Admiration, Appreciation, and Aesthetic Worth

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):375-389 (2023)
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Abstract

What is aesthetic appreciation? In this paper, I approach this question in an indirection fashion. First, I introduce the Kantian notion of moral worthy action and an influential analysis of it. Next, I generalise that analysis from the moral to the aesthetic domain, and from actions to affects. Aesthetic appreciation, I suggest, consists in an aesthetically worthy affective response. After unpacking the proposal, I show that it has non-trivial implications while cohering with a number of existing insights concerning the nature of appreciation and the constraints to which it is subject. In closing, I note some limitations on the analogy between aesthetic appreciation and morally worthy action.

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Daniel Whiting
University of Southampton

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