Legislating Taste

Philosophical Quarterly 73 (4):1256-1280 (2023)
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My aesthetic judgements seem to make claims on you. While some popular accounts of aesthetic normativity say that the force of these claims is third-personal, I argue that it is actually second-personal. This point may sound like a bland technicality, but it points to a novel idea about what aesthetic judgements ultimately are and what they do. It suggests, in particular, that aesthetic judgements are motions in the collective legislation of the nature of aesthetic activity. This conception is recommended by its ability to explain some important but otherwise recondite features of aesthetic practice and, more importantly, by allowing us to ground the normativity of aesthetic judgement in the familiar normativity of practice. It also offers a more systematic way of understanding the rivalry between the ideals of aesthetic universality and diversity.

Author's Profile

Kenneth Walden
Dartmouth College


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