“Aptness of Perception and Aesthetic Normativity” in Tallinn

I will presenting my paper titled “Aptness of Perception and Aesthetic Normativity” at the European Society for Aesthetics Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, in June.  Here is the short abstract for the talk:

ABSTRACT: In this paper I apply the account Susanna Siegel develops in The Rationality of Perception to aesthetic cases and explore the implication of such an account for rethinking one of the traditional problems in philosophical aesthetics. I contend that one’s prior outlook – expertise, beliefs, desires, fears, preferences – can have aesthetically good and bad influences on perceptual experiences, just as it can have epistemically good and bad influences. Analyzing these bad influences in cases of “hijacked” aesthetic perception will reveal that, unless we realize that our perception of high-level and low-level aesthetically relevant properties is assessable as apt or inapt, we will be at a loss to explain what goes wrong in these cases. I argue that, just as perception can be rational or irrational (“the rationality of perception thesis”), so too can it be apt or inapt (“the aptness of perception thesis”). I explore the merits of the aptness of perception thesis for reconceptualizing aesthetic normativity.

Two Upcoming Talks on Kant & Imaginative Resistance

DP883945.jpgI will be presenting my paper, “Kant on the Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance,” in April at the American Society for Aesthetics Eastern Division Meeting and later on in June at the North American Kant Society Biennial Meeting. Here is the abstract:

Abstract: The phenomenon of “imaginative resistance” refers to psychological difficulties otherwise competent imaginers experience when engaging in particular imaginative activities prompted by works of fiction. While the topic has attracted considerable philosophical attention since 1994, Hume is often cited as the first philosopher to have diagnosed the phenomenon. Unfortunately, so far no historical investigation of the phenomenon has been carried out and no attempt has been made to examine how imaginative resistance connects up with the writings of any of the major philosophical figures in the history of aesthetics. I want to amend this gap in the literature by constructing a Kantian explanation of the phenomenon. The choice to focus on Kant is not arbitrary since I believe that we can derive important insights from his empirical psychology which allow us articulate certain aspects of the imaginative resistance phenomenon that have been neglected within the existing literature, particularly the role of emotions. The main Kantian contribution to this debate, as I will show, is to upset the polarization between rival explanations of imaginative resistance, by suggesting that our possible responses to morally flawed works can vary. In some cases, we resist imagining counter-evaluative claims due to our unwillingness to do so, and in others, due to an inability.




The workshop will take place at Boğaziçi University, on Friday June 29th from 1pm until 6.30pm in JF507. Everyone is welcome.


1.00 – 2.15:    Martin Sticker (Dublin) “Kant on Beneficence”

2.15 – 3.30     Emine Hande Tuna (Brown) “Objective Purposiveness and Value”

4.00 – 5.15     Taylan Susam (Brown) “Upon this rock: Kant on the Churches Visible and Invisible”

5.15 – 6.30     Saniye Vatansever (Bilkent) “Kant on Miracles”

The conference is organised a part of the joint Boğaziçi -Southampton Newton-Katip Çelebi project “Agency and Autonomy: Kant and the Normative Foundations of Republican Self-Government”, run by Lucas Thorpe (Boğaziçi) and Andrew Stephenson (Southampton).

Talk at Bosphorus

Talk by Hande Tuna at Bosphorus

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Imaginative Resistance and Disgust

Emine Hande TUNA

Friday, 22 June 2018, 15–17:00, JF507

ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of imaginative resistance refers to the psychological difficulties we might have in engaging with the particular imaginative activities prompted by works of fiction. To get a grip on this, suppose that Crime and Punishment were modified so that the narrator told us that Raskolnikov’s crime was the morally right thing to do. Even though we would then have no problem imagining the rest of the story as it is and accepting the narrator’s authority in telling us what is true in the story, we encounter a problem imagining that Raskolnikov is indeed morally justified. A related question immediately arises: Does this problem we experience in trying to imagine the modified parts of Crime and Punishment compromise the work aesthetically? This problem opens up an explanatory lacuna as well as a possibility for understanding the relationship between the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of our engagement with works of art. Unfortunately, although some valuable diagnoses have emerged in recent work on the phenomenon (genre and gender make a difference), on the whole the discussion has been straying away from this original research question. In this talk I will attempt to provide an alternative interpretation of the phenomenon, which not only furnishes a theoretical framework that can accommodate these compelling diagnoses but also helps to highlight a specific instance of imaginative resistance that might give us interesting insights with respect to the causes of aesthetic displeasure. I argue that the reason why we find it almost impossible to engage in the imaginative activity prompted by a fictional work is grounded not only in the moral disapprobation it generates but also in the emotion of disgust that mingles with and amplifies the disapprobation.