How to Be a Pessimist about Aesthetic Testimony

Journal of Philosophy 108 (3):138-157 (2011)

Authors
Robert Hopkins
New York University
Abstract
Is testimony a legitimate source of aesthetic belief? Can I, for instance, learn that a film is excellent on your say-so? Optimists say yes, pessimists no. But pessimism comes in two forms. One claims that testimony is not a legitimate source of aesthetic belief because it cannot yield aesthetic knowledge. The other accepts that testimony can be a source of aesthetic knowledge, yet insists that some further norm prohibits us from exploiting that resource. I argue that this second form of pessimism has certain advantages over the first. I offer two candidates for the non-epistemic norm that, on this view, stands in the way of our taking aesthetic testimony. And I argue that this form of pessimism meets a challenge to pessimism in general – that of explaining why, if testimony cannot be a legitimate source of aesthetic belief, we can nonetheless rightly rely on the aesthetic recommendations of others.
Keywords Testimony  Aesthetics  Norms of belief  Acquaintance
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DOI 10.5840/jphil201110838
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Internalism and Pessimism.Casey Doyle - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (2):189-209.
Aesthetic Testimony and the Norms of Belief Formation.Jon Robson - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):750-763.
II—Moral Testimony Pessimism: A Defence.Roger Crisp - 2014 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 88 (1):129-143.

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