About this topic

Broadly construed, Aesthetics and Ethics concerns the relationship between art and morality. Here we ask: Can artworks provide moral knowledge? Can artworks corrupt and instruct morally?  More narrowly construed, the category concerns the relationship between aesthetic and moral value. The chief question is this: Do moral flaws with works of art constitute aesthetics flaws? In addition, we can ask if aesthetic value is morally significant. This last issue has important implications for environmental ethics.

Key works The most important collection on the topic is Levinson 1998. The majority of the work on the topic is in essay form, but there are a few influential books. Gaut 2007 is an important, recent monograph. 
Introductions Although a bit out of date, Carroll 2000 provides an excellent overview of the area.  Gaut 2001 is also an excellent introduction.
Related categories

327 found
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  1. The Public Cost of Private Ownership of Artworks.Catharine Abell - 2005 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 12 (2):76-81.
    I argue that artworks are of public value because aesthetic experience of them contributes to the development of our aestheticjudgement. I use two accounts of aesthetic judgement to explore how it might do so and how the private ownership of artworks could affect the development of our aesthetic judgement.
  2. Literature, Ethics, and Aesthetics: Applied Deleuze and Guattari.Sabrina Achilles - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Introduction: the literary function -- Being constructivist -- Rethinking the performative in pragmatics -- The literary function and the cartographic turn: performative philosophy -- The literary function and society, I: affirmation of immanent aesthetics -- The literary function and society, II: community and subjectification -- The reader and the event of fiction -- Conclusion: degrees of freedom.
  3. Biting the Bullet: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Violence.Jonathan Guy Allen - 2007 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 41 (2):100-110.
  4. Moderate Autonomism.James C. Anderson & Jeffrey T. Dean - 1998 - British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (2):150-166.
  5. Art and Morality.John Anderson - 1941 - Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy 19 (3):253-266.
  6. Ethics and Aesthetics Are One and the Same?Hanne Appelqvist - 2013 - In Peter Sullivan Michael Potter (ed.), Wittgenstein's Tractatus. History and Interpretation. Oxford University Press. pp. 40.
  7. A Moral Problem for Difficult Art.Antony Aumann - 2016 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (4):383-396.
    Works of art can be difficult in several ways. One important way is by making us face up to unsettling truths. Such works typically receive praise. I maintain, however, that sometimes they deserve moral censure. The crux of my argument is that, just as we have a right to know the truth in certain contexts, so too we have a right not to know it. Provided our ignorance does not harm or seriously endanger others, the decision about whether to know (...)
  8. The Relationship Between Aesthetic Value and Cognitive Value.Antony Aumann - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (2):117-127.
    Recent attention to the relationship between aesthetic value and cognitive value has focused on whether the latter can affect the former. In this article, I approach the issue from the opposite direction. I investigate whether the aesthetic value of a work can influence its cognitive value. More narrowly, I consider whether a work's aesthetic value ever contributes to or detracts from its philosophical value, which I take to include the truth of its claims, the strength of its arguments, and its (...)
  9. The Human Story at the Intersection of Ethics, Aesthetics and Social Justice.Judith F. Baca - 2005 - Journal of Moral Education 34 (2):153-169.
  10. The Moral and Cognitive Value of Art.Elvio Baccarini & Milica Urban - 2013 - Etica E Politica 15 (1):474-505.
    This paper is about the notions of the artistic, aesthetic, cognitive and moral value of art and their interconnectedness. The main concern is to try to advocate the cognitivist claim about the artistic value of artworks’ contribution to the advance of knowledge, as well as for the relevance of the moral dimension for artistic value. This is a discussion of the intersection of the debate about moral and aesthetic value. The central part of the paper is focused on a debate (...)
  11. Ethical Analysis and Aesthetic Ideals.Thomas Baldwin - 2003 - In Jorge J. E. Gracia, Gregory M. Reichberg & Bernard N. Schumacher (eds.), The Classics of Western Philosophy: A Reader's Guide. Blackwell. pp. 446.
  12. On Good and Evil in Philosophy of Art and Aesthetic Theory.Edward G. Ballard - 1969 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):273-287.
  13. Fleshy Canvas.Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray & Tanya Rodriguez - 2012 - In Robert Arp (ed.), Tattoos — Philosophy for Everyone: I Ink, Therefore I Am. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 38-50.
