British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (2):151-163 (2020)

Nils-Hennes Stear
Auburn University
Ethicism is the most comprehensively defended answer to the question regarding whether ethical properties determine aesthetic properties in artworks. According to ethicism, aesthetically relevant ethical flaws in artworks count as aesthetic flaws and aesthetically relevant ethical merits count as aesthetic merits. In this paper, I argue that ethicism’s most significant argument, the Merited Response Argument suffers from an ambiguity that makes it either unsound or uninteresting. Specifically, the notion of an artwork’s ‘prescribing’ a response, central to MRA, is ambiguous between merely attempting to elicit a response from appreciators as appropriate to a work, and endorsing a response as appropriate to relevant parts of the actual world. While the first sense of ‘prescribe’ does the aesthetic work, the second does the ethical.
Keywords ethicism  moralism  art  aesthetics  ambiguity  prescription  merit  merited  meritedness  endorsement  ethics
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayz053
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References found in this work BETA

Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36.
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Citations of this work BETA

The Diversity of Intrinsic Ethical Flaws in Fiction.Adriana Clavel‐vázquez - 2020 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (2):143-156.
Evaluating Art Morally.Elisabeth Schellekens - 2020 - Theoria 86 (6):843-858.

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