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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . Kantian and contextual beauty
1999, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1):11-15.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Two conflicting but strongly entrenched intu itions about beauty hold sway in the hearts and minds of many. On the one hand, many people believe that attributions of beauty to objects or events are unmediated-that all that matters is one’s direct, personal response. If something is beautiful, one just sees it; cognitive or ethical concerns matter little. On the other hand, many people are drawn to the view that the beautiful is not independent of other human values and atti tudes-that our attributions of beauty are related to beliefs or moral judgments. At the end of the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant represented the former view with such cleverness that his ar guments continue to disturb even those who re main unconvinced by them. At the end of the nineteenth century, partly as a result of the influ ence of Kant’s theory of beauty, Leo Tolstoy felt forced to downplay the importance of beauty’s role in explaining the value of art-a trend that continued for several decades. At the end of the twentieth century, increasing numbers of aes thetic theorists and practitioners are persuaded that beauty does matter in art, and although many, including me, believe that beauty is a con textual property deeply connected to factual be liefs and moral attitudes, the tug of Kant’s arguments remains strong.

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Ginsborg, Hannah, , . Aesthetic Judgment and Perceptual Normativity
2006, Inquiry 49(5): 403-437.
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Added by: Ben McGorrigan, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: I draw a connection between the question, raised by Hume and Kant, of how aesthetic judgments can claim universal agreement, and the question, raised in recent discussions of nonconceptual content, of how concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. Developing an idea suggested by Kant’s linkage of aesthetic judgment with the capacity for empirical conceptualization, I propose that both questions can be resolved by appealing to the idea of “perceptual normativity”. Perceptual experience, on this proposal, involves the awareness of its own appropriateness with respect to the object perceived, where this appropriateness is more primitive than truth or veridicality. This means that a subject can take herself to be perceiving an object as she (and anyone else) ought to perceive it, without first recognizing the object as falling under a corresponding concept. I motivate the proposal through a criticism of Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition, which, I argue, rests on a confusion between the notion of a way something is perceived, and that of a way it is perceived as being. Whereas Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition depends on an illicit slide between these two notions, the notion of perceptual normativity allows a legitimate transition between them: if someone’s perceiving something a certain way involves her taking it that she ought to perceive it that way, then she perceives the thing as being a certain way, so that the corresponding concept is available to her in perceptual experience.

Comment: This paper will mainly be of relevance in relation to the antinomy or paradox of taste, a problem famously examined by Hume and Kant. It may also be of use in relation to topics in the Philosophy of Perception or Epistemology, or in teaching on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Ginsbourg presents a very thorough discussion of the notion that perceptions make concepts available by involving implicit claims to their own appropriateness; she uses this idea to make an interesting and plausible contribution to the debate regarding the antinomy of taste.

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Korsmeyer, Carolyn, , . Taste as Sense and as Sensibility
1997, Philosophical Topics 25 (1):201-230.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Philosophers occasionally take note of the degree to which their theories make use of metaphoric language. Plato may have been the first to call attention to the heuristic use of sensory images to illuminate the world of abstractions, but twentieth-century thinkers have been particulalry reflective on the subject. Metaphors, remarks Iris Murdoch, are “fundamental forms of our awareness of our condition: metaphors of space, metaphors of movement, metaphors of vision.” Philosophical systems, she believes, can often be understood as explorations of centrally important images. Indeed, it seems to her “impossible to discuss certain kinds of concepts without resort to metaphor, since the concepts are themselves deeply metaphorical, and cannot be analyzed into non-metaphorical components without a loss of substance.” Mark Johnson agrees and obeserves that recent discoveries in cognitive science provide empirical evidence for claims about metaphor that previously were largely intuitive, namely, that “metaphor is not merely a linguistic phenomenon, but more fundamentallly, a conceptual and experiential process that structures our world.

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Lord, Catherine, , . Aesthetic unity
1961, Journal of Philosophy 58 (12):321-327.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: FEW hold “A poem should not mean, but be” as dogma any longer, but most aestheticians agree that a work of art cannot be exhaustively paraphrased. Few dispute that the aesthetic ex- perience is, in some sense, disinterested, but the terms of that disinterestedness are still debated. I suggest that the work of art and the aesthetic experience are congruent and that an analysis of this congruence reveals both the nature of the import of art and the character of the aesthetic experience. I found my analysis on a faculty framework because I am convinced that neither the aesthetic experience nor the import of art can be illuminated without a fairly rigorous epistemology in which the roles of the imagination and the understanding are clearly defined. My framework is avowedly Kantian, for I think that the very incommensurability of the imagination and the un- derstanding, as emphasized by Kant, does more justice to the phenomenology of the aesthetic experience than an analysis of the cognitive faculties that stresses a difference in degree rather than kind.

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Weiser, Peg Brand (formerly Peg Zeglin Brand), , . Disinterestedness and political art
1998, In Carolyn Korsmeyer (ed.), Aesthetics: The Big Questions. Blackwell.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Can an ordinary viewer ever experience art – particularly politically charged, socially relevant art – in a neutral, detached, and objective way? The familiar philosophical notion of disinterestedness has its roots in eighteenth century theories of taste and was refined throughout the twentieth century. In contrast, many contemporary theorists have argued for what I call an ‘interested approach’ in order to expand beyond the traditional emphasis on neutrality and universality. Each group, in effect, has argued for the value of a work of art by excluding the other’s approach. This essay will consider the legacy of the concept of disinterestedness for contemporary aesthetic theory in light of challenges posed by postmodern skepticism regarding the possibility of disinterestedness, and by the difficulties involved in appreciating political art with a disinterested attitude. My principal examples of political art will be drawn from feminist art. Unlike traditional philosophers, I will advocate that an interested stance toward art is, at times, inevitable and appropriate. I will so argue that not only feminist art- and by extension political art of all kinds – can be experienced disinterestedly, but that it should be. As a position inconsistent with both traditionalists and feminist critics of tradition, my recommendation of both disinterestedness and interestedness affords what I take to be the fullest and fairest experience of a work of art.

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Zuckert, Rachel, , . Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the ‘Critique of Judgment’
2007, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Jonas Jervell Indregard

Publisher’s Note: Kant’s Critique of Judgment has often been interpreted by scholars as comprising separate treatments of three uneasily connected topics: beauty, biology, and empirical knowledge. Rachel Zuckert’s book interprets the Critique as a unified argument concerning all three domains. She argues that on Kant’s view, human beings demonstrate a distinctive cognitive ability in appreciating beauty and understanding organic life: an ability to anticipate a whole that we do not completely understand according to preconceived categories. This ability is necessary, moreover, for human beings to gain knowledge of nature in its empirical character as it is, not as we might assume it to be. Her wide-ranging and original study will be valuable for readers in all areas of Kant’s philosophy.

Comment: Perfect for a course on Kant’s Third Critique. Covers both of the main parts of that work, namely the critique of aesthetic judgment and the critique of teleological judgment.

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