Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism and the Challenge of the Exotic

British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (2):161-178 (2019)

Mike Rings Rings
Indiana University, Bloomington
This paper explores how the virtuous aesthetic cosmopolitan—one actively engaged in cultivating an authoritative appreciation for culturally unfamiliar works or traditions of art, in a manner informed by moral cosmopolitan principles—engages with the ‘exotic’ artwork in a manner that is both morally responsible and aesthetically discerning. After providing an overview of philosophical cosmopolitanism and the aesthetic cosmopolitan’s project, I consider in depth a particular example: the music of Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali as encountered by an unaccustomed listener. I explore potential problematic responses to the work, including both chauvinistic and exoticizing responses. I then consider possible strategies for alternative responses, informed by the aesthetic and hermeneutic theories of Hume, Gadamer, and Charles Taylor. Having revealed deficiencies with these alternatives, I go on to argue that the cosmopolitan’s best strategy is a mode of appreciation that is ‘conversational’ in nature, an open-ended approach modeled on an exchange between the appreciator and an other-cultural interlocutor. In proposing such a model, I draw on the work of Kwame Appiah and Maria Lugones, as well as Anthony Laden’s recent work on conversational norms.
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayz010
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References found in this work BETA

Cosmopolitanism.Pauline Kleingeld & Eric Brown - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Six Varieties of Cosmopolitanism in Late Eighteenth-Century Germany.Pauline Kleingeld - 1999 - Journal of the History of Ideas 60 (3):505-524.
The Aesthetic Appreciation of Music.Jerrold Levinson - 2009 - British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (4):415-425.

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