From whichever perspective we approach the realm of the arts, the imagination has long been considered central to our experience and understanding of it. In some contexts, the purposeful exercise of the imagination is held to be intimately bound up with the role of art and thus also with why we value it in the first place. But has this link between the imagination and the arts come to be felt so surely that we have begun to under-theorize it and take it for granted?

There are at least two pressing reasons to re-examine the relation between the imagination and the arts. First, in the last couple of decades, considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the imagination and its applications. Developments in the philosophy of mind, for example, have equipped us not only with a taxonomy of several different kinds of imagination, but also an enhanced grasp of how the imagination feeds into creativity, mental imagery and our general cognitive architecture. But have these advances been sufficiently introduced into the discourse of aesthetics? Do practitioners, theorists and philosophers working in the arts need to look more closely at our concepts of the imagination?

Second, much 21st-century art challenges our imagination in new and often uncharted ways. How should we approach today’s artworks and with what tools do we best appreciate it? Does the imagination play an increased, decreased or simply different role in the art of today, and how might such changes necessitate revisions to the concepts of art with which we operate in practice and theory? Does the imagination play a different kind of role in different kinds of art and, if so, what are the ramifications for theories purporting to unify the arts?

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Downloadable program

Thursday 26 May

10.00-11.00 Registration (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

11.00-12.30 Plenary I (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

Jason Gaiger: "Ampliative Imagining: Lessing’s Laokoon and Recent Sculptural Practice" (Abstract)
Chair: Elisabeth Schellekens

12.30-13.30 Lunch (Matikum)

13.30-15.30 Parallel Session 1

Imagination and Aesthetic Experience
(Geijer Hall 6-1023 – Chair: Hanne Appelqvist)

- Fabian Dorsch: "What do we Imagine When Looking at Pictures?"
- Guy Dammann: "Art and the Curtailment of Imagination"
- Mikael Petterson: "Doing Aesthetics with Eyes Shut: On Thought Experiments in Aesthetics, Acquaintance, and Quasi-observation"

Perception and Imagination in Science
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Jacob Lund)

- Stephen Chadwick: "Imagination in the Stars: The Role of the Imagination in the
Processing of Astronomical Images"
- Eva-Maria Jung: "The Role of Imagination in Aesthetic and Scientific Knowledge"
- Lotte Philipsen: "Imagining the Invisible: Aesthetics and Nano-Art"

Learning from Imagination
(Room 6-0022 – Chair: Nils Franzén)

- Nathan Wildman: "Learning from Interactive Fiction"
- Torsten Petterson: "Imagination in the Service of Truth: The Documentary Ambitions of Norman Mailer’s Extravaganza The Castle in the Forest"
- Carola Barbero: "Learning from Imagination"

15.30-16.00 Break

16.00-17.20 Parallel Session 2

Paradoxes of Fiction
(Geijer Hall 6-1023 – Chair: Daniel Fogal)

- Miguel dos Santos: "Imagination and Emotion in Response to Fiction:
Robinson vs. Walton?"
- Susanne Ylönen: "Mapping the Aesthetics of Horror"

Video Games and Imagination
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Kalle Puolakka)

- Jack Davis: "Imagined Immorality"
- Johan Kalmanlehto: "Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s Philosophy of Art and the Imagined Subjectivity of a Video Game Player"

Mimesis in Aristotle and Plato
(Room 6-0022 – Chair: Barbara Crostini)

- Oiva Kuisma: "Some Remarks on the Role of Imagination in Aristotle’s Poetics"
- Andreas Wikblom: "Making Worlds out of Words"

17.30-18.30 Reception (Department of Philosophy)

18.30-19.15 Guided Tour of Uppsala Castle

Friday 27 May

09.00-10.30 Plenary II (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

Stacie Friend: "Imagination in the Practice of Fiction" (Abstract)
Chair: Morten Kyndrup

10.30-10.45 Break

10.45-12.45 Parallel Session 3

Sensation and Perception
(Geijer Hall 6-1023 – Chair: TBC)

