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Summary

Broadly construed, Aesthetics and Ethics concerns the relationship between art and morality. Here we ask: Can artworks provide moral knowledge? Can artworks corrupt and instruct morally?  More narrowly construed, the category concerns the relationship between aesthetic and moral value. The chief question is this: Do moral flaws with works of art constitute aesthetics flaws? In addition, we can ask if aesthetic value is morally significant. This last issue has important implications for environmental ethics.

Key works The most important collection on the topic is Levinson 1998. The majority of the work on the topic is in essay form, but there are a few influential books. Gaut 2007 is an important, recent monograph. 
Introductions Although a bit out of date, Carroll 2000 provides an excellent overview of the area.  Gaut 2001 is also an excellent introduction.
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  1. Sabrina Achilles (2012). Literature, Ethics, and Aesthetics: Applied Deleuze and Guattari. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Introduction: the literary function -- Being constructivist -- Rethinking the performative in pragmatics -- The literary function and the cartographic turn: performative philosophy -- The literary function and society, I: affirmation of immanent aesthetics -- The literary function and society, II: community and subjectification -- The reader and the event of fiction -- Conclusion: degrees of freedom.
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  2. James C. Anderson & Jeffrey T. Dean (1998). Moderate Autonomism. British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (2):150-166.
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  3. John Anderson (1941). Art and Morality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):253 – 266.
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  4. Arnold Berleant (2005). Aesthetics and Environment: Variations on a Theme. Ashgate Pub. Ltd..
    I: Environmental aesthetics -- A phenomenological aesthetics of environment -- Aesthetic dimensions of environmental design -- Down the garden path -- The wilderness city : a study of metaphorical experience -- Aesthetics of the coastal environment -- The world from the water -- Is there life in virtual space? -- Is greasy lake a place? -- Embodied music -- II: Social aesthetics -- The idea of a cultural aesthetic -- The social evaluation of art -- Subsidization of art as social (...)
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  5. José Luis Bermúdez & Sebastian Gardner (eds.) (2003). Art and Morality. Routledge.
    Art and Morality is a collection of groundbreaking new papers on the theme of aesthetics and ethics, and the link between the two subjects. A group of world-class contributors tackle the important question that arise when one thinks about the moral dimensions of art and the aesthetic dimension of moral life. The volume is a significant contribution to the philosophical literature, opening up unexplored questions and shedding new light on more traditional debates in aesthetics. The topics explored include the relation (...)
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  6. Ruben Berrios (2004). José Luis Bermúdez and Sebastian Gardner, Eds., Art and Morality. New York: Routledge, 2003, 303 Pp. (Indexed). ISBN 0-415-19252-8, US$96.95 (Hb). [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):419-423.
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  7. Edmunds Bunkse (2001). The Case of the Missing Sublime in Latvian Landscape Aesthetics and Ethics. Ethics, Place and Environment 4 (3):235 – 246.
    In perceptions of their landscapes the Latvians have denied the existence of the sublime, elevating rural and natural aspects as beautiful and good. While Latvian landscape aesthetics and ethics are based on the profound transformation of nature-landscape attitudes that occurred in Europe during the second half of the 18th century, when ideas of the beautiful, sublime, and the picturesque were debated, the existence of sublime characteristics within the borders of Latvia has not been recognized. In part the attitude derives from (...)
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  8. Edmunds V. Bunkše (2001). The Case of the Missing Sublime in Latvian Landscape Aesthetics and Ethics. Ethics, Place and Environment 4 (3):235 – 246.
    In perceptions of their landscapes the Latvians have denied the existence of the sublime, elevating rural and natural aspects as beautiful and good. While Latvian landscape aesthetics and ethics are based on the profound transformation of nature-landscape attitudes that occurred in Europe during the second half of the 18th century, when ideas of the beautiful, sublime, and the picturesque were debated, the existence of sublime characteristics within the borders of Latvia has not been recognized. In part the attitude derives from (...)
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  9. Noël Carroll (2013). Rough Heroes: A Response to A.W. Eaton. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):371-376.
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  10. Noël Carroll (2010). At the Crossroads of Ethics and Aesthetics. Philosophy and Literature 34 (1):pp. 248-259.
