Department of Philosophy

Auburn Aesthetics Forum


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Current Schedule of Speakers and Papers

Fall 2018

November 2: Nick Wiltsher (Antwerp) in Ross 136 at 3:00 pm.

"Aesthetic Norms and the Construction of Gender Kinds" - It's generally agreed that genders are social kinds: existent, persistent categories constituted by culture and practice. An ontology of genders picks out social practices that are criterial of kind membership. Some such ontologies are explanatory or epistemic: they say how "common knowledge'' of entrenched social roles creates gender categories with causal substance (e.g. Mallon 2016). Some are practical or instrumental: they say how practices of discrimination create gender hierarchies (e.g. Haslanger 2012). The aim of this paper is to articulate and explicate an aesthetic ontology of genders. This is intended as neither the mild claim that genders have aesthetic aspects, nor the wild claim that genders are fundamentally and essentially aesthetic kinds. Rather, I argue that aesthetic norms are implicitly in play in both epistemic and instrumental ontologies of gender, and that the practices criterial of kind membership on both accounts are often fundamentally aesthetic. This being so, we can see more clearly how different ontologies of genders can be complementary: epistemic and instrumental ontologies are united by consideration of aesthetic ontology. I conclude with some thoughts about the ramifications of aesthetic social ontology for "ameliorative projects'' directed at the eradication of gender discrimination.

Conference 2019

Southern Aesthetics Workshop

Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill
Auburn, Alabama
August 30-31, 2019

Southern Aesthetics Conference poster - Keynote Speaker Paul C. Taylor from Vanderbilt University

August 30, 2019

  • 11:00-12:00     Registration
  • 12:00-12:25     Welcome and Introduction
  • 12:30-1:25       Lunch
  • 1:30-2:25         Paper by Kristin Boyce, Mississippi State University
  • 2:30-3:25         Paper by Julianne Chung, University of Louisville
  • 3:30-3:55         Break—light snack available
  • 4:00-5:55         Keynote Address: Paul C. Taylor, Vanderbilt University

August 31, 2019

  • 9:00-9:25         Coffee and Pastries
  • 9:30-10:25       Paper by Anthony Cross, Texas State University
  • 10:30-11:25     Southern Society Planning Meeting I
  • 11:30-12:25     Paper by James Dow, Hendrix College
  • 12:30-1:25       Lunch
  • 1:30-2:25         Paper by Jay Miller, Warren Wilson College
  • 2:30-3:25         Paper by Elizabeth Scarbrough, Florida International University 
  • 3:30-3:55         Break—light snack available
  • 4:00-4:55         Southern Society Planning Meeting II

This is a two day event. August 30-31, 2019.


Aaron Meskin and James Shelley

AU Department of Philosophy

Conference Registration: Registration this year is complimentary. You only have to sign in, but not to pay anything. You can sign in by sending an e-mail to James Shelley.

Conference Location: Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill

Accommodations: Speakers and guests will be staying at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center.

Auburn, Alabama: Auburn is located in east central Alabama, on I-85, 100 miles southwest of Hartsfield Jackson Airport, about 110 miles southwest of the center of Atlanta, and 40 miles east of Montgomery. In the area one may find such attractions as the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, the Martin Luther King Jr. historical district, FDR’s Little White House, Callaway Gardens, the first confederate White House, the Montgomery Civil Rights Memorial, the Rosa Parks Museum, the George Washington Carver Museum at the Tuskegee Institute, and the Blount Shakespeare Theatre.

Last Updated: August 08, 2019