Aesthetic Animism

Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3365-3400 (2022)
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I argue that the main existing accounts of the relationship between the beauty of environmental entities and their moral standing are mistaken in important ways. Beauty does not, as has been suggested by optimists, confer intrinsic moral standing. Nor is it the case, as has been suggested by pessimists, that beauty at best provides an anthropocentric source of moral standing that is commensurate with other sources of pleasure. I present arguments and evidence that show that the appreciation of beauty tends to cause a transformational state of mind that is more valuable than mere pleasure, but that leads us to falsely represent beautiful entities as being sentient and, in turn, as having intrinsic moral standing. To this extent, beauty is not, then, a source of intrinsic moral standing; it’s a source of a more important anthropocentric value than has hitherto been acknowledged.

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Ryan P. Doran
Universitat de Barcelona

Citations of this work

Ugliness Is in the Gut of the Beholder.Ryan P. Doran - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (5):88-146.
Thick and Perceptual Moral Beauty.Ryan P. Doran - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-18.

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References found in this work

An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.Jeremy Bentham - 1780 - New York: Dover Publications. Edited by J. H. Burns & H. L. A. Hart.
Dialectic of enlightenment: philosophical fragments.Max Horkheimer - 2002 - Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. Edited by Theodor W. Adorno & Gunzelin Schmid Noerr.
.Jonathan Haidt - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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