Don't Take my Word for It: On Beliefs, Affects, Reasons, Values, Rationality, and Aesthetic Testimony

In Ema Sullivan-Bissett, Helen Bradley & Paul Noordhof (eds.), Art and Belief. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2017)
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Abstract

Aesthetic testimony is not a source of knowledge; it is not even a source of rational belief. If, for example, Holly tells Harry that Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas is good, Harry cannot come to know or rationally believe that the film is good on the basis of Holly’s testimony alone. This chapter outlines a novel argument for this view, one which serves also to explain it. That argument appeals to four principles connecting rationality and reasons, reasons and values, belief and affects, and beliefs about reasons and beliefs about value. The chapter motivates and defends each principle in turn, though the main aim is to show how together they cast doubt on the possibility of second-hand aesthetic knowledge.

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Daniel Whiting
University of Southampton

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