    Art, Emotion, and Ethics is a brilliant book with many important, useful, insightful, and even profound things to say about a range of topics including the relation of the imagination to art, understanding, and ethics, and the paradox of fiction, as well as sensitive and in-depth interpretations of masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt and Nabokov. It is very convincing in its jousts with autonomists for people like me who favor the view that sometimes ethical blemishes are aesthetic blemishes and (...)
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  11. Noël Carroll (2006). Ethics and Aesthetics: Replies to Dickie, Stecker, and Livingston. British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (1):82-95.
    Both my deflationary approach to aesthetic experience and what I call moderate moralism have been challenged recently in the pages of the British Journal of Aesthetics by Paisley Livingston, Robert Stecker, and George Dickie. In this essay, I attempt to deal with their objections while also trying to move the debate to new ground.
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  12. Noël Carroll (2002). The Wheel of Virtue: Art, Literature, and Moral Knowledge. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (1):3–26.
    In this essay, then, I would like to address what I believe are the most compelling epistemic arguments against the notion that literature (and art more broadly) can function as an instrument of education and a source of knowledge.
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  13. Noël Carroll (2000). Art and Ethical Criticism: An Overview of Recent Directions of Research. Ethics 110 (2):350-387.
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  14. Noel Carroll (1998). A Philosophy of Mass Art. Clarendon Press.
    We live in a world dominated by mass art. Movies, TV, pulp literature, comics, rock music -- both broadcast and recorded -- surround us everywhere in the industrialized world and beyond. However, despite the fact that for the majority mass art supplies the primary source of aesthetic experience, the area has been neglected entirely by analytic philosophers of art. -/- In A Philosophy of Mass Art, Noël Carroll, a leading figure in the field of aesthetic philosophy, attempts to address this (...)
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  15. Noel Carroll (1998). Moderate Moralism Versus Moderate Autonomism. British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (4):419-424.
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  16. Noël Carroll (1996). Moderate Moralism. British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (3):223-238.
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  17. Diané Collinson (1985). ‘Ethics and Aesthetics Are One’. British Journal of Aesthetics 25 (3):266-272.
    What did wittgenstein mean when he said that 'ethics and aesthetics are one', Since these are generally contrasted than amalgamated? his "1914-1916 notebooks", The "tractatus", And the "lecture on ethics", Show that he regarded them as one because they shared a "sub specie aeternitatis" attitude. Study of his remarks reveals the implications of his account and shows that wittgenstein, In this phase of development, Belonged in the mainstream of ethical and aesthetic philosophy.
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  18. O. Connolly (2000). Ethicism and Moderate Moralism. British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (3):302-316.
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  19. Herbert Ellsworth Cory (1926). Beauty and Goodness: Art and Morality. International Journal of Ethics 36 (4):394-402.
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  20. Timothy M. Costelloe (2007). Aesthetics and Morals in the Philosophy of David Hume. Routledge.
    General rules and "of the standard of taste" -- Aesthetic beauty and moral beauty -- Antinomy and error -- Reflection and character -- Beauty and moral life -- Progress and prejudice -- Philosophy and moral life.
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  21. E. M. Dadlez & Jeanette Bicknell (2013). Not Moderately Moral: Why Hume Is Not a "Moderate Moralist&Quot;. Philosophy and Literature 37 (2):330-342.
    If philosophers held popularity contests, David Hume would be a perennial winner. Witty, a bon vivant, and champion of reason over bigotry and superstition, it is not surprising that many contemporary thinkers want to recruit him as an ally or claim his views as precursors to their own. In the debate over the moral content of artworks and its possible relevance for artistic and aesthetic value, the group whose views are known variously as “ethicism,” “moralism,” or “moderate moralism” has claimed (...)
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  22. Roland A. Delattre (2003). Aesthetics and Ethics: Jonathan Edwards and the Recovery of Aesthetics for Religious Ethics. Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):277 - 297.
    This is a tricentennial riff on the Edwardsean idea that beauty is both the first principle of being and the distinguishing perfection of God. What is really distinctive about Edwards's view of beauty is that it is an ontological reality and consists in joyfully bestowing being and beauty more than in being beautiful, in creative and beautifying activity more than in being beautiful. Edwards was also a pioneer in the way he envisaged a lively universe created by God, not out (...)
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  23. A. E. Denham (2000). Metaphor and Moral Experience. Oxford University Press.
