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Essays in Philosophy

Volume 17, Issue 1, February 2016
The Beautiful and the Good

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Displaying: 1-14 of 14 documents

editor’s introduction
1. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Robert Fudge The Beautiful and the Good: Introduction
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2. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
John McAteer How to Be a Moral Taste Theorist
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In this paper, I attempt to recover an 18th Century approach to moral theory that can be called Moral Taste Theory. Through an exploration of 18th Century sources I define the characteristics of moral taste theory and to distinguish it from its closest rival, moral sense theory. In general a moral taste theorist holds that moral judgments are analogous to aesthetic judgments while a moral sense theorist holds that moral judgments are analogous to physical sense perception. Francis Hutcheson was a paradigmatic moral sense theorist, but I argue that David Hume is best understood as a moral taste theorist. If we do not understand the concept of moral taste, we cannot understand 18th Century moral philosophy, and, more importantly, we will miss out on an important source of inspiration for 21st Century moral philosophy.
3. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Bálint Gárdos History and Moral Exempla in Enlightenment Aesthetics
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This essay proposes a new focus for studies in the relationship between aesthetics and morality in the Enlightenment period. Recent research, especially by Paul Guyer, seems to have established that the traditional question of whether a genealogy for autonomous aesthetics can be traced attending to the concept of disinterestedness in the era can be answered with an unambiguous no. This, however, should only encourage further research into the nature of the way in which the connection between the beautiful and the good was understood. It is argued here that with the gradual erosion of the humanist rhetorical understanding of history from the seventeenth century the specific content of the link between aesthetics and ethics undergoes a fundamental change, making it significantly more abstract and far less specific.
4. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Eva M. Dadlez A Humean Approach to the Problem of Disgust and Aesthetic Appreciation
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Carolyn Korsmeyer has offered some compelling arguments for the role of disgust in aesthetic appreciation. In the course of this project, she considers and holds up for justifiable criticism the account of emotional conversion proposed by David Hume in “Of Tragedy” (Korsmeyer 2001, p. 161). I will consider variant interpretations of Humean conversion and pinpoint a proposal that may afford an explanation of the ways in which aesthetic absorption can depend on and be intensified by the emotion of disgust.
5. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Filippo Contesi The Meanings of Disgusting Art
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It has been recently argued, contrary to the received eighteenth-century view, that disgust is compatible with aesthetic pleasure. According to such arguments, what allows this compatibility is the interest that art appreciators sometimes bestow on the cognitive content of disgust. On this view, the most interesting aspect of this cognitive content is identified in meanings connected with human mortality. The aim of this paper is to show that these arguments are unsuccessful.
6. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Mary Beth Willard Vandals or Visionaries?: The Ethical Criticism of Street Art
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To the person unfamiliar with the wide variety of street art, the term “street artist” conjures a young man furtively sneaking around a decaying city block at night, spray paint in hand, defacing concrete structures, ears pricked for police sirens. The possibility of the ethical criticism of street art on such a conception seems hardly worth the time. This has to be an easy question. Street art is vandalism; vandalism is causing the intentional damage or destruction of someone else’s property; causing destruction or damage is wrong. The only remaining question is which of two coarse-grained models of ethical criticism we choose. The ethicist model holds that a work of art that exhibits ethically bad properties is a work that is thereby aesthetically flawed. That is, the work is flawed as a work of art just because of its ethical flaws. Bad ethics make art worse than it otherwise would have been, although it may be aesthetically successful otherwise. The autonomist model, by contrast, holds that the ethical properties of a work of art have no bearing at all on its aesthetic success. One might suppose, therefore, that on either model, a criticism of street art would be relatively easy to undertake. In defacing public property, some street art exhibits and endorses ethically bad attitudes. On the ethicist model, such a work is thereby pro tanto aesthetically flawed because in the process of creating such works, they violate ethical norms concerning the use of public spaces; on the autonomous model, any ethical criticism of the aesthetics of street art would need to be set aside entirely in favor of criticism that focused purely on the aesthetic properties of street art. I will argue in this paper that neither the ethicist nor the autonomist model adequately captures the moral landscape of street art. Street art may indeed be criticized productively on aesthetic grounds for the destruction it does to public spaces, but the existing models of ethical criticism overlook the complex ethical landscape of street art that results from its use of public spaces. In the interplay of various forms of street art we can see the emergence of an ethical criticism of art that is accomplished by the material properties of related artwork, and consists in the creation of a dialogue over the proper use of contested public spaces.
7. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Polycarp Ikuenobe Good and Beautiful: A Moral-Aesthetic View of Personhood in African Communal Traditions
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I articulate an African view of personhood that combines beauty and goodness–aesthetic and moral features. I discuss the idea of communalism, which provides the social and moral values and belief system that give meaning to this view of personhood. I use ideas from some African ethnic traditions, or some people’s account of these traditions, as examples to illustrate this view. The similarities in these examples from different ethnic traditions indicate that it is reasonable to characterize this view as a common theme that may plausibly represent many African cultures. This essay does not seek to provide an anthropological descriptive view, but a plausible philosophical stance on how we ought to understand the idea of personhood in African cultures. I do not suggest that all African cultures or traditions have exactly the same view or that they hold this view in the same way, extent or degree. Obviously, there may be minor differences that do not alter the essence of the view.Many of the authors quoted in this paper who have written on African philosophy use the phrase, ‘African culture’, ‘African tradition’, ‘African view’ or ‘African society’. Thus, it has become commonplace in African philosophical circles that when the prefix ‘African’ is used in the literature on African philosophy, it does not imply that Africa is a monolith or that its traditions are static. There is a recognition that some traditions have changed or are changing. The use of ‘African tradition’ usually indicates a generalizing theoretical abstraction about some enduring and dominant similar themes or ideas in many African traditions. It is also meant to contrast ‘African’ with ‘Western’ traditions, and to also respond to Western critiques of Africa as a group. It is used in a similar way in which the prefix ‘Western’ is used in the literature. This notion of ‘Western’, which is replete in the literature, does not suggest the West is a monolith, but rather, a reference to some similar dominant themes in Western thought.
book reviews
8. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Gary Bartlett Review of The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind by Giovanna Colombetti and Feeling Extended: Sociality as Extended Body-Becoming-Mind, by Douglas Robinson
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9. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Chris Jackson Review of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty
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10. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Richard Kamber Review of The Myth of the Intuitive: Experimental Philosophy and Philosophical Method, by Max Deutsch
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11. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Steven Ross Review of Seeing Things As They Are, A Theory of Perception, by John R. Searle
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12. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
James McBain Review of The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility, by Bruce N. Waller
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13. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Maximiliano Korstanje Review of Freedom from Want, by Kathleen G. Donohue
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14. Essays in Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Maximiliano Korstanje Review of Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age, by Zygmunt Bauman
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