- Iris laner: "Conflicting Images: Perception, Imagination and Critical Practice"
- Rebecca Wallbank: "Auditory Sensory Imagining within Literature and Aesthetic Appreciation"
- Ancuta Mortu: "Sensory Imaginings and the Correspondence of the Arts"

Music and Imagination
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Guy Dammann)

- Ulrik Volgsten: "Music, Imagination, and Affect Attunement: An extended model"
- Laura Abbatino: "From Kant’s 'Aesthetic Idea' to Schumann’s 'Poetic Idea'"
- Kimmo Sarje: "Sibelius and the Modern"

Contemporaneity and Contemporary Art
(Room 6-0031 – Chair: Bente Larsen)

- Francesco Campana: "The Persistence of Imagination in Contemporary Art"
- Jacob Lund: "Imagining Contemporaneity"
- Efi Kyprianidou: "Art, Empathy, Imagination"

12.45-13.45 Lunch (Matikum)

13.45-15.15 Plenary III (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

Noel Carroll: "Art Appreciation" (Abstract)
Chair: Arto Haapala

15.15-15.45 Break

15.45-17.05 Parallel Session 4

Cognitivist Perspectives
(Geijersalen 6-1023 – Chair: Andrew Reisner)

- Victor Dura Vila: "Imagination, Morality and Knowledge"
- Bartosz Stopel: "Imagination, Simulation and Appreciation: A Cognitive Perspective"

Imagining the Other
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Rebecca Wallbank)

- Ferenc Hörcher: "To Imagine the Other with the Help of the Arts: Aristotle, Smith and Nussbaum"
- Tyra Nilsson: "To Touch and To be Touched: The Role of Imagination in the Act of Reading and Discussing Literature"

Wittgensteinian Perspectives
(Room 6-0031 – Chair: Simo Säätelä)

- Antony Fredriksson: "The Documentary as an Art of Attention: On Seeing the Not-Before-Seen"
- Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi: "Telling or Showing? A Compositional Journey into the Writings of Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Adorno"

17.10-18.00 Nordic Society of Aesthetics AGM (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

Chair: Morten Kyndrup

18.30-19.00 Guided Tour of Linnaeus' House

19.00-19.30 Aperitif (Linnaeus Garden)

19.30-22.00 Conference Dinner (First Hotel Linné)

Saturday 28 May

09.00-11.00 Parallel Session 5

Aesthetic Value and Experience
(Geijer Hall 6-1023 – Chair: Jens Johansson)

- Jim Grant: "Creativity as an Artistic Merit"
- Maria Forsberg: "Imagination and the Value of Originals"
- Ole Martin Skilleås: "Aesthetic Testimony: Expertise and Imagination"

Imagination and Make-Believe
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Tzachi Zamir)

- Maria Jose Alcaraz Leon: "Can We Imagine More than We Believe? Imagination as Synthesis, Seeing-as and Make-Believe"
- Jukka Mikkonen: "The Freedom and Limits of Literary Imagination"
- Davide Del Sasso: "Conceptualism, Art and Imagination"

Kantian Perspectives
(Room 6-0022 – Chair: Jessica Pepp)

- Hanne Appelqvist: "The Play of Two Quarreling Friends: Kant on Imagination and Art"
- James Matharu: "False Pleasure (and False Imagining)"
- Joseph Barker: "Imagination and the Expansion of Conceptual Understanding in Kant and Nietzsche"

11.00-11.15 Break

11.15-12.45 Plenary IV (Geijer Hall 6-1023)

Lydia Goehr: "Reading Danto’s Red Squares as a Political Thought Experiment, Or, How to open up the Mind to Art” (Abstract)
Chair: Lars Berglund

12.45-13.45 Lunch (Matikum)

13.45-16.30 Parallel Session 6

Narrative and Metaphor in Film, Dance and Literature
(Geijer Hall 6-1023 – Chair: Elisabeth Schellekens)

