Sentences containing predicates of personal taste (for example, ‘tasty’, ‘funny’) and aesthetic predicates (for example, ‘beautiful’) give rise to an acquaintance inference: They convey the information that speakers have first-hand experience with the object of predication and they can only be uttered appropriately if that is the case. This is surprisingly hard to explain. I will concentrate on aesthetic predicates, and firstly criticize previous attempts to explain the acquaintance phenomena. Second, I will suggest an explanation that rests on a speech (...) act theoretical version of hybrid expressivism, according to which, in uttering ‘X is beautiful’ speakers perform two illocutionary acts simultaneously: an expressive and an assertive one. I will spell out this suggestion in detail and defend it against objections. Considering puzzles related to the acquaintance inference will lead to a new argument for a promising version of hybrid expressivism in meta-aesthetics. (shrink)
Aesthetic statements of the form ‘X is beautiful’ are evaluative; they indicate the speaker’s positive affective attitude regarding X. Why is this so? Is the evaluative content part of the truth conditions, or is it a pragmatic phenomenon (i.e. presupposition, implicature)? First, I argue that semantic approaches as well as these pragmatic ones cannot satisfactorily explain the evaluativity of aesthetic statements. Second, I offer a positive proposal based on a speech-act theoretical version of hybrid expressivism, which states that, with the (...) literal utterance of ‘X is beautiful’, we perform two illocutionary acts simultaneously, an assertive and an expressive one. I will specify this theory in detail and argue that it can satisfactorily account for the evaluative content of aesthetic statements. I will also discuss the advantages of the theory over other variants of expressivism in meta-aesthetics. (shrink)
Consequentialist positions in philosophy spell out normative notions by recourse to final aims. Hedonistic versions of ETHICAL consequentialism spell out what is MORALLY right/justified via recourse to the aim of increasing pleasure and decreasing pain. Veritistic versions of EPISTEMIC consequentialism spell out what is EPISTEMICALLY right/justified via recourse to the aim of increasing the number of true beliefs and decreasing the number of false ones. Even though these theories are in many respects structurally analogous, there are also interesting disanalogies. For (...) example, popular versions of epistemic consequentialism implicitly endorse the truth-indication principle (which claims that a belief is epistemically justified only if there are factors indicating that the belief itself is true), whereas popular versions of ethical consequentialism do not subscribe to an analogous pleasure-indicating principle (which claims that an act is morally justified only if there are factors indicating that performing the act itself is pleasurable). In a first step I will argue that this difference rests on the fact that plausible versions of epistemic consequentialism have to meet certain constraints, which versions of ethical consequentialism do not have to satisfy. As these constraints can be easily met by incorporating the truth-indication principle, epistemic consequentialists tend to subscribe to it. In a second step I will investigate whether the identified constraints can also be met independent from the truth-indication principle. Are there plausible versions of veritistic epistemic consequentialism that reject the principle, thereby allowing that some beliefs can be epistemically justified even though no factors speak in favor of their truth? Building on ideas put forward by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Crispin Wright, and others, I will answer this question affirmatively. (shrink)
Statements such as “X is beautiful but I don’t like how it looks” or “I like how X looks but it is not beautiful” sound contradictory. How contradictory they sound might however depend on the object X and on the aesthetic adjective being used (“beautiful”, “elegant”, “dynamic”, etc.). In our study, the first sentence was estimated to be more contradictory than the latter: If we describe something as beautiful, we often intend to evaluate its appearance, whereas it is less counterintuitive (...) to appreciate an appearance without finding it beautiful. Furthermore, statements including “beautiful” appeared more contradictory than those including “elegant” and “dynamic”, pointing to its greater evaluative component. When related to artworks, sentences could appear less contradictory due to readers’ consideration of the divergence between conventional beauty and art-related sensory pleasures that can even include negative valence. Such ambivalence might be more frequent in art-objects than in other artefacts. Indeed, in our study, sentences referring to artworks were estimated to be less contradictory compared to sentences referring to other artefacts. Meanwhile, an additional small group of graphic design students showed a less clear difference between art-related and non-art-related sentences. We discuss the potential influence of art experience and interest as well as theoretical and methodological challenges like the conceptualization of beauty. (shrink)
