Rocks and Sunsets: A Defence of Ignorant Pleasures

Rivista di Estetica 45 (2) (2005)
§1. How much do we have to know about what we evaluate? Many aestheticians say that all or most aesthetic evaluations of artworks and natural things require that we know not just about its immediately perceivable aspects but also about its history or deeper nature or wider role. I agree that quite a lot of aesthetic evaluation is like this. But I also think that much is not. Much of our aesthetic life is a matter of a relatively uninformed aesthetic appreciation of what is immediately given in our perceptual experience of a thing, where that appreciation and experience is not informed by knowledge of its history or deeper nature or wider role. Much appreciation is relatively innocent. I disagree with those who deny the actuality or validity of this kind of appreciation.
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