    Alison Denham examines the ways in which our engagement with literary art, and metaphorical discourse in particular, informs our moral beliefs. She considers to what extent moral and metaphorical discourses are capable of truth or falsehood, warrant or justification, and how it is that we understand these discourses. This vital new study offers a fresh view of the nature of the moral and the metaphorical, and the relations between art and morality.
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  24. Michael R. Depaul (1988). Argument and Perception: The Role of Literature in Moral Inquiry. Journal of Philosophy 85 (10):552-565.
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  25. Priyan Dias (2011). Aesthetics and Ethics in Engineering: Insights From Polanyi. [REVIEW] Science and Engineering Ethics 17 (2):233-243.
    Polanyi insisted that scientific knowledge was intensely personal in nature, though held with universal intent. His insights regarding the personal values of beauty and morality in science are first enunciated. These are then explored for their relevance to engineering. It is shown that the practice of engineering is also governed by aesthetics and ethics. For example, Polanyi’s three spheres of morality in science—that of the individual scientist, the scientific community and the wider society—has parallel entities in engineering. The existence of (...)
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  26. George Dickie (2005). The Triumph in Triumph of the Will. British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (2):151-156.
    The question at issue is whether moral defects of artworks can be aesthetic defects. Noël Carroll claims they can be, Berys Gaut claims they are, and James Anderson and Jeffrey Dean claim they are not. I side with Anderson and Dean and produce additional arguments against Carroll and Gaut. Triumph of the Will serves as an example that all five of us agree is a morally flawed artwork. I argue and conclude that its horrible moral defects are not aesthetic ones. (...)
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  27. T. J. Diffey (1985). Art and Goodness: Collingwood's Aesthetics and Moore's Ethics Compared. British Journal of Aesthetics 25 (2):185-198.
  28. A. W. Eaton (2013). Reply to Carroll: The Artistic Value of a Particular Kind of Moral Flaw. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):376-380.
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  29. A. W. Eaton (2012). Robust Immoralism. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (3):281-292.
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  30. A. W. Eaton (2003). Where Ethics and Aesthetics Meet: Titian's Rape of Europa. Hypatia 18 (4):159 - 188.
    Titian's Rape of Europa is highly praised for its luminous colors and sensual textures. But the painting has an overlooked dark side, namely that it eroticizes rape. I argue that this is an ethical defect that diminishes the painting aesthetically. This argument-that an artwork can be worse off qua work of art precisely because it is somehow ethically problematic-demonstrates that feminist concerns about art can play a legitimate role in art criticism and aesthetic appreciation.
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  31. Marcia Muelder Eaton (2001). Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical. Oxford University Press.
    To "look good" and to "be good" have traditionally been considered two very different notions. Indeed, philosophers have seen aesthetic and ethical values as fundamentally separate. Now, at the crossroads of a new wave of aesthetic theory, Marcia Muelder Eaton introduces this groundbreaking work, in which a bold new concept of merit where being good and looking good are integrated into one.
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  32. Marcia Muelder Eaton (1992). Integrating the Aesthetic and the Moral. Philosophical Studies 67 (3):219 - 240.
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  33. David E. W. Fenner (ed.) (1995). Ethics and the Arts: An Anthology. Garland Pub..
    First published in 1996. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  34. S. Gardner, Tragedy, Morality and Metaphysics.
    Book description: Art and Morality is a collection of groundbreaking new papers on the theme of aesthetics and ethics, and the link between the two subjects. A group of distinguished contributors tackle the important questions that arise when one thinks about the moral dimensions of art and the aesthetic dimension of moral life. The volume is a significant contribution to philosophical literature, opening up unexplored questions and shedding new light on more traditional debates in aesthetics. The topics explored include: the (...)
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  35. Berys Gaut (2001). Art and Ethics. In Berys Nigel Gaut & Dominic Lopes (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Routledge. 341--352.
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  36. Berys Gaut (1996). Review: Truth, Fiction, and Literature. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 105 (1):84-86.
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  37. Berys Nigel Gaut (2007). Art, Emotion and Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    The long debate -- Aesthetics and ethics : basic concepts -- A conceptual map -- Autonomism -- Artistic and critical practices -- Questions of character -- The cognitive argument : the epistemic claim -- The cognitive argument : the aesthetic claim -- Emotion and imagination -- The merited response argument.
