Philosophy 84

Spring 2014

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
84 Sophomore Seminar: Street Art Yalcin Tu 5-6 203 Wheeler

The idea of this seminar is to broach two questions: (1) What is street art? (2) When, where, and how can it be morally permissible? The first question is broadly speaking metaphysical: it is about the nature of certain sorts of things in our social world. This part of the seminar will to some extent engage the classic, much larger question of what art is, but via the special case of street art. The second question is an ethical question. Street art characteristically appears without permission on private property, or in public spaces that are centrally controlled. It often involves violations of law. When exactly is it wrong? A special case we will discuss is this: some street artists are especially known for removing advertising and replacing it with their artwork. Is this kind of thing wrong, or always wrong? Or can it be a legitimate form of protest? With whom exactly does legitimate control of the public visual space lie?

Students of philosophy, art, art history, urban planning, and areas allied to these would be natural candidates for this course. But I will not be presupposing any specific background knowledge. So the course should make sense for any interested student prepared to think critically about these issues.