In chapters ranging from "The Beautiful, the Dainty, and the Dumpy" to "Skin-deep or In the Eye of the Beholder?" Nick Zangwill investigates the nature of beauty as we conceive it, and as it is in itself. The notion of beauty is currently attracting increased interest, particularly in philosophical aesthetics and in discussions of our experiences and judgments about art. In The Metaphysics of Beauty, Zangwill argues that it is essential to beauty that it depends on the ordinary features of (...) things. He uses this principle to defend the notion of the aesthetic, to call for a version of aesthetic formalism, and to reconsider the reality of beauty. The Metaphysics of Beauty brings beauty to the center of intellectual consciousness in a manner informed by contemporary metaphysics and engages with beauty as an enduring object of human thought and experience. (shrink)
I argue that eating meat is morally good and our duty when it is part of a practice that has benefited animals. The existence of domesticated animals depends on the practice of eating them, and the meat-eating practice benefits animals of that kind if they have good lives. The argument is not consequentialist but historical, and it does not apply to nondomesticated animals. I refine the argument and consider objections.
I consider the metaphysical consequences of the view that propositional attitudes have essential normative properties. I argue that realism should take a weak rather than a strong form. I argue that expressivism cannot get off the ground. And I argue that eliminativism is self-refuting.
I give an informal presentation of the evolutionary game theoretic approach to the conventions that constitute linguistic meaning. The aim is to give a philosophical interpretation of the project, which accounts for the role of game theoretic mathematics in explaining linguistic phenomena. I articulate the main virtue of this sort of account, which is its psychological economy, and I point to the casual mechanisms that are the ground of the application of evolutionary game theory to linguistic phenomena. Lastly, I consider (...) the objection that the account cannot explain predication, logic, and compositionality. (shrink)
I describe and defend the view in a philosophy of mind that I call 'Normative Essentialism', according to which propositional attitudes have normative essences. Those normative essences are 'horizontal' rational requirements, by which I mean the requirement to have certain propositional attitudes given other propositional attitudes. Different propositional attitudes impose different horizontal rational requirements. I distinguish a stronger and a weaker version of this doctrine and argue for the weaker version. I explore the consequences for knowledge of mind, and I (...) then consider objections to the view from mental causation, from empirical psychology, and from animals and small children. (shrink)
I argue that an evaluational conception of love collides with the way we value love. That way allows that love has causes, but not reasons, and it recognizes and celebrates a love that refuses to justify itself. Love has unjustified selectivity, due to its arbitrary causes. That imposes a non-tradability norm. A love for reasons, rational love or evaluational love would be propositional, and it therefore allows that the people we love are tradable commodities. A moralized conception of love is (...) no less committed to treating those we love as tradable commodities; it is just that they are tradable moral commodities. An evaluative criterion of adequacy, I suggest, encourages the opposite view ? a non-rational and non-evaluational concept of love. Such a love can set up partial obligations, which may even demand that one sacrifice one's life. Only a love that has causes but not reasons can have the kind of value that we think love has, and thus it would only be rational to pursue and foster such a love. (shrink)
I argue against inferentialism about logic. First, I argue against an analogy between logic and chess, before considering a more basic objection to stipulating inference rules as a way of establishing the meaning of logical constants. The objectionthe Mushroom Omelette Objectionis that stipulative acts are partly constituted by logical notions, and therefore cannot be used to explain logical thought. I then argue that the same problem also attaches to following existing conventional rules, since either those rules have logical contents, or (...) following those conventional rules is done for logical reasons. Lastly, I compare this argument with other arguments found in Quine’s early work, and consider two attempts to reply to Quine. (shrink)
I argue against motivational internalism. First I recharacterise the issue over moral motivation. Second I describe the indifference argument against motivation internalism. Third I consider appeals to irrationality that are often made in the face of this argument, and I show that they are ineffective. Lastly, I draw the motivational externalist conclusion and reflect on the nature of the issue.
