Non-Monotonic Theories of Aesthetic Value

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Theorists of aesthetic value since Hume have traditionally aimed to justify at least some comparative judgments of aesthetic value and to explain why we thereby have more reason to appreciate some aesthetic objects than others. I argue that three recent theories of aesthetic value—Thi Nguyen’s and Matthew Strohl’s engagement theories, Nick Riggle’s communitarian theory, and Dominic McIver Lopes’ network theory—face a challenge to carry out this explanatory task in a satisfactory way. I defend a monotonicity principle according to which the strength of our aesthetic reasons to appreciate varies monotonically with aesthetic value and claim that these theories, because they do not respect the principle, are non-monotonic. If they cannot find a plausible way to preserve the link between the aesthetic goodness of an object and our aesthetic reasons to appreciate it, these non-monotonic theories should be rejected.

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Robbie Kubala
University of Texas at Austin


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