Looking for online learning materials for this unit?
Course materials are available in Blackboard

Advanced Topics in Aesthetics: Emotions, Morality and Political Engagement in Art

Unit code: PHIL30622
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 2
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements

40 PHIL credits at Level 2.


This course unit aims to:

- Enable students to analyse, and develop their own reasoned opinions on, some advanced problems in philosophical aesthetics, particularly in the philosophy of fiction and literature.
- Enhance students' powers of critical analysis, reasoning and independent thought.


This course is focused on the philosophy of fiction and literature. It will explore such issues as the nature of fiction, what is true according to a work of fiction, whether or not there really are such things as fictional characters, the relationship between fiction and literature, and the moral and cognitive value of fiction and literature.

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a weekly 2-hour lecture and a weekly 1 hour tutorial, for which students will read key texts and prepare answers to questions set by the tutor.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

- Knowledge and understanding of a range of important texts in analytic aesthetics.
- Some in-depth critical knowledge of some of the most important theories in the areas covered by the course.
- The ability to critically reflect on those theories, and to articulate and defend their own views.

Assessment Further Information


¿35% - ASSESSED ESSAY       


Recommended reading

The following book contains useful background readings on most of the topics covered, and many of the essential readings are reprinted in it:

Eileen John and Dominic Lopes (eds) The Philosophy of Literature: Contemporary and Classic Readings, Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

In addition, the following book covers many of the issues to be addressed in this course and is written in an accessible style:

David Davies, Aesthetics and Literature, London: Continuum, 2007.

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student’s work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.¿¿We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials¿

Study hours

  • Lectures - 20 hours
  • Tutorials - 10 hours
  • Independent study hours - 170 hours

Teaching staff

Catharine Abell - Unit coordinator

▲ Up to the top