Being and beauty: the philosophy of Japanese aesthetics

Course Dates: 15/06/23 - 06/07/23
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Keeley Street
Not something apart from everyday life but intrinsic to it, beauty in Japanese thought does not entail perfection but the surprise of imperfect and transient being.
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Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £45.00

Course Code: HP106

Thu, day, 15 Jun - 06 Jul '23

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

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What is the course about?

The Japanese appreciation of beauty differs significantly from that of the West. It has a highly developed series of aesthetic concepts that, combined, express a world view based on the sacred transience of life. These concepts will be explored from a philosophical perspective using illustrations from diverse aspects of Japanese culture.

What will we cover?

The major aesthetic concepts:

• Mono no aware: the Pathos of Things
• Wabi: Subdued, Austere Beauty
• Sabi: Rustic Patina [agedness]
• Yugen: Mysterious Grace
• Iki: Refined Style [chic/elegant]
• Kire: Cutting [break/pause]

A brief comparision between Western and Japanese ‘ideals’ of beauty relative to these concepts and whether the concept of fhe sublime might act as bridge between Western and Japanese aesthetic sensibilities.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Briefly outline a major philosophical aspect of Japanese Aesthetics such as ‘imperfection’.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No prior knowledge is assumed but a willingness to engage in philosophical thinking is most useful. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be in a seminar format with brief slide-based presentations followed by Q&A and discussion.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Only note-taking equipment of your preference if so inclined.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might be interested in HP194 Nietzche and the psyche or HP195 Wittgenstein and the psyche.

John Goff Tutor Website

From reading Philosophy at a young age to the formal study of Cognitive Science, Philosophy & Psychology at the Universities of London and Sussex - after a prior career in video-arts - John Goff has been presenting philosophy courses to adults since the early 2000s. He uses a cross-disciplinary, seminar-based approach in his courses, drawing on Philosophy, Psychology and the wider Humanities & Social Sciences with an emphasis on the intersection of contemporary and classical European and Asian philosophical thought. He is the author of several works of philosophical fiction concerning artificial minds and organisms and alternative-human worlds including the novel 'The Last Days of the Most Hidden Man' and the novellas 'Eidopolis', 'Agents of Erasure', 'Jupiter|Saturn' and 'Sleep|Nothing|Asylum'. His academic writings can be found on his page at ''.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.