Steven Haug

Doctoral Candidate in Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz


Art and a People: An Aesthetic Approach to Community

Working Abstract: The relation between art and community is a question among pop-culture groups, organizations such as museums, as well as philosophers throughout history. Plato famously argued that, in order to have a just society, much of what we consider art should not be permitted. With this dissertation, I explore the question of the relation between art and community in four ways: (1) I demonstrate that Martin Heidegger took it to be a condition of great works of art that they disclose and found a community, (2) I discuss contemporary works of art that potentially demonstrate the ability of works of art to found communities, (3) I explain how Heidegger’s work on the relation between art and communities answers some of the questions raised by Immanuel Kant’s discussion of sensus communis, and (4) I argue that the political philosophy Hannah Arendt develops from Kant’s writings on aesthetics is not subject to the feminist critique which has shown Kant’s disinterested approach to aesthetics to be problematic.

Works in progress

“From the Beautiful to the Political: How Arendt’s Kantian Political Philosophy Avoids the Situatedness Critique”

“The Thingness of the Work of Art”

“Arendt’s and Heidegger’s Critique of Modernity”

Awards and Honors


“Center for Philosophical Studies Essay Prize Award,” in association with the Rocky Mountain Division of the American Society for Aesthetics, for "Art as Origin: On Heidegger's Idea that Art Founds Community"

“Summer Research Fellowship,” from The Humanities Institute, UC Santa Cruz

“Graduate Research Assistant Fund (GRAF) Grant,” for research and travel, from the Graduate Student Association (GSA) at UC Santa Cruz



“Manuel Davenport Award,” for contributions made to the Department of Philosophy as a Philosophy major through academic and extracurricular activities, Texas A&M University



“Undergraduate Essay Award,” for the best essay written in an undergraduate Philosophy course by a Philosophy major, “An Examination of the Debate between Clifford and James,” Texas A&M University

 “Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars Fellowship,” from the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, Texas A&M University