On the Aesthetic Ideal

British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (4):433-447 (2015)
Authors
Nick Riggle
University of San Diego
Abstract
How should we pursue aesthetic value, or incorporate it into our lives, if we want to? Is there an ideal of aesthetic life? Philosophers have proposed numerous answers to the analogous question in moral philosophy, but the aesthetic question has received relatively little attention. There is, in essence, a single view, which is that one should develop a sensibility that would give one sweeping access to aesthetic value. I challenge this view on two grounds. First, it threatens to undermine our "aesthetic love", or the meaningful attachments we form with aesthetic items, e.g., poems, paintings, songs, or items of design and dress. Second, it fails to accommodate the motivational character of our encounter with beauty, which can diminish our desire to pursue the wider world of aesthetic value. I conclude that whatever the aesthetic ideal is, it must reconcile our desire to broaden our access to aesthetic value with our desire to maintain and cultivate our meaningful aesthetic attachments. I motivate the alternative thought that having style is the aesthetic ideal.
Keywords aesthetic value  beauty  aesthetic love  aesthetic ideal  style
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayv026
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Personal Ideals as Metaphors.Nick Riggle - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (3):265-283.

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