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- Barker, John, 2009, “Mathematical Beauty”, Sztuka
i Filozofia, 35: 65–74.
A powerful defence of the claim that mathematical and logical proofs
have aesthetic properties. (Scholar)
- Beardsley, Monroe C., 1958, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.
An extraordinary work, impressive in scope, deploying the notion of the aesthetic. The target of Dickie’s critique. (Scholar)
- –––, 1982, The Aesthetic Point of View: Selected Essays, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
A selection of Beardsley’s essays. (Scholar)
- Blackburn, Simon, 1998, Ruling Passions: A Theory of Practical Reasoning, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
A defense of expressivism, a modern version of Hume’s sentimentalism. (Scholar)
- Budd, Malcolm, 2001, “The Pure Judgement of Taste as an Aesthetic Reflective Judgement”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 41(3): 247–260. doi:10.1093/bjaesthetics/41.3.247
Refreshingly less deferential than many writings on Kant. (Scholar)
- Burke, Edmund, 1757 , A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, London: R. and J. Dodsley. Reprinted Harmonsworth: Penguin, 1998.
A classic, although it is sometimes eccentric. (Scholar)
- Burton, Stephan L., 1992, “‘Thick’ Concepts Revised”, Analysis, 52(1): 28–32. doi:10.1093/analys/52.1.28
An insightful account of substantive aesthetic descriptions, and also of so-called “thick moral concepts”. (Scholar)
- Cohen, Ted, 1973, “ Aesthetic/Non-Aesthetic and the Concept of Taste: A Critique of Sibley’s Position”, Theoria, 39(1–3): 113–152. doi:10.1111/j.1755-2567.1973.tb00633.x
Argues that Sibley’s account of what makes concepts aesthetic will not do. (Scholar)
- Cova, Florian and Nicholas Pain, 2012, “Can Folk Aesthetics Ground Aesthetic Realism?”, Monist, 95(2): 241–263. doi:10.5840/monist201295214
Argues that folk aesthetic is not normativist. (Scholar)
- Dickie, George, 1965, “Beardsley’s Phantom Aesthetic Experience”, Journal of Philosophy, 62(5): 129–136. doi:10.2307/2023490
Argues that Beardsley’s account of aesthetic experience will not do. (Scholar)
- Davidson, Donald, 1970 , “Mental Events”, in
Experience and Theory, Lawrence Foster and J. W. Swanson
(eds), Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press and Duckworth.
Reprinted in Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1980, ch. 11. doi:10.1093/0199246270.003.0011
A classic paper in the philosophy of mind arguing for a version of
materialism without strict laws relating the mental and the
- Fine, Kit, 1994, “Essence and Modality: The Second
Philosophical Perspectives Lecture”, Philosophical
Perspectives, 8: 1–16. doi:10.2307/2214160
Distinguishes essence from modality; of general philosophical
- Gombrich, Ernst H., 1959, Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation, London: Phaiden.
Argues for anti-formalism by appeal to indiscernibles. (Scholar)
- Gorodeisky, Keren and Eric Marcus, 2018, “Aesthetic Rationality”, The Journal of Philosophy, 115(3): 113–140. (Scholar)
- –––, 2022, “Aesthetic Knowledge”, Philosophical Studies, 179: 2507–2535. (Scholar)
- Hanslick, Eduard, 1986, On the Musically Beautiful, transl. Geoffrey Payzant, Indianapolis: Hackett.
Classic work of musical aesthetics, first published in 1854. Written with panache and wit. (Scholar)
- Hanslick, Eduard, 1950, Hanslick’s Music Criticism,
translated and edited by Henry Pleasants, London: Dover.
Critical reviews of Bach and Wagner and others. You almost feel sorry
for Wagner reading some of these. (Scholar)
- Hughes, Brian, 2016, Rethinking Psychology: Good Science, Bad
Science, Pseudo-Science, London: Macmillan.