Anthony Brueckner argues for a strong connection between the closure and the underdetermination argument for scepticism. Moreover, he claims that both arguments rest on infallibilism: In order to motivate the premises of the arguments, the sceptic has to refer to an infallibility principle. If this were true, fallibilists would be right in not taking the problems posed by these sceptical arguments seriously. As many epistemologists are sympathetic to fallibilism, this would be a very interesting result. However, in this paper I (...) will argue that Brueckner’s claims are wrong: The closure and the underdetermination argument are not as closely related as he assumes and neither rests on infallibilism. Thus even a fallibilist should take these arguments to raise serious problems that must be dealt with somehow. (shrink)
This paper aims to delineate the class of aesthetic judgments linguistically. The main idea is that aesthetic judgments can be specified by a certain set of assertibility conditions, i.e., by norms that govern appropriate speech-acts. This idea is spelled out in detail and defended against various objections. The suggestion leads to an interesting account of aesthetic judgments that is theoretically fruitful: It provides the basis for a non-circular and satisfying characterization of the whole domain of aesthetic research and it marks (...) an important linguistic difference between aesthetic judgments and judgments of personal taste. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is a problem for the justificatory significance of perceptions that has been overlooked thus far. Assuming that perceptual experiences are propositional attitudes and that only propositional attitudes which assertively represent the world can function as justifiers, the problem consists in specifying what it means for a propositional attitude to assertively represent the world without losing the justificatory significance of perceptions—a challenge that is harder to meet than might first be thought. That there is such a (...) problem can be seen by reconsidering and modifying a well-known argument to the conclusion that beliefs cannot be justified by perceptions but only by other beliefs. Nevertheless, the aim of the paper is not to conclude that perceptions are actually incapable of justifying our beliefs but rather to highlight an overlooked problem that needs to be solved in order to properly understand the justificatory relationship between perceptions and beliefs. (shrink)
Confronted with the problem of induction, Hans Reichenbach accepts that we cannot justify that induction is reliable. He tries to solve the problem by proving a weaker proposition: that induction is an optimal method of prediction, because it is guaranteed not to be worse and may be better than any alternative. Regarding the most serious objection to his approach, Reichenbach himself hints at an answer without spelling it out. In this paper, I will argue that there are two workable strategies (...) to rehabilitate Reichenbach’s account. The first leads to the widely discussed method of meta-induction, as proposed by Gerhard Schurz. The second strategy has not been suggested thus far. I will develop the second strategy and argue for it being, in some respects, superior to the first and closer to Reichenbach’s own position. (shrink)
This paper discusses a structural analogy between Kant’s theory of regulative ideas, as he develops it in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic, and Crispin Wright’s theory of epistemic entitlements. First, I argue that certain exegetical difficulties with respect to the Appendix rest on serious systematic problems, which – given other assumptions of the Critique of Pure Reason – Kant is unable to solve. Second, I argue that because of the identified structural analogy between Kant’s and Wright’s views the project (...) Kant pursues in the Appendix can be rehabilitated by recourse to Wright’s theory. (shrink)
Die These der evidentiellen Einzigkeit besagt, dass es im Lichte von Gesamt-Evidenz E genau eine doxastische Einstellung – Für-Wahr-Halten, Für-Falsch-Halten, Enthaltung – gibt, die von Subjekten in Bezug auf eine beliebige Proposition rationalerweise eingenommen werden kann. Auf den ersten Blick ist diese These sehr plausibel. Der vorliegende Aufsatz diskutiert zunächst die Relevanz des Prin- zips sowohl in klassischen (nicht-formalen) sowie in formalen erkenntnistheoretischen Forschungstraditionen. Anschließend wird untersucht, wie plausibel das Prinzip bei genauerer Betrachtung tatsächlich ist und auf welchen Überlegungen dessen (...) anfängliche Attraktivität eigentlich beruht. Es wird nachgewiesen, dass alle in der Literatur vorgebrachten Argumente für die These nicht überzeugend sind. Allerdings wird eine bisher übersehene Überlegung präsentiert, welche die These zumindest zu einem gewissen Grad motivieren kann. (shrink)
Is art epistemically valuable? Catherine Z. Elgin answers this question in the affirmative. She argues for the epistemic value of art on the basis of her innovative epistemological theory, in which the focus is shifted from knowledge and truth to a non-factive account of understanding. After an exposition and critique of her view, as she develops it in her most recent book “True Enough” (MIT-Press, 2017), I will build on some of her ideas in order to strengthen her account.
