American beauty

Acta Analytica 17 (1):133-150 (2002)
Kant’s approach to the nature of artworks suggests that art has a metaphysical dimension that accounts for the two major elements of aesthetic experience. Aesthetic judgements are occasioned by experiences of pleasure and have an objective aspect since they are experiences with which other persons are expected to agree. More recently, Arthur Danto has argued that an artwork must be situated in an artworld. Pragmatists see aesthetic experience instead as integral to experience and requiring no special explanation other than association with consumatory moments of experience. I want to argue that the pragmatist approach is basically correct, that contra Danto and Kant, aesthetic experience has no special implications for metaphysics. I locate this notion of aesthetic experience in the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson and offer speculations about the cultural relativity of concepts of aesthetic beauty.
Keywords Kant  Danto  Emerson  Warhol  Beauty  Sublime  Artworld
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