Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):445-466 (2019)

Servaas van der Berg
University of British Columbia (PhD)
On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticized a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. I revisit his criticisms and extract an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterize appreciative engagement in terms of distinctive motivation: at minimum, the motivational profile such accounts propose must make a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. I then develop a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between how attention is guided in appreciation and how practical action is guided in ‘striving play’—a mode of game play recently foregrounded in the philosophy of games. On the resulting account, appreciation involves an ‘inverted’ motivational structure: the appreciating agent's attention is guided by cognitive goals taken up instrumentally, for the sake of the cognitive activity that results from attending under the guidance of those goals.
Keywords aesthetic attitude  disinterest  attention  goal-directed thought  game play
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqz004
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References found in this work BETA

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Two Distinctions in Goodness.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (2):169-195.
The Problem of Action.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (2):157-162.
Fixing Reference.Imogen Dickie - 2015 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Autonomy and Aesthetic Engagement.C. Thi Nguyen - 2019 - Mind 129 (516):1127-1156.
The Aesthetic Engagement Theory of Art.Patrick Grafton-Cardwell - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.

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