In this essay, Heidegger's theses on art, as he develops them in the text "On the Origin of the Work of Art," are reconstructed, interpreted, and critically evalua- ted. In doing so, we pursue a threefold goal. First, his theses on art are put in relation to the main theme of his philosophy: the question of being. Second, the different ways in which Heidegger takes art to be epistemically valuable are dif- ferentiated and reconstructed in detail. Third, Heidegger's theses are (...) related to the contemporary debate on the epistemic value of art and critically discussed. (shrink)
This paper focuses on a combination of the antiskeptical strategies offered by semantic externalism and the inference to the best explanation. I argue that the most difficult problems of the two strategies can be solved, if the strategies are combined: The strategy offered by semantic externalism is successful against standard skeptical brain-in-a-vat arguments. But the strategy is ineffective, if the skeptical argument is referring to the recent-envatment scenario. However, by focusing on the scenario of recent envatment the most difficult problems (...) of the antiskeptical strategy posed by the inference to the best explanation can be solved. The most difficult problems with this strategy are: Why is an explanation of our experience offered by the skeptical hypothesis more complex than our standard explanation? Why is the more complex explanation less likely to be true? By focussing on the recent envatment hypothesis both questions can be answered satisfactorily. Therefore, the combination of semantic externalism and the inference to the best explanation yields a powerful antiskeptical argument. (shrink)
Although the concept of judgment has been replaced by the concept of belief in many philosophical subdisciplines, it has retained its central role in aesthetics. This paper discusses the following explanation for this: In contrast to the concept of belief, the concept of judgment presupposes conscious and first-personal engagement with the object about which the judgment is being made, and this conscious and first-personal engagement with the object in question plays a more important role in aesthetics than in other domains.
This paper argues that within the class of aesthetic judgments, interesting variations occur depending on whether the judgment refers to an artwork or not. Additionally, it is suggested that in order to understand and satisfactorily explain these variations, one needs a convincing specification of the notion of “art”. Thus, the main thesis of this paper is that a general theory of aesthetic judgments needs to be supplemented by a convincing and theoretically fruitful theory of art.
Pretheoretically we hold that we cannot gain justification or knowledge through an epistemically circular reasoning process. Epistemically circular reasoning occurs when a subject forms the belief that p on the basis of an argument A, where at least one of the premises of A already presupposes the truth of p. It has often been argued that process reliabilism does not rule out that this kind of reasoning leads to justification or knowledge. For some philosophers, this is a reason to reject (...) reliabilism. Those who try to defend reliabilism have two basic options: (I) accept that reliabilism does not rule out circular reasoning, but argue that this kind of reasoning is not as epistemically “bad” as it seems, or (II) hold on to the view that circular reasoning is epistemically “bad”, but deny that reliabilism really allows this kind of reasoning. Option (I) has been spelled out in several ways, all of which have found to be problematic. Option (II) has not been discussed very widely. Vogel considers and quickly dismisses it on the basis of three reasons. Weisberg has shown in detail that one of these reasons is unconvincing. In this paper I argue that the other two reasons are unconvincing as well and that therefore option (II) might in fact be a more promising starting point to defend reliabilism than option (I). (shrink)
