Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy
Susanna Siegel is Edgar Pierce Professor of Philosophy and has taught at Harvard since 2000. Her research focuses on the many facets of perception. Her first book, The Contents of Visual Experience, argued that we see complex properties like the causation, kinds, and personal identity - not just simple things like colors, shapes and motion. Her second book, The Rationality of Perception, explores the consequences for the idea that what we see can be influenced by what we know, believes, fear, or suspect. She is currently applying the ideas from the Rationality of Perception to aesthetic perception. She also teaches a General Education course in political philosophy on violence and citizenship. She is fluent in Spanish, thrives on visits to any part of Latin America (especially Mexico and Chile), and is interested in how to translate philosophy between English and Spanish. She is thrilled to be traveling to Cuba for the first time.
On the Cuba program, Professor Siegel will discuss aesthetic value. What makes something a work of art? Is there a difference between fitting responses to artworks, or to beautiful things, and responses that aren’t fitting? Are aesthetic responses are only ever a matter of personal taste, or is there such a thing as a mistaken aesthetic response? These questions have been discussed at least since Aristotle, and difficult to answer. The difficulty is especially stark when it comes to amateur photography and ‘conceptual’ art. We will discuss these questions with examples from a variety of forms art found in Cuba.