Photographs are ubiquitous in our lives. Most of us contribute to making some of the billions of photographs produced each year. A small number of these have qualities that capture and sustain aesthetic interest. What distinguishes such photographic art from all the other kinds of photograph? What constitutes the distinctive value of photographic art?
This article questions whether the study of normative moral theory and its application to particular moral problems has a beneficial effect upon someone seeking to improve the quality of their moral thinking. A broad outline of the conception of moral thinking underlying moral theory and applied ethics is considered, particularly the logical requirements that moral thinking be impersonal and the judgements that issue from it universally valid. The error of both of these requirements is explored through consideration of a detailed (...) example. It is further argued that the procedure by which the theory‐driven applied ethicist arrives at moral conclusions does not involve moral thinking at all. Moreover, it is argued that the failure of moral philosophers to explore the meaning and significance of the full range of concepts constituting our moral vocabulary puts in doubt the efficacy of the study of moral philosophy for the improvement of moral thinking. (shrink)
During the intellectual and cultural flowering of Scotland in the 18th century few subjects attracted as much interest among men of letters as aesthetics - the study of art from the subjective perspective of human experience. All of the great philosophers of the age - Hutcheson, Hume, Smith and Reid - addressed themselves to aesthetic questions. Their inquiries revolved around a cluster of issues - the nature of taste, beauty and the sublime, how qualitative differences operate upon the mind through (...) the faculty of taste, and how aesthetic sensibility can be improved through education. This volume brings together and provides contextual introductions to the most significant 18th century writing on the philosophy of art. From the pioneering study of beauty by Francis Hutcheson, through Hume's seminal essays on the standard of taste and tragedy, to the end of the tradition in Dugald Stewart, we are swept up in the debate about art and its value that fascinated the philosophers of enlightenment Scotland - and continues to do so to this day. Jonathan Friday is Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the University of Kent. He has published on the philosophy of art and aesthetics, the history of philosophy and moral philosophy. (shrink)