The Steering Committee will approve courses focusing on the philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings—as well as the major formal, medial, and performative dimensions—of the relevant art form, genre, and medium, and courses that raise the question of the relationship between philosophy and a given genre or art form.

Download an excerpt from the Approved Proposal for the PAL Graduate Certificate or continue reading for more information about the criteria and coherence of approved courses.

Approved courses for the Certificate will satisfy at least one of the following five criteria: (1) the course engages a specific art form or genre in relation to some key philosophical or aesthetic concepts; (2) the course explores the nature of an art form or genre and connects it to key philosophical or aesthetic concepts; (3) the course explores the connection between philosophy and at least one other art form or genre; (4) the course focuses on one or more writers and/or artists, and connects them with philosophically informed reflection on the dynamics of form, meaning, and/or performance; (5) the course focuses on at least one key work or a selected number of works, and connects them with philosophically informed reflections on creativity, the nature of specific genres or art forms, questions of historicity and creativity, ethics and aesthetics, etc.

Courses may satisfy these criteria by focusing on a fundamental art form (literature, music, art, film, theater, etc.) or on a specific genre within an art form (fiction, the novel, lyric poetry, opera, the symphony, painting, sculpture, documentary films, the Hollywood melodrama, etc.), or on a specific work (or specific works) of art or literature.

In general, we imagine courses taking a number of different forms:

- a theme and/or a period (Music in literature and philosophy 1800-1945, for example)

- a period considered as a question for philosophy and an art form: e.g. modernism, symbolism

- an exploration of philosophy and literature (or art, or music) in the work of one or two figures (e. g. Beauvoir and Sartre; Rousseau; Melancholy and Literature)

- an exploration of the question of philosophy and literature (or another art form) etc.) either purely as a theoretical problem, or as an exploration of key figures in the tradition (Montaigne, Rousseau, Kierkegaard, Coleridge, Nietzsche, Sartre, Cavell, etc.), or a mixture of both.

- an overview of key ideas in the history of aesthetics and criticism

- an exploration of the relationship between ethics and aesthetics

- an exploration of notions of art, i.e. what art is, what is considered good, or scandalous, art (music, literature) in a specific period, in one or more national contexts (e.g.: Art and Politics in 19th C. France; Art as Melancholia in European Literature)

- an exploration of key questions in criticism (of one or more art forms) in conjunction with philosophy, or from a philosophical perspective

- an author (painter, composer), or a tradition, read with relevant philosophical questions in mind (Shakespeare; Rousseau)

- a work of major importance (example: Proust, In Search of Lost Time) or a selection of key works studied in the light of the criteria listed above.

See the list of past approved courses

Download the PAL Certificate Brochure to help advertise this program to your students