The objectivity of aesthetic judgements

British Journal of Aesthetics 39 (1):40-52 (1999)

Abstract

The first half of this article argues that, like judgments as to whether something smells or tastes good, judgments about works of art ultimately depend on an element of subjective response. However, it shows that, unlike gustatory or olfactory judgments, we can argue meaningfully about our experience of works of art because they have _parts<D>. Because works of art have parts these can be patterned by the imagination, and this patterning can be influenced by what is said to us. The second half considers five conditions that must be met before someone is entitled to assert, 'This is a good poem,' rather than simply, 'I like this poem now.' Finally, the last section considers why a report of an ultimately subjective response is disguised in everyday usage as an objective judgment

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