“Motivational externalism” is the externalism until they see more of what view that moral judgements have no motisuch a theory would be like. The mere posvational efficacy in themselves, and that sibility of such a theory is not sufficiently when they motivate us, the source of motireassuring, even given strong arguments vation lies outside the moral judgement in against the opposite position. For there may a separate desire. Motivational externalism also be objections to externalism. contrasts with “motivational internalism,” Moral philosophers (...) have not spent much which is either the view that our moral effort spelling out the details of an exterjudgements are partly constituted by motinalist model of moral motivation. Those vation, or else that they would be if we who have endorsed externalism include were rational. The major problem for mo- Philippa Foot, Michael Stocker, David tivational internalism—in either guise—is Brink, Al Mele, Sigrún Svavarsdóttir, and that it flies in the face of common obsermyself (Foot 1972, Stocker 1979, Brink vation and first-personal experience of the 1989, 1997, Mele 1996, Svavarsdóttir fact that we can, without irrationality, be 1999, Zangwill 1999). But even these phiindifferent to morality. Philippa Foot piolosophers concentrated mostly on arguing neered this argument (Foot 1972). The pheagainst internalism or defending moral renomenon of indifference encourages alism rather than articulating the externalist motivational externalism. alternative. As a consequence, it is not clear This paper will not revisit this difficulty how the externalism that can be gleaned for internalism, but will travel in the opfrom these writings can be defended posite dialectical direction. The aim is to against various objections to externalism. expound and defend externalism, not to This paper is concerned to fashion an atargue against internalism. This paper will tractive version of externalism, and show address, and try to soothe away, the reluchow it evades objections. tance of many philosophers to embrace In section 1, a particular version of motimotivational externalism.. (shrink)
What is the purpose of art? What drives us to make it? Why do we value it? Nick Zangwill argues that the function of art is to have certain aesthetic properties in virtue of its non-aesthetic properties, and this function arises because of the artist's insight into the nature of these dependence relations and her intention to bring them about.
Abstract: This article addresses a number of difficulties and complications in the standard formulations of motivational internalism, and considers what besires might be in the light of those difficulties and complications. Two notions of besire are then distinguished, before considering how different kinds of motivational internalism and different conceptions of besire fare against the significant argument that we may be indifferent to the demands of morality without irrationality.
I defend logical realism. I begin by motivating the realist approach by underlining the difficulties for its main rival: inferentialism. I then focus on AND and OR, and delineate a realist view of these two logical constants. The realist view is developed in terms of Alexander’s Principleshowing that AND and OR have distinctive determining roles. After that, I say what logic is not. We should not take logic to be essentially about the mind, or language, or exclusively about an abstract (...) realm, or about reasoning, truth, truth-tables, truth-functions, topic-neutrality or form. Lastly, I turn to consider NEGATION and argue that we cannot escape negative facts, and facts conjoining and disjoining negative facts with positive facts. I then give NEGATION a distinctive role, one that contrasts with AND and OR. I reflect on the notion of logic in the coda. (shrink)
I argue that Hanslick was right to think that music should not be understood in terms of emotion. In particular, it is not essential to music to possess emotions, arouse emotions, express emotions, or represent emotions. All such theories are misguided.
Beauty is an important part of our lives. Ugliness too. It is no surprise then that philosophers since antiquity have been interested in our experiences of and judgments about beauty and ugliness. They have tried to understand the nature of these experiences and judgments, and they have also wanted to know whether these experiences and judgments were legitimate. Both these projects took a sharpened form in the twentieth century, when this part of our lives came under a sustained attack in (...) both European and American intellectual circles. Much of the discourse about beauty since the Eighteenth century had deployed a notion of the ‘aesthetic’, and so that notion in particular came in for criticism. This disdain for the aesthetic may have roots in a broader cultural Puritanism, which fears the connection between the aesthetic and pleasure. Even to suggest, in the recent climate, that an artwork might be good because it is pleasurable, as opposed to cognitively, morally or politically beneficial, is to court derision. The twentieth century has not been kind to the notions of beauty or the aesthetic. Nevertheless, some thinkers — philosophers, as well as others in the study of particular arts — have persisted in thinking about beauty and the aesthetic in a traditional way. In the first part of this essay, I look at the particular rich account of judgments of beauty given to us by Immanuel Kant. The notion of a ‘judgment of taste’ is central to Kant's account and also to virtually everyone working in traditional aesthetics; so I begin by examining Kant's characterisation of the judgment of taste. In the second part, I look at the issues that twentieth century thinkers have raised. I end by drawing on Kant's accout of the judgement of taste to consider whether the notion of the aesthetic is viable. (shrink)
What is the relation between moral and natural properties? And how do we conceive of this relation? By ‘moral’ properties I will mean properties such as being evil, just or virtuous or having duties or rights; and by ‘natural’ properties I will mean properties such as psychological, sociological and physical properties.1 Suppose we judge that Queen Isabella of Spain was evil in 1492, or at least that many of her actions in 1492 were evil. Then we do not think that (...) she had various natural properties in 1492 such as being a torturer, a bigot and desiring other’s pain and by an astounding coincidence she or her actions also had the moral property of evil. Rather, we think that she or her.. (shrink)
I defend moderate formalism about the aesthetics of nature. I argue that anti-formalists cannot account for the incongruousness of much natural beauty. This shows that some natural beauty is not kind-dependent. I then tackle several anti-formalist arguments that can be found in the writings of Ronald Hepburn, Allen Carlson, and Malcolm Budd.
