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Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value

Oxford University Press (2018)

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  1. Toward a Communitarian Theory of Aesthetic Value.Nick Riggle - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):16-30.
    Our paradigms of aesthetic value condition the philosophical questions we pose and hope to answer about it. Theories of aesthetic value are typically individualistic, in the sense that the paradigms they are designed to capture, and the questions to which they are offered as answers, center the individual’s engagement with aesthetic value. Here I offer some considerations that suggest that such individualism is a mistake and sketch a communitarian way of posing and answering questions about the nature of aesthetic value.
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  • Beyond the Pleasure Principle: A Kantian Aesthetics of Autonomy.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2021 - Estetika 58 (1):1-18.
    Aesthetic hedonism is the view that to be aesthetically good is to please. For most aesthetic hedonists, aesthetic normativity is hedonic normativity. This paper argues that Kant's third critique contains resources for a non-hedonic account of aesthetic normativity as sourced in autonomy as self-legislation. A case is made that the account is also Kant's because it ties his aesthetics into a key theme of his larger philosophy.
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  • Modelling Culinary Value.Patrik Engisch - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2):1-12.
    Culinary products have culinary value. That is, they have value qua culinary products. However, what is the nature of culinary value and what elements determine it? In the light of the central and universal role that culinary products play in our lives, offering a philosophical analysis of culinary value is a matter of interest. This paper attempts to do just this. It develops three different possible models of culinary value, two rather restricted ones and a third more encompassing one, rejects (...)
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  • Reasons, Normativity, and Value in Aesthetics.Alex King - 2022 - Philosophy Compass 17 (1):1-17.
    Discussions of aesthetic reasons and normativity are becoming increasingly popular. This piece outlines six basic questions about aesthetic reasons, normativity, and value and discusses the space of possible answers to these questions. I divide the terrain into two groups of three questions each. First are questions about the shape of aesthetic reasons: what they favour, how strong they are, and where they come from. Second are relational questions about how aesthetic reasons fit into the wider normative landscape: whether they are (...)
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  • Perception in Practice.Dominic McIver Lopes & Madeleine Ransom - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-14.
    A study of culturally-embedded perceptual responses to aesthetic value indicates that learned perceptual capacities can secure compliance with social norms. We should therefore resist the temptation to draw a line between cognitive processes, such as perception, that can adapt to differences in physical environments, and cognitive processes, such as economic decision-making, that are shaped by social norms. Compliance with social norms is a result of perceptual learning when that same compliance modifies perceptible features of the physical environment.
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  • There Are No Purely Aesthetic Obligations.John Dyck - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):592-612.
    Do aesthetic reasons have normative authority over us? Could there be anything like an aesthetic ‘ought’ or an aesthetic obligation? I argue that there are no aesthetic obligations. We have reasons to act certain ways regarding various aesthetic objects – most notably, reasons to attend to and appreciate those objects. But, I argue, these reasons never amount to duties. This is because aesthetic reasons are merely evaluative, not deontic. They can only entice us or invite us – they can never (...)
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  • Aesthetic Hedonism and Its Critics.Servaas Van der Berg - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (1):e12645.
    This essay surveys the main objections to aesthetic hedonism, the view that aesthetic value is reducible to the value of aesthetic pleasure or experience. Hedonism is the dominant view of aesthetic value, but a spate of recent criticisms has drawn its accuracy into question. I introduce some distinctions crucial to the criticisms, before using the bulk of the essay to identify and review six major lines of argument that hedonism's critics have employed against it. Whether or not these arguments suffice (...)
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  • Aesthetic Practices and Normativity.Robbie Kubala - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):408-425.
    What should we do, aesthetically speaking, and why? Any adequate theory of aesthetic normativity must distinguish reasons internal and external to aesthetic practices. This structural distinction is necessary in order to reconcile our interest in aesthetic correctness with our interest in aesthetic value. I consider three case studies—score compliance in musical performance, the look of a mowed lawn, and literary interpretation—to show that facts about the correct actions to perform and the correct attitudes to have are explained by norms internal (...)
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  • On Liking Aesthetic Value.Keren Gorodeisky - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):261-280.
    According to tradition, aesthetic value is non-contingently connected to a certain feeling of liking or pleasure. Is that true? Two answers are on offer in the field of aesthetics today: 1. The Hedonist answers: Yes, aesthetic value is non-contingently connected to pleasure insofar as this value is constituted and explained by the power of its possessors to please (under standard conditions). 2. The Non-Affectivist answers: No. At best, pleasure is contingently related to aesthetic value. The aim of this paper is (...)
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  • Aesthetic Obligations.Robbie Kubala - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (12):1-13.
