FIL4720 – Philosophical Aesthetics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Problems in philosophical aesthetics, both historical and contemporary,
are treated in this course. They may be approached as purely philosophical
questions or as questions that arise in the meeting of philosophy with the
arts. For example: What is beauty and what is its place among other things
in the world? What is art and what is its place among other things and other
activities? How is aethetic quality judged? Texts and focus will vary.

Learning outcome

After having completed this unit you will be expected to:

  • have a good understanding of the most important concepts and questions within central aesthetical theories
  • to be able to account for selected views within aesthetics in a way that clearly brings out connections with other philosophical disciplines (such as epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics)
  • to be able to understand and assess central aesthetical theories in their historical context and development, as well as be familiar with contemporary debates about these theories
  • to be able to give an independent presentation of a selected aesthetical theory and critically to discuss this in light of other views on aesthetics



Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Only master degree students in Philosophy (master's two years) can formally enroll, and take the course for credits. The 30-credits version of the course is available only for students who choose to write a MA-essay, FIL4091 – Master's essay in philosophy, instead of a Master's Thesis, FIL4090 – Master's thesis in philosophy, and therefore need further 30 credits.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FIL4700 – Philosophical Aesthetics


Teaching takes place throughout the semester with four hours per week. An active student participation is expected from all students. As the course exists also as a bachelor course, teaching takes place together with bachelor students.

Compulsory tuition activities:


  • An oral presentation in class The presentation must be accepted as satisfactory in order for you to qualify for the final examination.
  • Attendance at minimum 9 out of 14 seminar Meetings.


A Master's essay of 25-50 pages à 2300 characters, literature list not included.  The essay is to be submitted in Fronter. The topic must be approved by the teacher.

When you write an essay you are entitled to receive individual tutoring. However, this requires that you submit a draft to your teacher. An exact deadline for handing in the draft will be given by the teacher during the seminar.

In order for you to qualify for the final examination, all compulsory tuition activities must be approved by the teacher.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language