Southwest Philosophy Review 36 (1):169-177 (2020)

Caroline Paddock
Baylor University
In several articles, Peter Goldie argues that artistic production and appreciation should enjoy the status of full-fledged virtues. In this paper, I draw on the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas to provide a more nuanced account of artistic or aesthetic virtue. First, I raise some objections to Goldie’s account. Next, I show that, unlike Goldie, Aquinas distinguishes between virtue “properly so called” and virtue in a more restricted sense, and he calls art a virtue only in the restricted sense. In other words, art is a true human excellence, but is not intimately connected to human flourishing in the way that the moral virtues are. Next, I show that there is room in Aquinas’s account for Goldie’s claims that art is done not as a means to another end but rather “under the guise of the good.” Finally, I consider some other ways to understand Goldie’s intuition and affirm that there might be an intimate connection between artistic practice and some kinds of moral virtue.
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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DOI 10.5840/swphilreview202036119
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