    Are there aesthetic obligations, and what would account for their binding force if so? I first develop a general, domain‐neutral notion of obligation, then critically discuss six arguments offered for and against the existence of aesthetic obligations. The most serious challenge is that all aesthetic obligations are ultimately grounded in moral norms, and I survey the prospects for this challenge alongside three non‐moral views about the source of aesthetic obligations: individual practical identity, social practices, and aesthetic value primitivism. I conclude (...)
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  • A Fitting-Attitude Approach to Aesthetic Value?Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics.
    It is a noteworthy disanalogy between contemporary ethics and aesthetics that the fitting-attitude account of value, so prominent in contemporary ethics, sees comparatively little play in aesthetics. The aim of this paper is to articulate what a systematic fitting-attitude-style framework for understanding aesthetic value might look like. In the bulk of the paper, I sketch possible fitting-attitude-style accounts of three central aesthetic values – the beautiful, the sublime, and the powerful – so that the general form of the framework come (...)
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  • The Competition Account of Achievement‐Value.Ian D. Dunkle - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):1018-1046.
    A great achievement makes one’s life go better independently of its results, but what makes an achievement great? A simple answer is—its difficulty. I defend this view against recent, pressing objections by interpreting difficulty in terms of competitiveness. Difficulty is determined not by how hard the agent worked for the end but by how hard others would need to do in order to compete. Successfully reaching a goal is a valuable achievement because it is difficult, and it is difficult because (...)
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  • Cavendish's Aesthetic Realism.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Margaret Cavendish’s remarks on beauty. According to it, Cavendish takes beauty to be a real, response-independent quality of objects. In this sense, Cavendish is an aesthetic realist. This position, which remains constant throughout her philosophical writings, contrasts with the non-realist views that were soon after to dominate philosophical reflections on matters of taste in the early modern period. It also, I argue, contrasts with the realism of Cavendish’s contemporary, Henry More. While (...)
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  • What is Wrong with Failed Art?Adam Andrzejewski & Alessandro Bertinetto - 2021 - Studi di Estetica 19.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that proper artistic failure may turn out to be artistically appreciated and even considered as artistically successful. A set of arguments is provided in order to overcome intentionalism, the widely accepted view according to which an artist’s intentions fix the artwork’s meaning. Instead, we propose and elaborate an alternative model: emergentism of artistic meaning and value. Emergentism explains how artistic failure can turn out to be artistically successful. That is, artworks may succeed (...)
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  • Aesthetic Agency.Keren Gorodeisky - forthcoming - In Luca Ferrero (ed.), Routledge Handbook for the Philosophy of Agency. pp. 456-466.
    Until very recently, there has been no discussion of aesthetic agency. This is likely because aesthetics has traditionally focused not on action, but on appreciation, while the standard approach identifies ‘agency’ with the will, and, more specifically, with the capacity for intentional action. In this paper, I argue, first, that this identification is unfortunate since it fails to do justice to the fact that we standardly attribute beliefs, emotions, desires, and other conative and affective attitudes that aren’t formed ‘at will,’ (...)
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  • Admiration, Appreciation, and Aesthetic Worth.Daniel Whiting - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    What is aesthetic appreciation? In this paper, I approach this question in an indirection fashion. First, I introduce the Kantian notion of moral worthy action and an influential analysis of it. Next, I generalize that analysis from the moral to the aesthetic domain, and from actions to affects. Aesthetic appreciation, I suggest, consists in an aesthetically worthy affective response. After unpacking the proposal, I show that it has non-trivial implications while cohering with a number of existing insights concerning the nature (...)
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  • Convergence, Community, and Force in Aesthetic Discourse.Nick Riggle - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Philosophers often characterize discourse in general as aiming at some sort of convergence (in beliefs, plans, dispositions, feelings, etc.), and many views about aesthetic discourse in particular affirm this thought. I argue that a convergence norm does not govern aesthetic discourse. The conversational dynamics of aesthetic discourse suggest that typical aesthetic claims have directive force. I distinguish between dynamic and illocutionary force and develop related theories of each for aesthetic discourse. I argue that the illocutionary force of aesthetic utterances is (...)
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  • Aesthetic Reasons and the Demands They (Do Not) Make.Daniel Whiting - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):407-427.
    What does the aesthetic ask of us? What claims do the aesthetic features of the objects and events in our environment make on us? My answer in this paper is: that depends. Aesthetic reasons can only justify feelings – they cannot demand them. A corollary of this is that there are no aesthetic obligations to feel, only permissions. However, I argue, aesthetic reasons can demand actions – they do not merely justify them. A corollary of this is that there are (...)
