Aesthetics and the Ethics of Care: Some Critical Remarks

Espes. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics 12 (2):130-136 (2023)
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This discussion piece raises some worries in the view Yuriko Saito develops in her Aesthetics of Care: Practice in Everyday Life (2022), on the role of aesthetics in fostering a way of life, which is infused by a particular kind of care towards the world. My claim is that Saito’s theory is haunted by problems similar to those Gregory Currie has recently addressed towards philosophical views on the cognitive value of literature. Like such approaches in Currie’s view, Saito’s claim that an appropriate kind of aesthetic appreciation nurtures care ethics, too, would benefit from a more empirically grounded inquiry. Moreover, I believe that Currie’s sceptical points on the idea of literature as a vehicle for expanding our emphatic capacities are also relevant to Saito’s account of the relation between aesthetics and care ethics. I close by sketching a different way of relating aesthetics and ethics from Saito’s in terms of the notion of exemplification.



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Kalle Puolakka
University of Helsinki

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