Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):669-682 (2018)

Nils Franzén
Humboldt-University, Berlin
ABSTRACTEvaluative aesthetic discourse communicates that the speaker has had first-hand experience of what is talked about. If you call a book bewitching, it will be assumed that you have read the book. If you say that a building is beautiful, it will be assumed that you have had some visual experience with it. According to an influential view, this is because knowledge is a norm for assertion, and aesthetic knowledge requires first-hand experience. This paper criticizes this view and argues for an alternative view, according to which aesthetic discourse expresses affective states of mind, analogously to how assertions express beliefs. It is because these affective states require first-hand experience that aesthetic discourse communicates that such acquaintance is at hand. The paper furthermore argues that the lack of an experience requirement for aesthetic belief ascriptions constitutes a problem for the kind of expressivist who claims that evaluative belief states are covert non-cognitive states.
Keywords first-hand experience  aesthetic evaluation  evaluative discourse  acquaintance inference  expressivism  aesthetic knowledge  aesthetic testimony  predicates of personal taste
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DOI 10.1080/00048402.2018.1425729
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Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Philosophy 76 (297):460-464.
Thinking How to Live.Allan Gibbard - 2003 - Harvard University Press.
Knowledge and Action.John Hawthorne & Jason Stanley - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):571-590.

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Citations of this work BETA

Taste, traits, and tendencies.Alexander Dinges & Julia Zakkou - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1183-1206.
On Linguistic Evidence for Expressivism.Andrés Soria Ruiz & Isidora Stojanovic - 2019 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 86:155-180.
Convergence, Community, and Force in Aesthetic Discourse.Nick Riggle - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.

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