by Mathilde Victoria Prietzel Nielsen, 1st year Undergraduate in Philosophy
On March 16th the annual Sainsbury lecture was held as it is tradition to honour Richard Mark Sainsbury’s contributions to King’s Philosophy department. This year’s King’s had the honour of hosting distinguished University Scholar and Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, Dominic Lopes and the topic ‘Aesthetic Injustice’. An overlooked phenomenon in philosophy, that is, before the night’s lecture in which Dominic took the audience through his forthcoming ‘cosmopolitan theory of aesthetic injustice’. The theory aims at tracking down and bringing to light any aesthetic injustice where other theories fail to do so. To test the validity of the theory, Lopes presented and evaluated cases of aesthetic justice and injustice, first single-handed and later in joint research with the audience members, thus subtly but clearly demonstrating one of the theory’s main claims, that the success of an aesthetic culture’s profile – it could be that of philosophy – stands and falls not with the success of the individual philosopher (or dancer, or barista, or mathematician) but with the success of the (philosophical, dancing, coffee-making, calculating) community. Indeed, if the single aesthetic agents (philosophers, dancers, baristas, mathematicians) fail to work together towards the jointly agreed to aesthetic value, the aesthetic culture fails entirely. In each case – from rap to tap dance to computer games – Lopes kept a strict eye on the nuances and intricacies, thus constantly bringing the audience’s attention to another perhaps more general, yet easily neglected point: nuances matter. Concluding that the cosmopolitan theory is indeed successful in bringing to light otherwise sombre aesthetic injustices, questions were attended to, well-considered and answered, and noted down for final editorial remarks.