Issue 4
Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Charles Darwin University
Professor Brian Mooney will deliver the first Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture for 2016
Professor Brian Mooney will deliver the first Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture for 2016

Philosopher to question beauty at public lecture

By Leanne Miles

Debunking the age-old phrase that “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder” will be at the centre of the first Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture for 2016.

Head of the School of Creative Arts and Humanities and celebrated philosopher Professor Brian Mooney will argue why this widely held subjective view of beauty is false, when he presents his paper “Loving Beauty” on Tuesday, 19 April.

“I will argue that rather than being in the eye of the beholder, beauty is an objective feature of reality and not something that is projected on to an object by the beholder,” Professor Mooney said.

He said that a good example of this was the work of William Shakespeare.

“It is often only after careful study of Shakespeare that a person may come to see the beauty in his prose, but in reality the beauty was actually there all along,” he said. “People just need a good teacher to learn how to recognise it.”

Professor Mooney’s somewhat controversial paper aims to critique the central arguments of proponents of the “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder” thesis.

“I will also argue that contemporary aesthetics (particularly in the visual arts) need to re-evaluate artworks in the context of a broad conception of beauty and I will raise some questions about the roles of pleasure, taste and comparative judgements of beauty in regard to artworks.”

Professor Mooney has an international reputation in moral philosophy, the theory and practice of education, professional and applied ethics, political theory, jurisprudence and social justice, and has a distinguished teaching record in these areas.

He completed his PhD in 1993 on the “Philosophy of Love and Friendship” and since then has taught at a number of institutions including University of Ghana, Melbourne University, Deakin University, Swinburne University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame, Australia.

Professor Mooney is also a talented folk musician. He has toured widely playing concerts in Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

He has published extensively and is author, co-author and editor of nine books and more than 60 articles.

The Professorial Lecture entitled “Loving Beauty” will be held on Tuesday, April 19 from 5:30pm to 7pm in the Charles Darwin Theatre at Casuarina campus. All welcome, but bookings are essential: RSVP to E: or T: 08 8946 6554.