When Artists Fall: Honoring and Admiring the Immoral

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):246-265 (2019)
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Abstract

Is it appropriate to honor artists who have created great works but who have also acted immorally? In this article, after arguing that honoring involves identifying a person as someone we ought to admire, we present three moral reasons against honoring immoral artists. First, we argue that honoring can serve to condone their behavior, through the mediums of emotional prioritization and exemplar identification. Second, we argue that honoring immoral artists can generate undue epistemic credibility for the artists, which can lead to an indirect form of testimonial injustice for the artists’ victims. Third, we argue, building on the first two reasons, that honoring immoral artists can also serve to silence their victims. We end by considering how we might respond to these reasons.

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Author Profiles

Alfred Archer
Tilburg University
Benjamin Matheson
University of Bern

Citations of this work

Emotional Imperialism.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
Commemoration and Emotional Imperialism.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - 2022 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 39 (5):761-777.
False Exemplars: Admiration and the Ethics of Public Monuments.Benjamin Cohen Rossi - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (1).
Dealbreakers and the Work of Immoral Artists.Ian Stoner - 2023 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 9 (3):389-407.

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References found in this work

The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
The expression of the emotions in man and animal.Charles Darwin - 1898 - Mineola, New York: Dover Publications.
Meaning.Herbert Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.

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