Thorough critique of much questionnaire psychology, posing fundamental
challenges for so-called “experimental
- Hume, David, 1757 , “Of the Standard of Taste”, page reference is to reprint in Essays: Moral, Political and Literary, Eugene Miller (ed.), Indianapolis, IN: Liberty, 1985.
Hume’s classic attempt to reconcile sentimentalism with normativity. (Scholar)
- Kant, Immanuel, 1790 , Critique of the Power of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft), page reference to the 2000 translation by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Includes the idea that judgments of beauty and ugliness are subjectively universal, and much else. (Scholar)
- Kivy, Peter, 1975, “What Makes ‘Aesthetic’ Terms
Aesthetic?”, Philosophy and Phenomenological
Research, 36(2): 197–211.
Argues that Sibley’s unitary notion of the aesthetic has no
basis. Kivy also makes a positive suggestion. (Scholar)
- –––, 1991, “Science and Aesthetic Appreciation”, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 16(1): 180–195. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4975.1991.tb00238.x
Sympathetic to mathematical beauty. (Scholar)
- Korsgaard, Christine M., 1996, The Sources of Normativity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511554476
Defends a Kantian view of agency and includes a powerful critique of sentimentalist accounts. (Scholar)
- –––, 2009, Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity, Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552795.001.0001
Deploys the idea that we aim at a kind of unity in our actions. (Scholar)
- Levinson, Jerrold, 2001, “Aesthetic Properties, Evaluative Force, and Differences of Sensibility”, in Aesthetic Concepts: Essays After Sibley, Emily Brady and Jerrold Levinson (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 61–80. Reprinted in Jerrold Levinson, Contemplating Art: Essays in Aesthetics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015: 315–335. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206179.003.0020
Argues for some neutral substantive aesthetic properties. (Scholar)
- –––, 2012, “Musical Beauty”, Teorema, 31(3): 127–135. Reprinted in Jerrold Levinson, Musical Concerns: Essays in Philosophy of Music, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015: 58–66. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669660.003.0006
A nuanced examination of one notion of beauty. (Scholar)
- Lord, Errol, 2019, “The Nature of Perceptual Expertise and the Rationality of Criticism”, Ergo, 6(29). doi:10.3998/ergo.12405314.0006.029 (Scholar)
- McClary, Susan, 1991: Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
A classic of so-called ‘New Musicology’. (Scholar)
- Mitrović, Branko, 2013, Visuality for Architects:
Architectural Creativity and Modern Theories of Perception and
Imagination, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.
Puts the visual dimension back into architecture. (Scholar)
- –––, 2018, “Visuality and Aesthetic Formalism”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 58(2): 147–163. doi:10.1093/aesthj/ayy001
Explores and defends the psychological basis of visual formalism. (Scholar)
- Mothersill, Mary, 1984, Beauty Restored, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
An exploration of the notion of beauty, with some historical coverage. (Scholar)
- Nguyen, C Thi, 2020, “Autonomy and Aesthetic Engagement”, Mind, 129(516): 1127–1156. (Scholar)
- Nietzsche, Friedrich, 1887 , On the Genealogy of Morals (Zur Genealogie der Moral: Eine Streitschrift), Maudemarie Clarke and Alan J. Swensen (trans.), Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1998.
Book 3, sections 1–6. An interesting, and not at all uncareful, critique of Kant’s aesthetics. In this passage he is not concerned with Schopenhauer. (Scholar)
- Scruton, Roger, 1974, Art and Imagination: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind, London: Methuen.
A wide-ranging book, in which the role of imagination is highlighted. (Scholar)
- –––, 1979, The Aesthetics of Architecture, London: Methuen.
