On Episode 16, we discussed some work by Arthur Danto and joked that he would certainly never listen to us.
Well, I sent him a link to the episode via Facebook, and he not only listened that day to it, but put the link on his page, complimented us there to his many friends, and said it was OK for us to quote his correspondence. His initial response to us was this (edited down a bit):
I was really thrilled by the podcast you sent. It was a unique experience, seeing philosophy living in our culture. I've never before heard my work discussed like that, and rarely as intelligently. What was wonderful were all the digressions, but then everyone got back to the issues, and usually you came out right -or right enough, given where I was in the path of my thought when I wrote those essays.
...So thanks for the stupendous honor you have done me here. I enjoyed every minute, including the song at the end.
In a follow-up communication, he gave his this quote:
I think the way you address philosophical issues inspiring, including the kind of horseplay that Plato edited out of the dialogues, which had, after all, to be transcribed by hand.
...And on his FB page he said:
I was pleased and surprised by this discussion. Three former philosophy students took on the task of discussing different texts, and though there is a lot of irreverent comments on professional philosophy, it is very high level. I listened to the whole podcast, and felt exalted afterward.
At my request, he sent us some follow-up readings to consider. Some of the issues we discussed in the podcast, he says, were addressed in "The Abuse of Beauty, my Carus lectures, which were delivered not long after 9/11; the insight is directly connected with 9/11 - argues that beauty is indispensible to human life, but not essential to the concept of art" and also that we might enjoy Lydia Goehr's book comparing Danto with Theodor Adorno: "She is in music aesthetics, and a lot more continental and at the same time more academic than I ever was, but she is very smart."
As for future readings that will potentially feed our future episodes, here's his list of suggestions:
Jerry Levinson writes on music in a highly intelligent way. Stanley Cavell is first rate on movies and literature. I love his book on screwball comedies. Noel Carroll's book Mass Art raises a lot of important issues. Nelson Goodman was a towering thinker and also an art dealer, and his work is full of challenging ideas, even if stretches of it are highly technical.
Needless to say, we are thrilled and grateful for all of this and will get to more philosophy of art (which according to Danto, we should stop calling "aesthetics," which has to do specifically and solely with "beauty") as soon as we can fit it in.
Getty Lustila says
Congratulations guys! That is amazing.
Michel-Antoine Xhignesse says
I can’t believe that Danto gave it a go, and even responded! That’s fantastic, and (sad as this may be) it made my day. Keep up the solid work!
I listened to your podcast for the first time yesterday and, as an aspiring philosopher of art, chose to begin with the Danto-cast. You did indeed do very well, although I definitely think that you should give the Transfiguration a go. The “end of art” stuff is pretty controversial, and it’s not clear that it’s right. The service that Danto did to philosophy (of art in particular) with the Transfiguration, however, is phenomenal: right from the outset, he hammers you with the problem of indiscernibles.
Also, irony of ironies, you mentioned David Davies at the very end: I’ll be starting my PhD under his supervision in the fall. The name-drop warmed the cockles of my heart.
Anyway, enough on that. I certainly hope to hear more discussions on art in the future. In the meantime, I’ll catch up on your other podcasts. Take care!
Wes Alwan says
I’m glad you enjoyed it, and that’s very cool about David Davies–good luck with the PhD!
Bruce Scherer says
Only a couple minutes into the new Plato episode, and am knocked out Danto took the time to listen to the podcast and write back in. It was clear you guys were pleased, and deservedly so. Very, very cool.
Wes Alwan says
Thanks Bruce — yes, we were very happy about that!
Hi! I was wondering–I know this was a long time ago, but on this podcast, you all briefly commented on whether music could be representational–and mentioned it as something you would discuss at a later point. Have you? Is there a specific book you can think of that gets into this question?
Wayne Schroeder says
Give a look at:
Varieties of Presence
By Alva Noe; Alva No’e
Ryley Alger-Hempstead says
Pleaseeeeeee read Lydia Goehr’s book, I’m getting my master’s in music theory at BU and would love to hear you guys discuss it!
Caesar Jr Alzate says
Did PEL, creates more podcasts about Author C Danto’s essays, now that PEL has surivied 10yrs of philosophy discussions?
I also bought the Episode 16 on ITunes. Listen to it weekly.