On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, living joyfully, defending abortion rights, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 20 April 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Aesthetics

  • Q&A: The Value of Horror Movies: 6 Feb 2014, Question 2
  • Question: Do horror movies or books have any redeeming value? In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand argued that horror was the worst genre of art, "belonging more to psychopathology than to esthetics." Is that right? Might a rational person find some value in a horror film or book? Don't some horror movies have heroic characters – such as Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Emotions, Ethics, Film, Psychology, Psychology, Values

  • Q&A: Photography as Art: 15 Dec 2013, Question 3
  • Question: Does photography qualify as art? I've always viewed photography as a legitimate form of art. However, many people I disagree: Ayn Rand argued that it's a technical rather than a creative skill. However, I regard photography as a technical and creative skill, just like painting. So does photography qualify as art? If not, does that mean that photography doesn't have value – or has less value than proper art forms like painting? If photography has value nonetheless, what is the source of that value?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Painting, Photography, Spiritual Values, Value

  • Q&A: The Boundaries of Art: 24 Mar 2013, Question 3
  • Question: What counts as art? Ayn Rand defined art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgments." What does that mean? If art is a selective re-creation of reality, does that mean that anything can be art – such as a shoe or my kitchen trash? If art involves metaphysical value-judgments, does that mean that all art is implicitly a kind of philosophy?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Personal Values, Spiritual Values

  • Q&A: Concern for Attractiveness to Others: 17 Feb 2013, Question 3
  • Question: Should you care whether other people find you attractive? I’ve heard some people say they don't care what other people think of their physical appearance: they only care about their own judgment. To care, they say, is second-handed. Is that right? It is wrong to be pleased when someone compliments you on your clothes or hair?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Beauty, Communication, Fashion, Friendship, Independence, Relationships, Respect, Romance, Style, Work

  • Q&A: Rooting for Antiheroes: 25 Nov 2012, Question 2
  • Question: Is it wrong to root for antiheroes in movies? I often root for characters like Daniel Ocean (of Ocean's 11, 12, etc.), Erik Draven (of The Crow), Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Dirty Harry), and "Mad" Max. Should I instead seek out movies with more consistently good heroes?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Character, Culture, Ethics, Film, Judgment, Justice, Literature, Personality, Progress, Psychology, Respect

  • Interview: Miranda Barzey on Why Style Matters: 20 Jun 2012
  • Summary: Many people dismiss personal style of dress as unimportant. Yet in fact, a person's style communicates far more to others than most people imagine. So what can a person do to cultivate his or her own personal style? How can a person implement that in his or her wardrobe?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Beauty, Fashion, Style

  • Q&A: The Depth of Ayn Rand's Fictional Characters: 4 Mar 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Are the characters in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged flat due to philosophic consistency? I'm reading the novel currently, and rather enjoying it. However, I've heard many people claim her characters are flat, one-dimensional, etc. I usually respond to this by saying that Ayn Rand's characters are the incarnation of her ideas, the physical embodiment of her ideas: an individual is consumed with this philosophy, so much so that they are entirely logically consistent (or at least as much as humanly possible, they are human, and do make mistakes, e.g. Rearden's marriage), thus, because of their abnormally extensive logical consistency within their philosophy, these characters merely appear to be 'one-dimensional'. Is this an accurate understanding of Rand's characters?

    Tags: Aesthetics, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand, Literature, The Fountainhead

  • Podcast: Preview of Luc Travers Webcast on Appreciating Art: 9 Feb 2011
  • Summary: This podcast is the teaser for Luc Travers' webcast on the art. (That webcast is no longer available for sale.)

    Tags: Aesthetics, Art, Painting, Values


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