Reflections on aesthetic judgement

British Journal of Aesthetics 44 (3):248-260 (2004)
Aesthetic realism is offered as a way of overcoming aesthetic disagreement and combating all forms of subjectivism, emotivism, and so on, with its thesis that aesthetic qualities really exist and the judgements about them are genuine statements of fact. This paper questions the intelligibility of that thesis together with its claim that aesthetic qualities are supervenient upon non-aesthetic ones. It is suggested that in this context supervenience amounts to little more than aspect perception and that allows ontological claims about supervenient qualities to be rejected. Subjectivism, however, is not the alternative. Neither realism nor subjectivism do justice to the complexity of aesthetic judgements and the roles that they play in our lives. It is suggested that the nature of these judgements is best pursued through Wittgenstein’s notions of aspect perception and imponderable evidence.
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