Why ideal critics are not ideal: Aesthetic character, motivation and value

British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (3):278-294 (2008)
On a contemporary Humean-influenced view, the responses of suitably idealized appreciators are presented as tracking, or even determining, facts about artistic value. Focusing on the intra-personal case, this paper argues that (i) facts about the refinement and reconfiguration of aesthetic character together with (ii) the manner in which autobiography and character are implicated in artistic appreciation make it de facto unlikely that we can reliably come to know how our ideal counterpart would respond to a given artwork. Attribution of superhuman abilities to our ideal counterpart partially addresses this worry, but undermines a central feature of the theoretical motivation for the idealizing model. Insofar as response-dependent accounts of artistic value are inextricably tied to an idealizing view of critics, we have reason to reject them.
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayn021
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