Grounding Moralism: Moral Flaws and Aesthetic Properties

Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (4):34-53 (2011)
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Abstract

My goal in this article is to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I argue that moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties. I do not defend a new theory of aesthetic properties or aesthetic value; instead, I attempt to show that on both the response-dependence and the supervenience account of aesthetic properties, moral flaws with an artwork are relevant to what aesthetic properties obtain. I provide a description of the main features of both theories of aesthetic properties, and then explain how moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws on either account. I address several objections to moralism about art including the "moralistic fallacy.".

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Aaron Smuts
Rhode Island College

Citations of this work

The Ethics of Humor: Can Your Sense of Humor be Wrong?Aaron Smuts - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):333-347.
Two Dogmas of the Artistic-Ethical Interaction Debate.Louise Hanson - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (2):209-222.
In Defense of Comic Pluralism.Nathaniel Sharadin - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (2):375-392.

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References found in this work

Categories of Art.Kendall L. Walton - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (3):334-367.
Aesthetic Concepts.Frank Sibley - 1959 - Philosophical Review 68 (4):421-450.
Of the standard of taste.David Hume - 1875 - In Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. Indianapolis: Liberty Press. pp. 226-249.
In Praise of Immoral Art.Daniel Jacobson - 1997 - Philosophical Topics 25 (1):155-199.

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