Aesthetics and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection by Jerrold Levinson

By Jerrold Levinson

This significant selection of essays stands on the border of aesthetics and ethics and bargains with charged problems with useful import: artwork and morality, the ethics of flavor, and censorship. As such its power curiosity is not at all restricted to expert philosophers; it's going to additionally entice artwork historians and critics, literary theorists, and scholars of movie. well-known philosophers in either aesthetics and ethics take on a big selection of concerns. many of the questions explored within the quantity comprise: Can paintings be morally enlightening and, if this is the case, how? If a piece of artwork is morally greater does that make it greater as paintings? Is morally poor paintings to be kept away from, or perhaps censored? Do matters of artistic endeavors have rights as to how they're represented? Do artists have tasks as artists and tasks as humans, and if this is the case, to whom? How a lot pressure is there among the calls for of paintings and the calls for of lifestyles?

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9 The connection of the normal scale with important aspects of intellectual and moral competence helps to explain the risk of insulting someone by challenging his ascriptions of major aesthetic value. It is different when one merely expresses a strong distaste for something someone likes — brandy alexanders or sushi, for example — even if he likes it a whole lot. In making these connections with intelligence and morality, I do not mean to suggest that aesthetic responses are valuable (much less aesthetically valuable) only to the extent to which they facilitate moral or intellectual interests.

Is that force neutralized or reversed, or does it continue dangerously 22 Introduction: aesthetics and ethics unabated? And if the latter, can the use of such words and images be condoned after all? Tirrell frames the issue as a debate between Absolutists and Reclaimers, with Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin as prominent representatives of the former position. Absolutists hold that material of a derogatory or degrading nature should, due to its inherently harmful or hurtful nature, be entirely banned, employed in no context whatsoever.

In more or less obvious ways, these varieties of aesthetic appreciation correspond to the terms of serious critical appraisal. One can rank these responses in value (leaving much appropriate indeterminacy in the ranking), by asking what specific kinds of aesthetic appreciation an intelligent, morally serious person with relevant background knowledge — that is, someone meeting Hume's prescriptions for critical competence — would care about more if special limits to leisure and energy were no problem and if she did care about aesthetic value.

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