European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1434-1453 (2017)

Vid Simoniti
University of Liverpool
This paper argues for a realist position in the metaphysics of aesthetic properties. Realist positions about aesthetic properties are few and far between, though sometimes developed by analogy to realism about colours. By contrast, my position is based on a disanalogy between aesthetic properties and colours. Unlike colours, aesthetic properties are perceived as relatively unsteady properties: as powers that objects have to cause a certain experience in the observer. Following on from this observation, I develop a realist account of aesthetic properties as causally efficient powers, analogous to properties like fragility or poisonousness. To show how such a view can be made ontologically respectable, I draw on recent ‘dispositionalist’ accounts of powers in philosophical metaphysics. I then offer two arguments in favour of this view. First, the view matches the phenomenology of aesthetic judgement. Second, the view offers an explanation of how it is that critics can demand agreement with their aesthetic judgements.
Keywords color  aesthetic properties  aesthetic realism  dispositions  powers
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DOI 10.1111/ejop.12224
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References found in this work BETA

How to Speak of the Colors.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (3):221-263.
Finkish Dispositions.David K. Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
The Metaphysics of Beauty.Nick Zangwill - 2018 - Cornell University Press.
Dispositions and Conditionals.C. B. Martin - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 44 (174):1-8.

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