The autonomy of aesthetic judgement

British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (4):331-348 (2006)
In recent work, Robert Hopkins has argued that aesthetic judgements are autonomous. When a subject finds herself diverging in judgement from a group of others who, while independently applying the same method, have come to some opposing conclusion, then for ordinary empirical matters this is often reason enough for her to suspend judgement, or even to adopt their view, but this happens much more rarely in the case of beauty. Moreover, the opposing view does not act as a defeater to her belief to the same extent as it does in the empirical case. Hopkins argues that this phenomenon, properly understood, poses a distinctive problem for aesthetic cognitivism. Such a result might seem to support a non-cognitivism about aesthetic judgement, but Hopkins argues that one of the most promising such accounts, a particular form of aesthetic quasi-realism, cannot account in a satisfactory way for aesthetic autonomy either. In this paper, I argue that Hopkins's argument is crucially enthymematic. Supplying the relevant premise makes space for an independently motivated explanation of autonomy, which is open to cognitivists and non-cognitivists alike.
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayl019
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Jon Robson (2012). Aesthetic Testimony. Philosophy Compass 7 (1):1-10.
Jon Robson (2014). Aesthetic Autonomy and Self-Aggrandisement. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 75:3-28.

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