Die philosophische Skepsis bezweifelt argumentativ, dass Menschen über Wissen verfügen. Eine interessante und viel beachtete Reaktion auf diese Skepsis basiert auf dem semantischen Externalismus. Obwohl die antiskeptische Strategie des Externalismus im Laufe der Jahre entscheident verbessert wurde, krankt sie in den Augen vieler Philosophen immer noch an einer stark beschränkten Reichweite: Sie ist nur hinsichtlich ganz bestimmter Varianten skeptischer Argumentation erfolgreich – durch geschickte Modifikation des skeptischen Arguments ist der Skeptiker in der Lage, sein Argument gegen den externalistischen Angriff zu (...) immunisieren. In diesem Artikel gehe ich der Frage nach, ob die vom Externalismus erzwungene modifizierte Fassung des skeptischen Arguments anfälliger für antiskeptische Angriffe ist als die ursprüngliche Version. Drei Versuche, die vom Externalismus erzwungene Modifikation des skeptischen Arguments in antiskeptischer Hinsicht auszunutzen, werden diskutiert. Einer der Versuche erscheint zunächst viel versprechend, doch letztlich erweisen sich alle drei antiskeptischen Folgestrategien als unbefriedigend. (shrink)
The question whether art is of any epistemic value is an old question in the philosophy of art. Whereas many contemporary artists, art-critics, and art-historians answer this question affirmatively, many contemporary philosophers remain skeptical. If art is of epistemic significance, they maintain, then it has to contribute to our quest of achieving our most basic epistemic aim, namely knowledge.Unfortunately, recent and widely accepted analyses of knowledge make it very hard to see how art might significantly contribute to the quest of (...) achieving this aim. Hence, by the lights of recent epistemology, it is questionable whether art is of any epistemic value. In order to hold on to the epistemic value of art, one has three options: (a) reject the recent analyses of knowledge that make the epistemic value of art questionable, (b) accept the recent analyses of knowledge but argue that they are compatible with the epistemic value of art, or (c) find another epistemic aim (besides knowledge) and show that art is of significant help in achieving this aim. In this paper I will argue that, at least with respect to pictorial art, option (c) seems promising. By reconsidering some basic insights and ideas from Nelson Goodman we can identify (objective) understanding as an epistemic aim to which pictorial art makes a significant contribution. (shrink)
Die These der philosophischen Skepsis besagt, dass Menschen über keinerlei Wissen bzw. Rechtfertigung verfügen. So unplausibel diese These klingen mag, so überraschend ist es, dass sie gleich durch eine Vielzahl an Argumenten verteidigt werden kann. Die besten dieser Argumente lassen sich in gewisser Hinsicht als Paradoxa verstehen: Aus äußerst plausiblen Prämissen werden in logisch einwandfreier Weise Konklusionen abgeleitet, die sehr unplausibel – ja, geradezu absurd sind. Befriedigende Lösungen skeptischer Paradoxa sind daher unerlässlich, um ein kohärentes Verständnis von Wissen und Rechtfertigung (...) zu erarbeiten. In diesem Buch werden zunächst die gesamte Bandbreite skeptischer Argumente sowie wichtige anti-skeptische Lösungsansätze systematisch analysiert. Ausgehend von dieser Analyse wird dann ein bisher übersehener, einheitlicher Lösungsweg hinsichtlich aller skeptischen Paradoxa motiviert und auf seine Tragfähigkeit hin geprüft. Die anvisierte Lösung führt schließlich zur Theorie des „nicht-wahrheitsindikativen Konsequentialismus“. Obwohl diese Theorie bisher kaum Beachtung fand, fällt ihr theoretisches Kosten–Nutzen–Verhältnis insbesondere im Vergleich mit vielbeachteten alternativen Lösungsansätzen überraschend positiv aus. (shrink)
Welchen Zweck verfolgen wir mit ästhetischen Urteilen, wie z.B. „Das ist schön“? Drücken wir damit nur unsere Begeisterung aus oder schreiben wir Gegenständen objektive, von uns unabhängige Eigenschaften zu? Können ästhetische Urteile wahr oder falsch sein, und falls ja, gilt der jeweilige Wahrheitswert dann allgemeingültig oder muss er in gewisser Hinsicht relativiert werden? Das Buch ist der Aufgabe gewidmet, Fragen dieser Art zu beantworten. Sprachphilosophische Fragen in Bezug auf ästhetische Urteile lassen sich allerdings nur dann präzise behandeln, wenn man sie (...) um metaphysische Analysen ästhetischer Eigenschaften ergänzt. Es wird daher eine kombinierte Theorie ästhetischer Urteile und Eigenschaften motiviert, im Detail ausgearbeitet und gegen Angriffe verteidigt. Die Theorie verbindet Elemente einer Doppelsprechakttheorie – nach der wir mit ästhetischen Aussagen simultan beschreibende und expressiv-bewertende Akte ausführen – mit einer reaktions-dispositionalen Charakterisierung ästhetischer Eigenschaften. (shrink)