Dissertation, University College London (2000)

Fabian Dorsch
PhD: University College London; Last affiliation: Université de Fribourg
This dissertation provides a theory of the nature of aesthetic experiences on the basis of a theory of aesthetic values. It results in the formulation of the following necessary conditions for an experience to be aesthetic: it must consist of a representation of an object and an accompanying feeling; the representation must instantiate an intrinsic value; and the feeling must be the recognition of that value and bestow it on the object. Since representations are of intrinsic value for different reasons, there are different kinds of aesthetic experiences . By means of certain conceptual links, it is possible to extend this account to other aesthetic entities thus enabling the formulation of a general theory of the aesthetic in non-aesthetic terms. In particular, aesthetic values are identical with subjective dispositions to elicit aesthetic experiences under normal conditions. Accordingly, I endorse anti-realism about aesthetic values: their existence, nature and exemplification are mind-dependent, while their ascriptions to objects have genuine truth-values. I back up this account by arguing against the alternative positions that either take aesthetic values to be objective or deny the truth-aptness of their attributions. Furthermore, I put forward a relativist variant of anti-realism according to which ascriptions of different aesthetic values to a particular object are all correct, given that the aesthetic experiences involved are made under normal conditions and concern the same aesthetically nonevaluative features of that object. For there is no specifically aesthetic norm by means of which one of the faultless aesthetic experiences can be picked out as the only appropriate one. That aesthetic values nevertheless show a normative dimension is ensured by their conformity to a general account of values as capacities to satisfy, or dissatisfy, rational desires.
Keywords aesthetic experience  aesthetic judgement  aesthetic properties  aesthetic value  aesthetic evaluation  realism  anti-realism  irrealism
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 115 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Imagination and the Will.Fabian Dorsch - 2005 - Dissertation, University College London

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

C. I. Lewis and the Outlines of Aesthetic Experience.Paisley Nathan Livingston - 2004 - British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (4):378-392.
Aesthetic Testimony: What Can We Learn From Others About Beauty and Art?Aaron Meskin - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1):65–91.
Relativism, Standards and Aesthetic Judgements.James O. Young - 2009 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (2):221 – 231.
On Preserving Nature’s Aesthetic Features.L. Duane Willard - 1980 - Environmental Ethics 2 (4):293-310.
Exploring the Relationship Between Humor and Aesthetic Experience. Gordon - 2012 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 46 (1):111-121.
The Riddle of Aesthetic Principles.Vojko Strahovnik - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (33):189-208.
The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature.Malcolm Budd - 1996 - British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (3):207-222.
Aesthetic Luck.Anna Christina Ribeiro - 2018 - The Monist 101 (1):99-113.
Aesthetics in Practice: Valuing the Natural World.Emily Brady - 2006 - Environmental Values 15 (3):277 - 291.


Added to PP index

Total views
360 ( #27,790 of 2,498,136 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #42,577 of 2,498,136 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes