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

British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (3):278-294 (2008)
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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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Matthew Kieran
University of Leeds

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References found in this work

Of the Standard of Taste.David Hume - 1757 - In Essays Moral, Political, and Literary. Libertyclassics (1987). pp. 226-249.
Why Idealize?David Enoch - 2005 - Ethics 115 (4):759-787.
Hume's Standard of Taste.Noel Carroll - 1984 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 43 (2):181-194.
The Ideal Aesthetic Observer Revisited.Charles Taliaferro - 1990 - British Journal of Aesthetics 30 (1):1-13.

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