Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: Art and Philosophy
Code PHIL110
Coordinator Dr N Gkogkas
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 4 FHEQ Second Semester 15


To consider philosophically relevant questions and concepts pertaining to the scope of art and the evaluation of artworks.

To enable students to reflect philosophically about their intuitions regarding the arts and about their appreciation of particular artistic media.

To inform students about opportunities for applying their relevant skills in the artworld.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to examine whether the concept of art may apply to objects and activities from different historical periods and cultural contexts.

(LO2) Students will be able to consider critically the impact that cultural institutions and their practices may have on philosophical theorising concerning the arts.

(LO3) Students will be able to assess the view that artistic value is a matter of subjective response to it.

(LO4) Students will be able to analyse the character of self expression through art, and assess its significance in evaluating artworks.

(LO5) Students will be able to evaluate the argument that artistic intentions must inform our appreciation of works of art.

(LO6) Students will be able to define and expound the conception of beauty in a narrow and in a wide sense.

(LO7) Students will be able to outline and discuss the significance of the distinction between artistic and aesthetic properties.

(LO8) Students will be able to argue for or against the view that artworks are unrepeatable.

(LO9) Students will be able to interpret the ways in which content and meaning is attributed to art that does not seem to represent anything.

(LO10) Students will be able to provide a critical account of the possible links between seeking truth and creating good art.

(LO11) Students will be able to discuss whether art can function as a vehicle for demonstrating what is morally good.

(S1) Communication oral, written and visual, presentation skills, oral.

(S2) Communication oral, written and visual, listening skills.

(S3) Communication oral, written and visual, influencing skills, argumentation.

(S4) Communication oral, written and visual, academic writing including referencing skills.

(S5) Critical thinking and problem solving, critical analysis.

(S6) Critical thinking and problem solving, synthesis.

(S7) Research skills, all information skills.

(S8) Global citizenship, cultural awareness.

(S9) Personal attributes and qualities, self-efficacy, self-belief and intrinsic motivation.



This module is designed to address the following general topics in the philosophy of art, delivered by members of staff with appropriate areas of expertise, and focusing on the study of particular works in a variety of artistic genres, from areas such as pictorial art, performing art, literature, and film:

The scope of 'art' and 'philosophy of art' in a contemporary context

The cultural value of art: the role of art institutions

Subjective response as a measure of artistic value

Art as self-expression

The significance of artistic intentions for the appreciation of art

'Beauty' as a property of artworks

Artistic and aesthetic properties

Art and the question regarding authenticity

Form and content in non-representational art

Truth and knowledge through art

Art as an alternative to rational discourse about morality

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Lectures are tutor-led activities, offering a map of the syllabus and a framework for independent enquiry-led research. Students are encouraged to engage actively with lectures through, for example, (i) taking opportunities to ask questions during the session, (ii) producing questions and notes on issues for subsequent group discussion in seminars, (iii) tracking progress through interactive polls during the session, et al.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: 2 hours per teaching week

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar
Description: Seminars are formative spaces of applied and enquiry-led learning facilitated by the tutor. They are based on pre-set readings, study questions, research tasks, and the like. Seminars thus offer opportunities for students to respond to tutor- and peer-set questions, deepen understanding, apply ideas, develop arguments, and build confidence through group discussion. Participating students work normally in small groups towards the completion of short pieces of work, which are modelled on the assessment requirements for the module, and on which they receive formative feedback.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: 1 hour per teaching week

Teaching Method 3 - Film screenings
Description: Screenings of selected films that address some of the themes presented in the lectures, followed by a Q&A session facilitated by the tutor.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: 5 x 2-hour sessions

Teaching Method 4 - Field trips
Description: Guided visits to art galleries, museums, performance spaces, etc.,
Attendance Recorded: No
Notes: 3 x 2-hour sessions

Self-Directed Learning Description: Reading primary and secondary texts and online support materials. Preparing for seminars. Completing draft work in preparation for final assessment.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 22




Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 102


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2 Assessment Description: Reflective Log Penalty for late submission: Standard UoL policy Resit Opportunity: Yes    85       
Assessment 1 Assessment Description: Seminar Discussion Reassessment Opportunity: 750-word report Penalty for late submission: Standard UoL policy Duration/size: 1 hour per teaching week (excludin    15       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.