Aesthetic Formalism has fallen on hard times. At best it receives unsympathetic discussion and swift rejection. At worst it is the object of abuse and derision. But I think that there is something to be said for it. In this paper, I shall try to find and secure the truth in formalism. I shall not try to defend formalism against all of the objections to it.1 Instead I shall articulate a moderate formalist view that draws on aesthetic0nonaesthetic determination and Kant’s (...) distinction between free and dependent beauty. I shall examine four central art forms—painting, sculpture, lit-. (shrink)
I explore the Because Constraint—the idea that moral facts depend on natural facts and that moral judgements ought to respect the dependence of moral facts on natural facts. I consider several issues concerning its clarification and importance.
I probe the judgments of the agreeable that we make about food and drink. I ﬁrst separate different concerns that we might have with food and drink. After that, I address expressive language by ﬁrst sketching an evolutionary language-game-theoretic approach for referential language. I then try to extend it to expressive language, showing how expressive signaling might be likely to evolve. Given an account of expressive prediction, and its point, I turn to the Frege-Geach problem for the agreeable. I show (...) how a proper understanding of what expression is, in the evolutionary language-game-theoretic framework, allows us to side-step a central aspect the problem. (shrink)
We describe music in terms of emotion. How should we understand this? Some say that emotion descriptions should be understood literally. Let us call those views “literalist.” By contrast “nonliteralists” deny this and say that such descriptions are typically metaphorical.1 This issue about the linguistic description of music is connected with a central issue about the na- ture of music. That issue is whether there is any essential connection between music and emotion. According to what we can call “emotion theories,” (...) it is essential to music to be somehow related to real emotion. Prominent examples of such theories are these: it is the main function of all or most music to express emotions, to arouse emotions, or to represent emotions. 2 In my view, such theories have little plausibility, and they face a battery of powerful objections. In particular, these theories are objectionable on the grounds that essential features of emotion preclude such essential relations between music and emotion. 3 Yet to argue against various specific emotion theories of music, of which there is a large variety, does not address the reasons that draw people to emotion theories. I think that there are two main reasons. The first is that the most obvious explanation of why we describe music in emotion terms is that emotions, or relations to emotions, are part of what music is. The second reason is introspective, or phenomenological—that much music moves us when we listen to it, so it seems that music generates emotions in us, which we project onto the music when we describe it in emotion terms. In this article, my negative purpose is to dissolve these two reasons. My positive purpose is to argue for a particular nonliteralist view of linguistic descriptions of music in terms of emotion, a.. (shrink)
Most of the debate for and against aesthetic formalism in the twentieth century has been little more than a sequence of assertions, on both sides. But there is one discussion that stands out for its argumentative subtlety and depth, and that is Kendall Walton’s paper ‘Categories of Art’.1 In what follows I shall defend a certain version of formalism against the antiformalist arguments which Walton deploys. I want to show that while Walton’s arguments do indeed create insurmountable diﬃculties for an (...) extreme version of formalism, he has not shown that a moderate version is problematic or inadequate. (I have no space to address anti-formalist arguments other than Walton’s.2) I shall defend moderate formalism rather than put forward positive considerations in its favour, although some of its attractions will become apparent as a side-eﬀect. I pursue the positive case for moderate formalism elsewhere.3 I. FORMAL PROPERTIES AND FORMALISMS I.1. Walton begins his paper by raising an issue about whether those who make aesthetic judgements should only be concerned with what can be directly perceived in works of art. The issue of formalism has often been described in these terms. But Walton rightly distances himself from setting up a debate in that way. He moves on to take as his target the view that ‘Circumstances connected with a work’s origin ... have no essential bearing on an assessment of its aesthetic nature’ (p. 334). (shrink)
Many recent aestheticians have criticized the notion of disinterest. The aestheticians in question take the notion to have a vaguely Kantian pedigree. And in attacking this notion, they think of themselves as attempting to remove a cornerstone of Kant’s aesthetics. This procedure is hardly likely to be effective if what they attack bears little resemblance to Kant’s original notion. In this brief note, I want to show how far these anti-Kantian aestheticians have missed their mark.