    In this paper, we first investigate a bit of feminist and hermeneutical aesthetics. Building upon these theories, we expand the discussion of art to include the fleshy canvas.We argue that a feminist philosophy of art suggests a sound theoretical framework by which one can maintain that skin art is just that – art. In its contemporary practice, tattooing has become a new form of art, and feminist theory provides context for interpretation. The tattooed body may agitate conventional conceptions of fine (...)
  14. Art and Pornography. [REVIEW]Christopher Bartel - 2014 - British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (4):510-512.
  15. ‘It’s Just a Story’: Pornography, Desire, and the Ethics of Fictive Imagining.Christopher Bartel & Anna Cremaldi - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (1):37-50.
    © British Society of Aesthetics 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society of Aesthetics. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comIn the popular media, morally problematic content is often defended on the grounds that ‘it’s just a story’—that is, imaginative engagement with morally problematic content amounts merely to entertaining a story, and there is nothing morally wrong with entertaining a story. Against this, some aestheticians have argued that, in fact, there can be something intrinsically (...)
  16. EATON, MM-Merit, Aesthetic and Ethical.S. Bates - 2003 - Philosophical Books 44 (2):187-188.
  17. Ethischer, ästhetischer und architektonischer Wert: Zur Verteidigung des moderaten Moralismus.Christoph Baumberger - 2017 - In Karsten Berr (ed.), Architektur- und Planungsethik. Zugänge, Perspektiven, Standpunkte. Wiesbaden, Germany: pp. 159-174.
    In der Architekturkritik finden sich oft ethische Bewertungen. Haben diese einen Einfluss auf den architektonischen Wert von Bauwerken? Und in welcher Beziehung steht der ethische Wert architektonischer Werke zu ihrem ästhetischen Wert? Ich verteidige die folgenden Antworten, die einen moderaten Moralismus mit Bezug auf Architektur definieren: Ein architektonisches Werk ist in manchen Fällen (1) architektonisch kritisierbar (oder lobenswert), insofern es ethische Mängel (oder Vorzüge) hat, (2) ästhetisch kritisierbar (oder lobenswert), insofern es ethische Mängel (oder Vorzüge) hat, und (3) ethisch kritisierbar (...)
  18. Art and Understanding. In Defence of Aesthetic Cognitivism.Christoph Baumberger - 2013 - In Marc Greenlee, Rainer Hammwöhner, Bernd Köber, Christoph Wagner & Christian Wolff (eds.), Bilder sehen. Perspektiven der Bildwissenschaft. Schnell + Steiner. pp. 41-67.
    Aesthetic cognitivism is best thought of as a conjunction of an epistemic and an aesthetic claim. The epistemic thesis is that artworks have cognitive functions, the aesthetic thesis that cognitive functions of artworks partly determine their artistic value. In this article, my first aim is to defend the epistemic thesis of aesthetic cognitivism. Since it seems undeniable that artworks have cognitive functions, yet less clear whether they have them as artworks, I will focus on cognitive functions that plausibly belong to (...)
  19. To Be-Between, To Pass Between: Becoming “Intermezzo” in Orlan’s Carnal Art.Burcu Baykan - 2015 - In Leslie Malland (ed.), Time, Space & the Body. UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press E-Books.
  20. Emmanuel Levinas: Hermeneutics, Ethics, and Art.Hanoch Ben-Pazi - 2015 - Journal of Literature and Art Studies 5:pp. 588 - 600.
    "Art does not know a particular type of reality; it contrasts with knowledge. It is the very event of obscuring, a descent of the night, an invasion of shadow" (Levinas 1989, 132). Levinas chooses these words to depict the role, action, and essence of art. Terms such as "obscuring," "descent of the night," and "shadow" serve as modes of a consciousness that is different from, if not the opposite of, "enlightened" knowledge, which is signified, in contrast, by terms such as (...)
  21. Aesthetics and Environment: Variations on a Theme.Arnold Berleant - 2005 - Ashgate.
    I: Environmental aesthetics -- A phenomenological aesthetics of environment -- Aesthetic dimensions of environmental design -- Down the garden path -- The wilderness city : a study of metaphorical experience -- Aesthetics of the coastal environment -- The world from the water -- Is there life in virtual space? -- Is greasy lake a place? -- Embodied music -- II: Social aesthetics -- The idea of a cultural aesthetic -- The social evaluation of art -- Subsidization of art as social (...)
