Aesthetic, ethical, and cognitive value

South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):216-227 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper addresses two recent debates in aesthetics: the ‘moralist debate’, concerning the relationship between the ethical and aesthetic evaluations of artworks, and the ‘cognitivist debate’, concerning the relationship between the cognitive and aesthetic evaluations of artworks. Although the two debates appear to concern quite different issues, I argue that the various positions in each are marked by the same types of confusions and ambiguities. In particular, they demonstrate a persistent and unjustified conflation of aesthetic and artistic value, which in turn is based on a more general failure to explicitly tackle the demarcation of aesthetic value. As such, the claims of each side are rendered ambiguous in respect of the relation that is supposed to hold between all these types of value and artistic value. These issues are discussed in light of a recent argument proposed by Matthew Kieran, to undermine, to some extent, the conceptual distinction between aesthetic, cognitive-ethical, and artistic values in our appraisal of art works. In rejecting his argument, I defend the conceptual distinction and a pluralistic conception of artistic value that allows for cognitive and ethical values to count as artistic, but not aesthetic, values



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,069

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Moral and Cognitive Value of Art.Elvio Baccarini & Milica Urban - 2013 - Etica E Politica 15 (1):474-505.
The Myth of (Non-aesthetic) Artistic Value.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):518-536.
Entangled Values: A Reply to Dodd.Robert Stecker - 2015 - British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (3):393-398.
Big Tent Aesthetics.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):87-88.
The Relationship Between Aesthetic Value and Cognitive Value.Antony Aumann - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (2):117-127.
Appreciating Bad Art.John Dyck & Matt Johnson - 2017 - Journal of Value Inquiry 51 (2):279-292.


Added to PP

194 (#106,280)

6 months
14 (#200,577)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Cain Todd
Lancaster University

Citations of this work

An Aesthetics of Insight.John Gibson - 2019 - In Wolfgang Huemer & Íngrid Vendrell Ferran (eds.), Beauty: New Essays in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. München, Deutschland: Philosophia. pp. 277-306.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Moderate autonomism.James C. Anderson & Jeffrey T. Dean - 1998 - British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (2):150-166.
Moderate moralism versus moderate autonomism.Noel Carroll - 1998 - British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (4):419-424.
In defence of the ethical evaluation of narrative art.M. Kieran - 2001 - British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (1):26-38.
Lamarque and Olsen on literature and truth.M. W. Rowe - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (188):322-341.

View all 6 references / Add more references