In this paper we defend a direct reference theory of names. We maintain that the meaning of a name is its bearer. In the case of vacuous names, there is no bearer and they have no meaning. We develop a unified theory of names such that one theory applies to names whether they occur within or outside fiction. Hence, we apply our theory to sentences containing names within fiction, sentences about fiction or sentences making comparisons across fictions. We then defend (...) our theory against objections and compare our view to the views of Currie, Walton, and others. (shrink)
In many artworks, both aesthetic and ethical values are present, and both can contribute to the overall artistic value of a work. The question explored in this paper is: does the presence of one kind of value affect the degree of the other? For example, does a work that expresses a morally reprehensible attitude diminish the aesthetic value of a work? Let ‘interaction’ name the view that the presence of one kind of value affects the degree of the other. We (...) will argue in favour of the existence of interaction. However, we will argue further that such interaction is a contingent feature of artworks and that the most common argument that has been offered for interaction—the affective -response -argument—fails to identify the main reason why it holds, when it in fact does. (shrink)
_Interpretation and Construction_ examines the interpretation and products of intentional human behavior, focusing primarily on issues in art, law, and everyday speech. Focuses on artistic interpretation, but also includes extended discussion of interpretation of the law and everyday speech and communication. Written by one of the leading theorists of interpretation. Theoretical discussions are consistently centered around examples for ease of comprehension.
What possesses aesthetic value? According to a broad view, it can be found almost anywhere. According to a narrower view, it is found primarily in art and is applied to other items by courtesy of sharing some of the properties that make artworks aesthetically valuable. In this paper I will defend the broad view in answering the question: how should we characterize aesthetic value and other aesthetic concepts? I will also criticize some alternative answers.
The paradox of fiction presents an inconsistent triad of propositions, all of which are purported to be plausible or difficult to abandon. Here is an instance of the paradox: (1) Sally pities Anna (where Anna is the character Anna Karenina). (2) To pity someone, one must believe that they exist and are suffering. (3) Sally does not believe that Anna exists. Here is the problem. The paradox was formulated during the heyday of the cognitive theory of the emotions when there (...) was a lot of theoretical commitment to (2) or a variant of it. But now virtually no one accepts (2). To solve the paradox, we just have to find a way to reject one of the inconsistent statements. It appears easy to reject (2). So why do even some of those who do reject (2) not leave matters there? I argue that there is still good reason to consider other solutions to the paradox. It is only by doing so that we fully understand the affective states with which we respond to fiction, in particular, the distinctive functional role that they have in this context. (shrink)
In this paper, I ask: what is the role of function in appreciating artifacts? I will argue that several distinguishable functions are relevant to the aesthetic appreciation of artifacts, and sometimes more than one of these must be taken into account to adequately appreciate these objects. Second, I will claim that, while we can identify something we might call functional aesthetic value or functional beauty, the aesthetic properties that contribute to this value neither need to enhance the object’s performance of (...) its primary function nor manifest that function. There are broader criteria for what properties are relevant to functional beauty. Finally, I suggest that the aesthetic appreciation of artifacts may contribute to a larger appreciative project: the understanding and evaluation of a way of life, or social or cultural practices in which the artifact plays a role. (shrink)
Can a moral defect be an artistic virtue? Can it make a positive contribution to artistic value? Further, if this can happen on occasion, does this imply that moral value has no systematic connection to artistic value since every conceivable relation between them is possible? The idea that moral defects can sometimes be artistic virtues has received a fair number of defenders recently and so has the anti-theoretical view that there is no systematic relation between artistic and moral value. But (...) I think immoralism—as the first of these views is called—is mistaken and I will try to show that no good reason has been offered to believe it. If immoralism is wrong, the anti-theoretical view at best devolves into moderate moralism—the idea that moral defects sometimes, but not always, are responsible for artistic defects. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art is an essential introduction to some of the central topics and approaches being debated in contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of art. By taking a stand on each of the issues addressed and arguing for certain resolutions and against others, the text does not simply present a controversy in its current state of play, but instead helps to advance it toward a solution.
