January 02, 2005

Goehr, Lydia Silver_nugget
[PHIL G4050] Aesthetics: Historical Survey

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

It was an very good class overall and the readings are excellent. Certainly Prof. Goehr is not God; however, the praise often given to her is, in my opinion, well deserved. Her lectures were, although long, very engaging and very knowledgable. Like other lecture classes, participation by students is very limited (perhaps one or two questions at the end of class), which may disappoint some. Other students may complain that she simply recaps the readings in her lectures, but this criticism seems inappropriate. The readings are very dense and philosophically involved. If you think that you can figure out everything that is going on in the texts on your own, you are either extremely brilliant or extremely stupid. In either case, do not take this class. Her lectures do very well to clarify complex arguments and ideas. It is an excellent introduction to aesthetics in western philosophic tradition. If you are expecting deep discussion and involvement that one would get from a seminar, simply pay more attention to the fact to the course bulletin; its a lecture. I cannot agree with those who criticize Prof. Goehr as particularly arrogant. I did not get the same sense. Although she obviously doesn't want to deal with undergraduates in many respects, there is a reason for it: it is a graduate course. Yes, the TA is not the best, but Columbia is not know for its aesthetics, so you shouldn't expect brilliant graduate students in the subject.

Workload:

Two papers of seven pages. Don't expect an easy A.