Immoralism and the Valence Constraint

British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (1):45-64 (2008)
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Abstract

Immoralists hold that in at least some cases, moral fl aws in artworks can increase their aesthetic value. They deny what I call the valence constraint: the view that any effect that an artwork’s moral value has on its aesthetic merit must have the same valence. The immoralist offers three arguments against the valence constraint. In this paper I argue that these arguments fail, and that this failure reveals something deep and interesting about the relationship between cognitive and moral value. In the fi nal section I offer a positive argument for the valence constraint.

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James Harold
Mount Holyoke College

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