In environmental aesthetics a variety of proposals have been advanced about relevant norms that constrain appropriate aesthetic appreciation of nature. Some of these proposals are about cognitive or epistemic norms in that the authors claim that nature ought to be cognized in certain ways or that we ought to form certain beliefs about nature rather than others, and that when we do so, it will significantly constrain our aesthetic appreciation of nature. Another proposal is that moral norms rule out certain (...) forms of aesthetic appreciation of natural objects and promote others. If these proposals are correct, then different kinds of value interact in the realm of environmental aesthetics. Evaluation of these proposals inevitably involves two parts. One first has to ask whether the purported norms exist. If they do, one has to assess their bearing on evaluative aesthetic judgments. Although there are weak epistemic norms of nature appreciation, they lack important implications sometimes associated with them. The situation is even less promising for moral norms: no one has successfully identified a moral norm that constrains aesthetic appreciation of nature. (shrink)
In a recent essay, Jerrold Levinson defends his version of hypothetical intentionalism, which is a theory of literary interpretation, from two criticisms. The first, argued by Stephen Davies, is that it is equivalent to the value-maximizing view. The second, argued by Robert Stecker, is that there are straightforward counterexamples to HI. We will argue that Levinson does not successfully fend off either criticism, and further, that in the process of attempting to do so, creates another dilemma for his view.
In his absorbing book Art as Performance, David Davies argues that artworks should be identified, not with artistic products such as paintings or novels, but instead with the artistic actions or processes that produced such items. Such a view had an earlier incarnation in Currie’s widely criticized “action type hypothesis”, but Davies argues that it is instead action tokens rather than types with which artworks should be identified. This rich and complex work repays the closest study in spite of some (...) basic objections to be raised concerning Davies’s central concept of an action token. (shrink)
Introduces a more sophisticated functional definition of art Deals with some of the problems Beardsley had Old & New Aestheticism Aesthetic Communication notes on the Artworld Artistic value End of art?
It is not uncommon these days to claim that we should distinguish between artistic value and other types of value, including aesthetic value. A problem for this proposal is posed by the fact that artworks have valuable properties that are no part of its artistic value. Unless there is a way to distinguish artistically valuable properties from other valuable properties, some will be unconvinced that the distinction is viable.1 For this reason, I have proposed a test for artistic value to (...) underwrite support for the distinction.2 The main idea of the test is that we gain access to artistic values of artworks by means of understanding or appreciating those works, and this is not necessary to identify a work’s non-artistic values. Julian Dodd has argued the test is flawed and his criticism is based on a phenomenon I will call value entanglement.3 In this paper, I will identify the interesting phenomena of value entanglement, argue that it does not threaten the current version of the test I endorse, and explore whether there are other problems for that test. (shrink)
With this challenging work, Joseph Margolis continues the project begun in _The Flux of History and the Flux of Science_. Tackling one of philosophy's master themes, he develops the controversial thesis that the world is a flux. Here he applies this doctrine to Western theories of history and the interpretation of cultural phenomena—offering the first sustained analysis of the logic, methodology, and metaphysics of interpretation committed to a thoroughgoing relativism and the historicized structure of cultural phenomena. Versed in Anglo-American and (...) Continental philosophy, Margolis draws on the best views of Western philosophy to investigate a topic regularly ignored in that tradition. The result is the surprising synthesis of two historically antipathetic approaches to philosophy. (shrink)
In this paper, I state Thomas Reid’s views about the moral sense and his criticism of the moral-sense theories of Francis Hutcheson and David Hume. I argue that Reid’s views about the moral sense has a distinct advantage over Hutcheson’s while they offer a viable alternative to Hume’s.
There is no full-fledged definition of art in plato's writings. If one looks for the beginnings of a theory of art in plato, i argue that one can find hints of an expression theory as easily as one can find hints of a mimetic theory. If we are to fully understand what plato thought about art, we must attend to the first sort of hints atleast as carefully as to the second. This is especially needed to understand plato's criteria of (...) good and bad art. (shrink)
This paper focuses on the most widely accepted candidate for the essential aspect of artistic value: aesthetic value. The idea that aesthetic value pervades artworks that are valuable at all, was put into doubt by a number of artistic movements that arose in the twentieth century such a Dada and its descendants including conceptual art. Recently, a number of philosophers have tried to resurrect aesthetic essentialism, as I will call the idea that aesthetic value is at the core of artistic (...) value. The purpose of this paper is to argue that this project hasn’t and won’t succeed. (shrink)