A superb discussion of architecture, but also contains much material relevant to more central topics in aesthetics. (Scholar)
- Schellekens, Elisabeth 2007 , “Conceptual Art”,
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 edition),
Edward N. Zalta (ed.). URL =
A sympathetic interpretation of some of the claims of conceptual
artists about their work. (Scholar)
- Sibley, Frank, 1959, “Aesthetic Concepts”,
Philosophical Review, 68(4): 421–450; reprinted in
Sibley 2001: 1–23. 10.2307/2182490 &
Sibley’s classic paper, which makes the notion of the aesthetic
central. The target of Cohen and Kivy’s critiques. (Scholar)
- –––, 1965, “Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic”, Philosophical Review, 74(2): 135–159; reprinted in Sibley 2001: 33–51. doi:10.2307/2183262 & doi:10.1093/0198238991.003.0003
Explores the dependence of aesthetic features on nonaesthetic features. This paper was originally the second part of Sibley’s paper “Aesthetic Concepts”. (Scholar)
- –––, 2001, Approach to Aesthetics, John Benson, Betty Redfern, and Jeremy Roxbee Cox (eds.), Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/0198238991.001.0001 (Scholar)
- Taruskin, Richard, 1989 , “Resisting the Ninth”,
Nineteenth-Century Music, 12(3): 241–256; reprinted in
his Text and Act: Essays on Music and Performance, Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1995: 235–261. doi:10.2307/746505
Agrees with Wagner about the sublime and the beautiful in
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. (Scholar)
- –––, 2019, “Essence or
Context”, in Essence and Context, Rima Povilioniene,
Rūta Stanevičiūtė, and Nick Zangwill (eds.), New
York: Springer-Palgrave-Macmillan. Reprinted in Richard Taruskin,
Cursed Questions: On Music and Its Social Practices, University of
California Press, 2020.
Argues against a Hanslickean view and argues for a Wagnerian
conception of the sublime in Beethoven. (Scholar)
- Wagner, Richard 1870 , Beethoven, translated by Roger Allen, Boydell Press. Originally published Leipzig: Verlag von E. W. Fritzsche.
Makes claims about the sublime in Beethoven. (Scholar)
- Walton, Kendall, 1970, “Categories of Art”, Philosophical Review, 79: 334–367.
Influential series of anti-formalist arguments. (Scholar)
- Williams, Jessica J., 2021, “Kant on Aesthetic Attention”, British Journal of Aesthetics 61. No. 4, pp. 421–435.
A vigorous recent investigation of Kant’s views. (Scholar)
- Zangwill, Nick, 1995 , “The Beautiful, the Dainty and
the Dumpy”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 35(4):
317–329; reprinted slightly modified in Zangwill 2001:
Includes a statement and defense of the centrality of beauty and
ugliness among other aesthetic concepts. (Scholar)
- –––, 1999 , “Feasible Aesthetic
Formalism”, Noûs, 33(4): 610–629; reprinted
in Zangwill 2001: 55–81. doi:10.1111/0029-4624.00196
Argues for a “moderate” formalist view that allows that
things can be “dependently beautiful”, in Kant’s
- –––, 2001, The Metaphysics of Beauty, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. (Scholar)
- –––, 2013, “Nietzsche on Kant on Beauty and Disinterest”, History of Philosophy Quarterly, 30(1): 75–91. [Zangwill 2013 available online]
Sympathetically interprets and defends Nietzsche’s criticism of Kant on disinterest. (Scholar)
- –––, 2019, “Folk Aesthetics and
Normativity: A Critique of Experimental Aesthetics”, in
Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics, Florian
Cova and Sébastien Réhault (eds), London: Bloomsbury.
Criticizes ‘experimental philosophy’, in general, and in
particular the experimental denial that ordinary aesthetic judgments
claim correctness. (Scholar)
- Zemach, Eddy, 1995, Real Beauty, University Park: Penn State Press.
Argues for an extreme realist view. (Scholar)
- Zuckert, Rachel, 2007, Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the Critique of Judgment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511487323
An insightful scholarly and philosophical investigation. (Scholar)