Interview with Bence Nanay




Bence Nanay talks with Philosophy News about aesthetics, film (and being a film critic) and what it means to be moved aesthetically.
We had the privilege of speaking with Bence Nanay on film, aesthetics and the philosophy of perception (video below). We spent some time on topics covered in his Oxford University Press book Aesthetics: A Very Short Introduction. We also had a fun and engaging conversation about film and the film industry dealing with questions like these:
  1. You used to be a film critic and that you have served on the jury of major film festivals. I assume in these contexts you tend to have to tow the line between having aesthetic experiences and doing aesthetic judgement. While you talk about this a bit in your book, can you describe that process and what your goals are as a film critic?
  2. Have you ever found yourself trying to “force” an aesthetic experience for a film because you’re “supposed to?” 
  3. Which critics writing today on film, in your view, are doing the best job in directing reader’s attention to aspects of the film in the way you describe in chapter 5?
  4. You wrote something in chapter 6 that resonated with me, “a good way of characterizing at least some forms of aesthetic experience is that it feels as if it is the very first time we are having this experience.” There are some films that I have watched probably a couple dozen times and each time I watch them, I have an aesthetic experience. Do you have certain films that you can watch over and over and always have an aesthetic experience? Which films do that for you and why?
Bence is Professor of Philosophy and BOF Research Professor (ZAPBOF), Centre for Philosophical Psychology, University of Antwerp and Senior Research Associate, Peterhouse, University of Cambridge
Bence will be speaking at the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival in June 2022. He will be speaking on the following topics:

What does it mean to experience beauty? Where does our taste for the beautiful come from? We often think some things are inherently beautiful – from a Botticelli to the Niagara Falls. But Philosopher Bence Nanay argues that our perception of beauty is purely a function of our time. Nevertheless, he posits that beauty plays a universally vital role in our lives.

Part 1: The Geographies of TasteDoes objective beauty exist? How do different people in the world understand what is beautiful?

Part 2: An Aesthetic LifeHow do we make sense of our aesthetic experiences and how they shape the way we move through the world? In what ways does an ‘aesthetic life’ enrich our lives?

  • Link to festival homepage
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  • 20% Discount for Philosophy News readers using the discount code PHILNEWS20



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