Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe


Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe
  • Tue 09-04-2019 7:30 PM - 2 h
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Topic: "In visual arts, why is it probably wrong to say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder?"*


Introduced by: Joseph Li


Moderated by: Jonathan Johnson


Date: Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Time: 7:30pm to 9:45pm


(Important note: The introduction to the discussion will start as soon as possible after 7:30pm; the Fringe Club now closes its doors at 10pm sharp.)


Location: "Colette's Room B", Fringe Club, 2/F, 2 Lower Albert Road, Central.

The philosophy is free - you pay only for the food and drinks you order. Purchasing food and drinks is optional, but please, do not consume food or drinks purchased elsewhere during the meeting! On this note, the management of the Fringe Club has asked us to remind all who attend of the following: "The Fringe Club is a non-profit organisation and a charity which promotes arts and culture.  Its operation is self supporting through income from F&B, venue hiring, membership, programmes and sponsorship. Philo Cafe is privileged to enjoy the free use of the meeting room. Please return the goodwill and support by buying drinks." In fact, from February 2018 onwards, the Fringe Club management will require us to purchase an average of $600 worth of food and drinks per meeting.




*Joseph writes:


"I shall start arguing that before we say a particular painting is beautiful, there is a logically prior question : are we taking the correct aesthetic attitude toward that painting or not?  Here I like to borrow a technique from Husserl called 'epoche', by means of which he claimed we can go back to the things themselves. To this end we learn how to eliminate irrelevant attitudes and fallacies such as the scientific attitude, the utilitarian attitude, the biographical fallacy and the intentional fallacy. Having done that, we shall manoeuvre precariously between subjectivism (beauty depends upon the constitution of the individual observer such that an object which one calls beautiful may not be so judged by another or by the same person at a different time) and objectivism (when we appreciate the beauty of a painting we are asserting whether there is an aesthetic quality  in the painting itself which imparts pleasure in us). I shall also argue that we individually as the person doing the perceiving are laden with social facts and values of the age which partly determine the way we see things. Our aesthetic taste is never totally inborn but has to be acquired and cultivated.  Through discussion with our peers, our consciousness of what things are beautiful will reach higher heights. If time allows I may say a few words on ugliness."




The Fringe Branch of the Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe was established in October of 2000 with the goal of holding regularly scheduled discussions (in English) on serious, mainstream philosophical topics. Meetings begin with a designated participant introducing a particular approach to dealing with the announced topic. After others have a chance to ask questions and/or give feedback to the introducer, a substantial block of time is devoted to small group discussions, with participants being encouraged to migrate between groups at will. Ideas raised during small group discussions are then shared in a concluding plenary session.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to suggest a topic and/or to introduce a future meeting. For up-to-date information on this and other HKPC branches, or to discuss this meeting's topic online, after it occurs, visit the HKPC's Facebook page at: http://on.fb.me/a2evI9

Organizer: Steve Palmquist (stevepq@hkbu.edu.hk or 34117289)
Adviser: Paul Stables (paulstables@tutorialfield.com.hk)

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