Affective responses, normative requirements, and ethical-aesthetic interaction

Philosophia 36 (3):285-298 (2008)
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Abstract

According to what Robert Stecker dubs the “ethical-aesthetic interaction” thesis, the ethical defects of a literary work can diminish its aesthetic value. Both the thesis and the only prominent argumentative strategy employed to support it the affective response argument have been hotly debated; however, Stecker has recently argued that the failure of the ARA does not undermine the thesis, since the argument “fails to indentify the main reason [the thesis] holds, when it in fact does.” I critically examine Stecker’s objection to the familiar versions of the affective response argument and the line of support for ethical-aesthetic interaction he proposes to install in their place. I conclude that neither is compelling; however, an important insight can be salvaged from his positive proposal, and I argue that the insight does, in fact, point toward a novel defense of the thesis.

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Steven Jauss
University of Arkansas, Little Rock

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References found in this work

Natural goodness.Philippa Foot - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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The Moralistic Fallacy: On the 'Appropriateness' of Emotions.Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.
Fearing fictions.Kendall L. Walton - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (1):5-27.

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