Intentionalism in aesthetics

Abstract

Intentionalism in aesthetics is, quite generally, the thesis that the artist's or artists' intentions have a decisive role in the creation of a work of art, and that knowledge of such intentions is a necessary component of at least some adequate interpretive and evaluative claims. In this paper I develop and defend this thesis. I begin with a discussion of some anti-intentionalist arguments. Surveying a range of intentionalist responses to them, I briefly introduce and criticize a fictionalist version of intentionalism before moving on to an approach I call moderate intentionalism. I consider a salient alternative known as hypothetical intentionalism and try to show why moderate intentionalism should be preferred to it

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Paisley Livingston
Lingnan University

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