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  38. Berys Nigel Gaut (1998). Just Joking: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Humor. Philosophy and Literature 22 (1):51-68.
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  39. John Gibson & Noel Carroll (eds.) (2011). Narrative, Emotion, and Insight. Penn State UP.
    While narrative has been one of liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? Narrative, Emotion, and Insight explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The book (...)
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  40. Isaiah Giese (2011). Kierkegaard's Analysis of Human Existence in Either/Or : There is No Choice Between Aesthetics and Ethics. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (1):59-73.
    According to Alasdair MacIntyre, Kierkegaard fails to provide rational reasons to choose between an aesthetic lifestyle and an ethical lifestyle. This claim subsequently initiated a significant discussion that investigated whether one can rationally choose between ethics and aesthetics. I will be challenging both MacIntyre?s criticism and in large part the basis of the subsequent discussion by arguing that there is no choice between aesthetics and ethics at all. Specifically, I will be arguing that in Either/Or Kierkegaard demonstrates that the essence (...)
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  41. Jonathan Gilmore (2011). Ethics, Aesthetics, and Artistic Ends. Journal of Value Inquiry 45 (2):203-214.
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  42. Alessandro Giovannelli (2013). Ethical Criticism in Perspective: A Defense of Radical Moralism. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):335-348.
    I defend the ethical fittingness theory (EFT), the thesis that whenever it is legitimate ethically to evaluate a representational artwork for the perspective it embodies, such evaluation systematically bears on the work's artistic value. EFT is a form of radical moralism, claiming that the systematic relationship between the selected type of ethical evaluation and artistic evaluation always obtains, for works of any kind. The argument for EFT spells out the implications of ethically judging an artwork for its perspective, where such (...)
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  43. Alessandro Giovannelli (2013). Ethicism, Particularism, and Artistic Categorization. Ethical Perspectives 20 (3):375-401.
    In this paper, I critically examine Berys Gaut’s proposals regarding ethical criticism, that is, regarding the question of whether, and if so how, an ethical evaluation of a work of art can be considered amongst the determinants of the work’s value as art. I critically examine Gaut’s proposed taxonomy on the possible positions on the ethical criticism question as well as his own influential answer to such question: ethicism. My critique focuses on one missing element, I argue, in Gaut’s overall (...)
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  44. Alessandro Giovannelli (2010). Art, Emotion and Ethics, by Berys Gaut. Mind 119 (474):481-487.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  45. Alessandro Giovannelli (2007). The Ethical Criticism of Art: A New Mapping of the Territory. Philosophia 35 (2):117-127.
    The goal of this paper is methodological. It offers a comprehensive mapping of the theoretical positions on the ethical criticism of art, correcting omissions and inadequacies in the conceptual framework adopted in the current debate. Three principles are recommended as general guidelines: ethical amenability, basic value pluralism, and relativity to ethical dimension. Hence a taxonomy distinguishing between different versions of autonomism, moralism, and immoralism is established, by reference to criteria that are different from what emerging in the current literature. The (...)
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  46. Alessandro Giovannelli (2005). Review: Art and Morality. [REVIEW] Mind 114 (453):119-124.
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  47. Anil Gomes (2013). Iris Murdoch on Art, Ethics, and Attention. British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (3):321-337.
    Can the experience of great art play a role in our coming to understand the ethical framework of another person? In this article I draw out three themes from Iris Murdoch’s ‘The Sovereignty of Good’ in order to show the role that communal attention to works of art can play in our ethical lives. I situate this role in the context of Murdoch’s wider philosophical views.
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  48. Anil Gomes (2009). Goldie on the Virtues of Art. British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (1):75-81.
    Peter Goldie has argued for a virtue theory of art, analogous to a virtue theory of ethics, one in which the skills and dispositions involved in the production and appreciation of art are virtues and not simply mere skills. In this note I highlight a link between the appreciation of art and its production, and explore the implications of such a link for a virtue theory of art.
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  49. Wilhelm Gräb (ed.) (2007). Ästhetik Und Religion: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge Zur Identität Und Differenz von Ästhetischer Und Religiöser Erfahrung. P. Lang.
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  50. Morris Grossman (1973). Art and Morality: On the Ambiguity of a Distinction. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 32 (1):103-106.
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