Aesthetic Predicates: A Hybrid Dispositional Account

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (6):723-751, doi:10.1080/0020174X.20 (2016)

Abstract

This paper explores the possibility of developing a hybrid version of dispositional theories of aesthetic values. On such a theory, uses of aesthetic predicates express relational second-order dispositional properties. If the theory is not absolutist, it allows for the relativity of aesthetic values. But it may be objected to on the grounds that it fails to explain disagreement among subjects who are not disposed alike. This paper explores the possibility of adapting recent proposals of hybrid expressivist theories for moral predicates to the case of aesthetic predicates. Hybrid expressivist theories make no explicit commitment about the kind of property expressed by the predicate, but make explicit commitments to implicated (or presupposed)expressive content. It is argued that dispositionalism about the properties expressed by aesthetic predicates, combined with expressive implicatures (or presuppositions), can account for aesthetic disagreements even in cases where subjects are not relevantly alike.

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