Feckless Reason

In Greg Currie, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & John Robinson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. Oxford: pp. 21-36 (2014)
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Abstract

Empirical research on aesthetic response poses two challenges to philosophy. The more familiar challenge is that scientific explanations of aesthetic responses debunk what we take to be our reasons for those responses. One reaction to this challenge is an accommodation strategy that seeks to reconcile the scientific findings with an improved understanding of our normative reasons. This paper presents a more fundamental challenge: a well-established body of research in social psychology indicates that we routinely confabulate the reasons we give for our aesthetic response. This challenges the accommodation strategy and suggests that philosophy should adopt a more radical naturalism about aesthetic response.

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Dominic McIver Lopes
University of British Columbia

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