Some bioethicists have questioned the desirability of a line of biomedical research aimed at extending the length of our lives over what some think to be its natural limit. In particular, Leon Kass has argued that living longer is not such a great advantage, and that mortality is not a burden after all. In this essay, I evaluate his arguments in favour of such a counterintuitive view by elaborating upon some critical remarks advanced by John Harris. Ultimately, I argue that (...) nothing substantial has been said by Kass to undermine the desirability of life-extending technologies. (shrink)
The concept of functional beauty is analysed in terms of the role played by beliefs, in particular expectations, in our perceptions. After finding various theories of functional beauty unsatisfying, I introduce a novel approach which explains how aesthetic judgements on a variety of different kinds of functional objects (chairs, buildings, cars, etc.) can be grounded in perceptions influenced by beliefs.
Alcune opere d'arte manifestano (o suggeriscono di assumere) prospettive morali dubbie e, in certi casi, chiaramente deprecabili. Ad esempio, il documentario propagandista Il Trionfo della Volontà di Leni Riefensthal esprime (e cerca di evocare) ammirazione nei confronti di Adolf Hitler. Nonostante ciò, Il Trionfo della Volontà è considerato un capolavoro nel genere dei documentari. Questo e molti altri esempi simili suggeriscono le seguenti domande: É possibile considerare un'opera d'arte un capolavoro artistico e, allo stesso tempo, un esempio di immoralità? La (...) valutazione morale di un'opera d'arte influisce o dovrebbe influire sulla valutazione artistica dell'opera? (shrink)
Accounts of modality in terms of fictional possible worlds face an objection based on the idea that when modal claims are analysed in terms of fictions, the connection between analysans and analysandum seems artificial. Strong modal fictionalism, the theory according to which modal claims are analysed in terms of a fiction, has been defended by, among others, Seahwa Kim, who has recently claimed that the philosophical objection that the connection between modality and fictions is artificial can be met. I propose (...) a new way of spelling out the intuition of artificiality and show that strong modal fictionalism should be rejected. (shrink)
I argue that Amie Thomasson’s recent theory of the methodology to be applied to find the truth-conditions for claims of existence faces serious objections. Her account is based on Devitt and Sterelny’s solution to the qua problem for theories of reference fixing; however, such a solution cannot be also applied to analyze existential claims.
The merited response argument is an argument in favor of artistic ethicism. According to this view, the interaction between art and morality is such that a moral defect in a work of art negatively influences the work's artistic value (and a moral merit, when relevant, is always an artistic merit). I contend that the argument relies on a criterion of aesthetic and artistic relevance that, when properly understood, fails to constitute a premise that either the artistic contextualist or the autonomist (...) would accept. I then offer a version of the merited response argument that supports artistic contextualism and argue that, given certain controversial assumptions, immoral art in the Western tradition is more common than typically acknowledged in the recent literature on the topic. (shrink)
The aims of this paper are (1) to reconstruct the dialectic between two rival theories on the relation between art and morality, (2) to argue against Berys Gaut’s recent defense of ethicism, and (3) to elaborate some of my critical remarks and propose new considerations in favor of immoralism. To a first approximation, an ethicist maintains that the moral value of a work of art, when relevant, is an important element of its artistic value. In particular, assuming that the moral (...) value of a work, w, is relevant for its artistic value, if w has an immoral character (in a sense to be specified), then its aesthetic value is lessened. In addition, if w has a morally positive character, then w is also artistically more .. (shrink)
Some works of architecture have remarkable aesthetic value. According to certain philosophers, part of this value derives from the appearance of such constructions to fulfil the function for which they were built. I argue that one way of understanding the connection between function and aesthetic value resides in the concept of functional beauty. I analyse a number of recent accounts of this notion, then offer a better way of understanding it. I then focus my attention on the relation between aesthetic (...) and moral values and claim that, if the notion of functional beauty makes any sense at all, then we have a pro tanto case for holding that moral defects in works of architecture can have aesthetic merits. (shrink)
I advance an objection to Graham Priest’s account of fictional entities as nonexistent objects. According to Priest, fictional characters do not have, in our world, the properties they are represented as having; for example, the property of being a bank clerk is possessed by Joseph K. not in our world but in other worlds. Priest claims that, in this way, his theory can include an unrestricted principle of characterization for objects. Now, some representational properties attributed to fictional characters, a kind (...) of fictional entities, involve a crucial reference to the world in which they are supposed to be instantiated. I argue that these representational properties are problematic for Priest’s theory and that he cannot accept an unrestricted version of the principle of characterization. Thus, while not refuting Priest’s theory, I show that it is no better off than other Meinongian theories. (shrink)
I formulate and defend two sceptical theses on specific parts of our modal knowledge (unqualified and absolute modalities). My main point is that unqualified modal sentences are defective in that they fail to belong unambiguously to specific modal kinds and thus cannot be evaluated; hence, we must be sceptical of beliefs involving them.
I present and evaluate various criticisms against the view that architecture and architectural value are to be understood solely in terms of internal space. I conclude that the architectural value of a building should not be limited to its internal spatial effects because the value of other elements, such as (non-spatial) function, materials, ornamentation, and so on cannot all be reduced to spatial values.
The notion of architectural experience has been explored by Roger Scruton in an essay in which he provides an account of both its structure and content, along with clarifications of certain key concepts in architectural criticism, such as architectural success and architectural beauty. In this article, I introduce Scruton’s theory and argue that, despite its intuitive appeal, some crucial elements for the appreciation of buildings as works of architecture are not adequately addressed there. I then propose various ways of addressing (...) these criticisms. (shrink)
The epistemology of modality is gradually coming to play a central role in general discussions about modality. This paper is a contribution in this direction, in particular I draw a comparison between Lewis’s Modal realism and Timothy Williamson’s recent account of modality in terms of counterfactual thinking. In order to have criteria of evaluation, I also formulate four requirements which are supposed to be met by any theory of modality to be epistemologically adequate.