- Tzachi Zamir: "Imagination, Knowledge, and Religious Poetry"
- Laszlo Kajtar: "The Role of the Imagination for Narratives in Art"
- Marc Fustenau: "Illusion, Imagination and Special Effects: J.L. Austin and Film Theory"
- Einav Katan:"Dancing Metaphors; Enactive Imaginary Sense Making in Movement"

Heideggerian Perspectives
(Room 6-K1031 – Chair: Paul Maslov Karlsson)

- Frank Darwiche: "A 'je ne sais quoi' of Attuning Imagination: from an Admission of Rationalist Aesthetics to Aristotle’s phantasia"
- Stefan Snaevarr: "Local Disclosure and Art"
- Peter Williams: "The Ends of Imagination"
- Harri Mäcklin: "On the Gravity of Phenomena"

Imagining Imagination
(Room 6-0022 – Chair: Andreas Wikblom)

- Arto Haapala: "Aesthetics, the Aesthetic, and Imagination"
- Andreas Pantazatos: "Old vs. New Ruins: Imagination and A Challenge for Aesthetics"
- Pauline Von Bonsdorff: "Imagining Imagination"
- (Magda Polo Pujadas): "Philosophy, Music and Image"

Plenary Abstracts

  • Noel Carroll: "Art Appreciation" (TBA)

  • Stacie Friend: "Imagination in the Practice of Fiction"
    I have argued elsewhere that we cannot distinguish works of fiction from works of non-fiction in terms of an invited response of imagining. I propose instead that we construe fiction and non-fiction as genres: categories whose membership is determined by a set of non-essential criteria, and which play a role in the appreciation of particular works. However, I do not deny that fictions invite imagining, or that there is a connection between fiction and imagination. I argue instead that this connection plays an important role in understanding the practice of fiction.

  • Jason Gaiger: "Ampliative Imagining: Lessing’s Laokoon and Recent Sculptural Practice"
    One of Lessing’s central concerns in the Laokoon (1766) is to establish a distinction between the materials out of which something is made and the use of those materials as a medium over which the artist exercises control. This has important consequences for the recipient, for it suggests that if our imaginative responses are to be answerable to the work, rather than becoming detached from it, we need to be attentive to the way in which the artist has deployed the materials to sustain recognition. At the time Lessing was writing, he could safely start out from the assumption that both literature and the visual arts ‘represent absent things as being present’. However, the turn away from the direct depiction of the human body in twentieth-century sculptural practice and the emergence of various forms of non-representational object-making raise questions concerning the continued viability of this approach. By drawing on Anthony Savile’s distinction between ‘ampliative’ and ‘projective’ imagining, I argue that Lessing’s account of imaginative engagement is not restricted to representational art forms, but that it can also be used to cast light on some relevant examples of non-figurative or object-based three-dimensional work.

  • Lydia Goehr: "Reading Danto’s Red Squares as a Political Thought Experiment, Or, How to open up the Mind to Art” (TBA)

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Keynote Speakers

Attendance and Practical Details

  • Non-presenting participants are welcome. Please register at www.delegia.com/nsae2016 before May 1, 2016. If you encounter any problem during registration, contact nsae2016@gmail.com.
  • Conference fee: 700 SEK (75€/560DKK/725NOK); PhD Students 350 SEK (37€/270DKK/360NOK). This includes a 1-year membership of The Nordic Society of Aesthetics and 1-year subscription to The Nordic Journal of Aesthetics. Members who have already paid the 2016 fee will have their conference fee reduced.
  • Conference dinner on Friday 27: 500 SEK (55€/400DK/515NOK); PhD Students 400 SEK. (40€/320DKK/410NOK).
  • Hotels

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Call for Papers

Proposals for papers on the questions above and other issues related to the theme of Philosophy, Imagination and the Arts are warmly invited. PhD students are strongly encouraged to submit a proposal.

  • Please send abstracts (approx. 250 words) by March 15, 2016 to nsae2016@gmail.com
  • Notification of acceptance: April 1, 2016

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