How to Be a Pessimist about Aesthetic Testimony

Journal of Philosophy 108 (3):138-157 (2011)
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Abstract

Is testimony a legitimate source of aesthetic belief? Can I, for instance, learn that a film is excellent on your say-so? Optimists say yes, pessimists no. But pessimism comes in two forms. One claims that testimony is not a legitimate source of aesthetic belief because it cannot yield aesthetic knowledge. The other accepts that testimony can be a source of aesthetic knowledge, yet insists that some further norm prohibits us from exploiting that resource. I argue that this second form of pessimism has certain advantages over the first. I offer two candidates for the non-epistemic norm that, on this view, stands in the way of our taking aesthetic testimony. And I argue that this form of pessimism meets a challenge to pessimism in general – that of explaining why, if testimony cannot be a legitimate source of aesthetic belief, we can nonetheless rightly rely on the aesthetic recommendations of others.

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Robert Hopkins
New York University

Citations of this work

Autonomy and Aesthetic Engagement.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Mind 129 (516):1127-1156.
Transparency is Surveillance.C. Thi Nguyen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (2):331-361.
Art as a Shelter from Science.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 97 (1):172-201.
Aesthetic Rationality.Keren Gorodeisky & Eric Marcus - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (3):113-140.

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