My Delicate Taste: Aesthetic Deference Revisited

Philosophers' Imprint 23 (2023)
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Pessimists about aesthetic testimony argue that it is inappropriate to rely on other people’s aesthetic judgments in forming our own aesthetic beliefs. Some suggest that such reliance violates an epistemic norm, others that it violates a non-epistemic norm. In making their case, pessimists offer several arguments. They also put forward cases meant to elicit pessimist intuitions. In this paper, I claim that none of the main pessimist arguments succeeds against a plausible version of optimism, that is, the view that reliance on testimony in aesthetic matters is appropriate. However, I suggest also that pessimist intuitions have a certain pull that optimists must account for. My second task is to explain the force of pessimist intuitions by shedding new light on their source.

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Iskra Fileva
University of Colorado, Boulder


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