  22. Art and Morality.José Luis Bermúdez & Sebastian Gardner (eds.) - 2003 - Routledge.
    _Art and Morality_ is a collection of groundbreaking new papers on the theme of aesthetics and ethics, and the link between the two subjects. A group of distinguished contributors tackle the important questions that arise when one thinks about the moral dimensions of art and the aesthetic dimension of moral life. The volume is a significant contribution to philosophical literature, opening up unexplored questions and shedding new light on more traditional debates in aesthetics. The topics explored include: the relation of (...)
  23. José Luis Bermúdez and Sebastian Gardner, Eds., Art and Morality. New York: Routledge, 2003, 303 Pp. (Indexed). ISBN 0-415-19252-8, US$96.95 (Hb). [REVIEW]Ruben Berrios - 2004 - Journal of Value Inquiry 38 (3):419-423.
  24. James Warren, “The Pleasures of Reason in Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Hedonists.” Review by Facundo Bey. [REVIEW]Facundo Bey - 2016 - Boletín de Estética 36:71-76.
    The Pleasures of Reason in Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Hedonists se centra en la relación mutua entre las capacidades humanas de sentir placer y dolor y el carácter afectivo que las une con las facultades cognitivas de aprender, comprender, recordar, evocar, planificar y anticiparse. Para esto, Warren consagra toda su agudeza analítica a eminentes obras del pensamiento antiguo: particularmente nos referimos a los diálogos platónicos República, Protágoras y Filebo. Otro tanto hace con De Anima, De Memoria et Reminiscentia, Ética (...)
  25. Cognitive and Aesthetic Values in Artistic Work and Scientific Work.Grzegorz Białkowski & Helena Białkowska - 1978 - Dialectics and Humanism 5 (2):39-52.
  26. Artistic and Nonartistic Backgrounds as Determinants of the Cognitive Response to the Arts.Joseph Bilotta & Martin S. Lindauer - 1980 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 15 (5):354-356.
  27. Topiary : Ethics and Aesthetics.Emily Brady & Isis Brook - 2003 - Ethics and the Environment 8 (1):126-142.
  28. Aesthetics and Ethics: Incommensurable, Identical or Conflicting?Lothar Bredella - 1996 - In Gerhard Hoffmann & Alfred Hornung (eds.), Ethics and Aesthetics: The Moral Turn of Postmodernism. C. Winter. pp. 29--51.
  29. The Ethics and Aesthetics of Topiary.Isis Brook & Emily Brady - 2003 - Ethics and the Environment 8 (1):127-42.
  30. Le Présent de l'Art : L'Hypothèse fictionnaliste : Une philosophie du mensonge sous les catégories Esthétique, Ethique et Politique.Ciro Giordano Bruni - 2013 - Sammeron: GERMS.
  31. Objectivity and the Aesthetic Value of Nature: Reply to Parsons.Malcolm Budd - 2006 - British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (3):267-273.
    The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature I advance a view of the aesthetic value of nature that Glenn Parsons seeks to contest. Here I attempt to show three things. The first is that his critique of my view of the aesthetic value of a natural thing is malfounded. The second is that his proposed alternative, which is intended to vindicate the claim to objectivity of certain judgements of the aesthetic value of a natural thing, is unconvincing. And the third is that, (...)
  32. The Case of the Missing Sublime in Latvian Landscape Aesthetics and Ethics.Edmunds Bunkse - 2001 - Ethics, Place and Environment 4 (3):235 – 246.
    In perceptions of their landscapes the Latvians have denied the existence of the sublime, elevating rural and natural aspects as beautiful and good. While Latvian landscape aesthetics and ethics are based on the profound transformation of nature-landscape attitudes that occurred in Europe during the second half of the 18th century, when ideas of the beautiful, sublime, and the picturesque were debated, the existence of sublime characteristics within the borders of Latvia has not been recognized. In part the attitude derives from (...)
  33. The Aesthetic, the Cognitive, and the Ethical: Criticism and Discursive Responsibility.Seán Burke - 1999 - In David Fuller & Patricia Waugh (eds.), The Arts and Sciences of Criticism. Oxford University Press.
  34. Ethical Implications of Aesthetics.Harold Ward Carle - 1985 - Dissertation, The American University
    The artistic gesture is a unique demonstration of individual freedom. Rather than manifestation of truth or beauty, aesthetics represents personal morality in that the individual determines what ought to be. This determination is entirely free and unforced, as opposed to the individual's moral responses to his natural and social environments. Uncoerced and dependent only on the individual's personal initiative, it represents a particularly significant moral consideration. Such an interpretation of morality and aesthetics is the focus of the first chapter. ;The (...)
