Thanks to an invitation from Peng Feng, Joseph Tanke and I had the opportunity to visit Shenzhen, China to speak at the opening of the Circle Art Center this May — My paper “”Contemporary Art: After Many Ends” was translated into Chinese by Shean Lee; a revised translation by Joyce One is forthcoming in a Chinese art magazine. Joseph and I also went to Beijing to teach a graduate seminar at the Research Center for Aesthetics and Aesthetic Education at Peking University. The theme was “Blandness and Disinterestedness: The History of Aesthetics in Comparative Perspective.” We talked about disinterestedness as an ideal of critical judgment in Western aesthetics and blandness as an aesthetic property in Chinese art. I learned a lot from discussions with Peng Feng, Pan Gongkai, and the students in the seminar, especially Joyce One and Huang Iwen. I’m especially grateful to Peng Feng for the invitation and a grant from the Edward & Linda Speed Endowment for making it all possible.
At the end of May, I went from China to Belgium to attend the first (hopefully annual!) Leuven Kant Conference, organized by Karin de Boer, Arnaud Pelletier, Simon Truwant, and Dennis Vanden Auweele. The conference was exactly what a Kant conference should be. The papers were philosophically rigorous and historically astute, but the atmosphere was informal, conversational. and friendly. I’m looking forward to returning. I’m also happy to report that conferences on Wolff’s logic and Baumgarten’s metaphysics are planned for this year. Rationalism!
Moving into a new apartment and a back injury have slowed me down since I’ve been home, but I’ve kept busy writing abstracts, sending out a few articles, and making still more final revisions to the manuscript of The Very Idea of a Critique of Pure Reason. I’m also teaching a summer ethics course and an experimental version of the capstone seminar I’ll teach in the fall. The courses meet four days a week, which has made them intellectually intense and exciting.