Aesthetic Appraisal

Simpson, Evan (1975) Aesthetic Appraisal. Philosophy: The Journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, 50 (192). pp. 189-204. ISSN 1469-817X

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of aesthetics', students in Wittgenstein's wake have done a great deal to eliminate the grounds of the complaint. Unfruitful essentialist theories have been largely displaced by the vigorous, if somewhat uncontrolled, growth of an enterprise which attempts to characterize and explicate aesthetic phenomena outside the desert of definition. The resulting view portrays typically aesthetic concepts as being indivisibly characterizing and evaluative, relativistic in application, necessarily linked to human attitudes, irreducible to non-aesthetic concepts, and yet as having social conditions which make them capable of intersubjective comparison and test.1 These characteristics are usefully summarized in saying that aesthetic concepts are concepts of appraisal. The theory of aesthetic appraisal discussed here is clearly incompatible with views which postulate dichoto- mies between objectivity and subjectivity, fact and value, and it is quite analogous to 'descriptivist' theories in ethics which reject these absolute distinctions. Moral examples are thus often useful for explicating the notion of aesthetic appraisal and the theory embodying that notion likewise has an important bearing on contemporary controversies in ethics.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 1719
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: April 1975
Date Type: Publication
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