  35. Architecture, Art, And Moderate Moralism.Nöel Caroll - 2017 - Nordic Journal of Aesthetics 25 (52).
    In this essay Noël Carroll explores the question of whether a moral defect in a work of architectural art can ever also count as an aesthetic /artistic defect. Adopting the stance of a moderate moralist and mobilizing what has been called the “uptake argument,” he argues against the moderate autonomist that sometimes a moral defect in an architectural artwork can also be an aesthetic/artistic defect.
  36. Four Perspectives on the Value of Literature for Moral and Character Education. Carr - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 48 (4):1-16.
    We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal (...)
  37. Architecture and Ethics: Autonomy, Architecture, Art.Noël Carroll - 2015 - Architecture Philosophy 1 (2):139-156.
  38. Rough Heroes: A Response to A.W. Eaton.Noël Carroll - 2013 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (4):371-376.
  39. At the Crossroads of Ethics and Aesthetics.Noël Carroll - 2010 - Philosophy and Literature 34 (1):pp. 248-259.
    Art, Emotion, and Ethics is a brilliant book with many important, useful, insightful, and even profound things to say about a range of topics including the relation of the imagination to art, understanding, and ethics, and the paradox of fiction, as well as sensitive and in-depth interpretations of masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt and Nabokov. It is very convincing in its jousts with autonomists for people like me who favor the view that sometimes ethical blemishes are aesthetic blemishes and (...)
  40. Ethics and Aesthetics: Replies to Dickie, Stecker, and Livingston.Noël Carroll - 2006 - British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (1):82-95.
    Both my deflationary approach to aesthetic experience and what I call moderate moralism have been challenged recently in the pages of the British Journal of Aesthetics by Paisley Livingston, Robert Stecker, and George Dickie. In this essay, I attempt to deal with their objections while also trying to move the debate to new ground.
  41. The Wheel of Virtue: Art, Literature, and Moral Knowledge.Noël Carroll - 2002 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (1):3–26.
    In this essay, then, I would like to address what I believe are the most compelling epistemic arguments against the notion that literature (and art more broadly) can function as an instrument of education and a source of knowledge.
  42. Art and Ethical Criticism: An Overview of Recent Directions of Research.Noël Carroll - 2000 - Ethics 110 (2):350-387.
  43. Morality and Aesthetics.Noël Carroll - 1998 - In Michael Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. pp. 3--279.
  44. Moderate Moralism Versus Moderate Autonomism.Noel Carroll - 1998 - British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (4):419-424.
  45. A Philosophy of Mass Art.Noel Carroll - 1997 - Clarendon Press.
    Few today can escape exposure to mass art. Nevertheless, despite the fact that mass art provides the primary source of aesthetic experience for the majority of people, mass art is a topic that has been neglected by analytic philosophers of art. The Philosophy of Mass Art addresses that lacuna. It shows why philosophers have previously resisted and/or misunderstood mass art and it develops new frameworks for understanding mass art in relation to the emotions, morality, and ideology.
  46. Moderate Moralism.Noël Carroll - 1996 - British Journal of Aesthetics 36 (3):223-238.
  47. Narrative, Emotion, and Insight.Noël Carroll & John Gibson (eds.) - 2011 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
    While narrative has been one of the liveliest and most productive areas of research in literary theory, discussions of the nature of emotional responses to art and of the cognitive value of art tend to concentrate almost exclusively on the problem of fiction: How can we emote over or learn from fictions? _Narrative, Emotion, and Insight _explores what would happen if aestheticians framed the matter differently, having narratives—rather than fictional characters and events—as the object of emotional and cognitive attention. The (...)
  48. Clinical Ethics as Applied Aesthetics. Cattorini - 2014 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 48 (2):16-35.
    Medical humanities and ethics are getting more and more important in Europe as essential disciplines of the core curriculum for health-care professionals. The idea of the physician as a technician shows itself to be unbearable because of the global historical changes we daily face in caring settings. We deal with chronic diseases, which require a sensitive physician/patient covenant and a good performance in communication skills1 because a whole life-style transformation is often necessary. Moreover, citizens are more informed about both the (...)
  49. Ownerless Emotions in Rasa-Aesthetics.Arindam Chakrabarti - 2011 - In Ken-Ichi Sasaki (ed.), Asian Aesthetics. National Univeristy of Singapore Press.
  50. Ethical and Aesthetic Problems.P. C. Chatterji - 1961 - British Journal of Aesthetics 1 (4):266-273.
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