Explanations: Aesthetic and Scientific

Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 75:127-149 (2014)
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Abstract

Methodologically, philosophical aesthetics is undergoing an evolution that takes it closer to the sciences. Taking this methodological convergence as the starting point, I argue for a pragmatist and pluralist view of aesthetic explanations. To bring concreteness to discussion, I focus on vindicating genre explanations, which are explanations of aesthetic phenomena that centrally cite a work's genre classification. I show that theoretical resources that philosophers of science have developed with attention to actual scientific practice and the special sciences can be used to make room for genre explanations in aesthetics. In turn, making room for genre explanations also demonstrates the plausibility of the pragmatist and pluralist view of aesthetic explanations.

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Shen-yi Liao
University of Puget Sound

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