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  • Cultural Appropriation and Aesthetic Normativity.Phyllis Pearson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1285-1299.
    Is it ever aesthetically permissible to engage in acts of cultural appropriation? This paper shows how recent work on aesthetic normativity can help answer this question. Drawing on the work of Lopes and McGonigal, I argue that in many cases those who engage in cultural appropriation act against their aesthetic reasons. Lopes and McGonigal advocate for externalist accounts of aesthetic reasons according to which whether or not an agent has an aesthetic reason to act depends on whether or not their (...)
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  • Games and the Art of Agency.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (4):423-462.
    Games may seem like a waste of time, where we struggle under artificial rules for arbitrary goals. The author suggests that the rules and goals of games are not arbitrary at all. They are a way of specifying particular modes of agency. This is what make games a distinctive art form. Game designers designate goals and abilities for the player; they shape the agential skeleton which the player will inhabit during the game. Game designers work in the medium of agency. (...)
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  • Let’s Be Liberal: An Alternative to Aesthetic Hedonism.Antonia Peacocke - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (2):163-183.
    Aesthetic value empiricism claims that the aesthetic value of an object is grounded in the value of a certain kind of experience of it. The most popular version of value empiricism, and a dominant view in contemporary philosophical aesthetics more generally, is aesthetic hedonism. Hedonism restricts the grounds of aesthetic value to the pleasure enjoyed in the right kind of experience. But hedonism does not enjoy any clear advantage over a more permissive alternative version of value empiricism. This alternative is (...)
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  • IX—Equal Opportunity: A Unifying Framework for Moral, Aesthetic, and Epistemic Responsibility.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):203-235.
    On the one hand, there seem to be compelling parallels to moral responsibility, blameworthiness, and praiseworthiness in domains other than the moral. For example, we often praise people for their aesthetic and epistemic achievements and blame them for their failures. On the other hand, it has been argued that there is something special about the moral domain, so that at least one robust kind of responsibility can only be found there. In this paper, I argue that we can adopt a (...)
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  • Sherlock Is Law Abiding.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2020 - Journal of Applied Logics 7 (2):171-176.
    An approach to the semantics of fiction that uses the tools of truth relativism provides an alternative to Meinongian and pretence-based approaches. The approach is consistent with the deep motivations of John Wood's Truth in Fiction.
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  • Really Boring Art.Andreas Elpidorou & John Gibson - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    There is little question as to whether there is good boring art, though its existence raises a number of questions for both the philosophy of art and the philosophy of emotions. How can boredom ever be a desideratum of art? How can our standing commitments concerning the nature of aesthetic experience and artistic value accommodate the existence of boring art? How can being bored constitute an appropriate mode of engagement with a work of art as a work of art? More (...)
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  • Aesthetic Commitments and Aesthetic Obligations.Anthony Cross - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Resolving to finish reading a novel, staying true to your punk style, or dedicating your life to an artistic project: these are examples of aesthetic commitments. I develop an account of the nature of such commitments, and I argue that they are significant insofar as they help us manage the temporally extended nature of our aesthetic agency and our relationships with aesthetic objects. At the same time, focusing on aesthetic commitments can give us a better grasp on the nature of (...)
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  • The Arbitrariness of Aesthetic Judgment.David Sackris - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (4):625-646.
    Realists about aesthetic judgment believe something like the following: for an aesthetic judgment of be correct, it must respond to the intrinsic aesthetic properties possessed by the object in question (e.g., Meskin et al., 2013; Kieran 2010). However, Cutting’s (2003) empirical research on aesthetic judgment puts pressure on that position. His work indicates that unconscious considerations extrinsic to an artwork can underpin said judgements. This paper takes Cutting’s conclusion a step further: If philosophers grant that it’s possible to appreciate artwork (...)
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  • The Aesthetic Self. The Importance of Aesthetic Taste in Music and Art for Our Perceived Identity.Joerg Fingerhut, Javier Gomez-Lavin, Claudia Winklmayr & Jesse J. Prinz - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    To what extent do aesthetic taste and our interest in the arts constitute who we are? In this paper, we present a series of empirical findings that suggest an Aesthetic Self Effect supporting the claim that our aesthetic engagements are a central component of our identity. Counterfactual changes in aesthetic preferences, for example, moving from liking classical music to liking pop, are perceived as altering us as a person. The Aesthetic Self Effect is as strong as the impact of moral (...)
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  • The Motivational Structure of Appreciation.Servaas van der Berg - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):445-466.
    On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticized a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. I revisit his criticisms and extract an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of distinctive motivation: at minimum, the motivational profile such accounts propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. I then develop a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between (...)
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