Metaphysics-—the enquiry into the constitution of reality-seems like the very crown of philosophy. What could be more exciting, more important, and more substantive than the pursuit of such a discipline? The majority of philosophers have been content to assume that metaphysics is a viable enterprise; they have held various metaphysical views and engaged in metaphysical arguments. But there has always been a small but persistent maverick minority of philosophers who have cast aspersions on the whole undertaking. Metaphysics, they tell us, (...) cannot be what it seems. There is something desperately wrong at the heart of the discipline. The jewel is a fake; it is in fact worthless glass. Philosophers make a lot of noise about metaphysics, but perhaps there are really no genuine metaphysical issues—only a lot of bogus hot air. Perhaps metaphysics is a meaningless tale told by idiot philosophers—full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. These pessimistic philosophers may have been few, but they rank among their numbers no less than Wittgenstein, the positivists, and perhaps Kant. So the attitude is to be taken seriously. (shrink)
Music is elusive. describing it is problematic. In particular its aesthetic properties cannot be captured in literal description. Beyond very simple terms, they cannot be literally described. In this sense, the aesthetic description of music is essentially nonliteral. An adequate aesthetic description of music must have resort to metaphor or other nonliteral devices. I maintain that this is because of the nature of the aesthetic properties being described. I defend this view against an apparently simple objection put by Malcolm Budd. (...) dealing with this objection will take us into some surprising terrain. We are led to consider issues concerning privacy and the language for describing sensations. In the light of these considerations, I develop the essentially nonliteralist thesis and explore some of its consequences. (shrink)
In this paper epistemic pluralism concerning knowledge is taken to be the claim that very different facts may constitute knowledge. The paper argues for pluralism by arguing that very different facts can constitute the knowledge‐making links between beliefs and facts. If pluralism is right, we need not anxiously seek a unified account of the links between beliefs and facts that partly constitute knowledge in different cases of knowledge. The paper argues that no good reasons have been put forward in favour (...) of believing in a unified maker of knowledge. It then appeals to the role of knowledge in order to argue that we have positive reason to embrace pluralism. (shrink)
I foreground the principle of epistemic dependence. I isolate that relation and distinguish it from other relations and note what it does and does not entail. In particular, I distinguish between dependence and necessitation. This has many interesting consequences. On the negative side, many standard arguments in epistemology are subverted. More positively, once we are liberated from the necessary and sufficient conditions project, many fruitful paths for future epistemological investigation open up. I argue that that not being defeated does not (...) make for knowledge. And I argue for the multiple realization of epistemic properties in non-epistemic properties. (shrink)
In sum, the non-cognitivist account of motivation is far from unproblematic. The non-cognitivist has trouble telling us what moral attitudes are in a way that is consistent with the phenomenon of variable motivation. Given that the cognitivist has an easy explanation of variable motivation, it seems that cognitivism is preferable to non-cognitivism on the score of motivation, which is a reversal of the way the issue is usually perceived.
I defend extreme formalism about the aesthetics of inorganic nature. I outline the general issue over aesthetic formalism as it manifests itself in the visual arts. The main issue is over whether we need to know about the history of artworks in order to appreciate them aesthetically. I then turn to nature and concede that with organic nature we need to know a thing's biological kinds if we are fully to appreciate it. However, with in organic nature I deny that (...) we need to know the deeper nature of the things we experience. What is important, I argue, are the appearances of those things not their real natures. I consider the beauty of clouds, which depends on an illusion of solidity, and I argue that scientific knowledge does not reveal beauty that is not available to the ignoramous. There is only the beauty of appearances, and it does not matter whether those appearances are accurate or illusory. (shrink)
That knowledge does not depend on truth is a consequence of a basic principle concerning dependence applied to the case of knowledge: that A depends on C, and that B depends on C, do not mean that A depends on B. This is a standard causal scenario, where two things with a common cause are not themselves causally dependent. Similarly, knowledge that p depends in part on some combination of the belief that p, the fact that p and the proposition (...) that p, and perhaps other facts or even objects. Truth depends on a proper sub-class of the elements on which knowledge depends. It does not follow that knowledge depends on truth, and the idea that it does is implausible. (shrink)
Response-dependent theories of morality are currently popular. I suspect that this is because they combine ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ elements in an appealing way. Such theories seem to do justice to the idea that morality is out there to be known, at the same time as connecting moral judgements with our affective and motivational states. However, I shall argue that all response-dependent theories of morality are irretrievably ﬂawed.
I argue against the analytic moral functionalist view propounded by Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit. I focus on the ‘input’ clauses of our alleged ‘folk moral theory’. I argue that the examples they give of such input clauses cannot plausibly be interpreted as analytic truths. They are in fact substantive moral claims about the moral ‘domain’. It is a substantive claim that all human beings have equal moral standing. There are those who have rejected this, such as Herman Göring. He (...) was loyal to a sub-class of humankind, but he suffered no conceptual confusion. Claims about what is morally relevant are substantive claims that cannot be known on purely conceptual grounds. (shrink)