one in the second half of the 20th century. I show how contemporary aesthetics draws on the terminology of philosophy of language to reinstate mimetic commitments, which prevailed before aesthetic modernism was inaugurated, and to re-define the mimetic model as conceptual rather than visual. This reinstatement, i.e., the support of a conceptual-mimetic theory, was meant to challenge Aestheticist-Formalist modernism that had predominated for so much of the 20th century aesthetics.

The characterization of the artwork as conceptually-mimetic is founded on the inversion of the formalist-modernist distinction between internal and external properties of the artwork. My focus is on Arthur Danto and Nelson Goodman as paradigmatic linguistic aestheticians. Borrowing the philosophy of language’s terminology, linguistic aesthetics defines the ontological structure of the artwork as a conceptual, rather than material, order—which is the counter-notion of the modernist notion of composition. Thus, properties that were considered by Aestheticism and Formalism as external to the work are considered by current linguistic aesthetics as ontologically integrated in the artwork, and the ontological essence of the work as comprising its concept. Since the artwork both contains the concept and refers to it, it is conceptually similar to its referent—i.e., conceptually mimetic.

Time: 10.30am, Fri Aug 16th
Place: Philosophy Common Room, SE corner Main Quad (USYD)

All welcome!


Dr. David Macarthur | Senior Lecturer & UG Coordinator
Philosophy Department | SOPHI
University of Sydney, 2006 | Australia
Ph: +61-2-9351-3193

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