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Aesthetic Evalution and First-hand Experience
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics.
2018 (English)In: Australasian Journal of Philosophy, ISSN 0004-8402, E-ISSN 1471-6828, Vol. 96, no 4, p. 669-682Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Evaluative aesthetic discourse communicates that the speaker has had first-hand experience of what is talked about. If you call a book bewitching, it will be assumed that you have read the book. If you say that a building is beautiful, it will be assumed that you have had some visual experience with it. According to an influential view, this is because knowledge is a norm for assertion, and aesthetic knowledge requires first-hand experience. This paper criticizes this view and argues for an alternative view, according to which aesthetic discourse expresses affective states of mind, analogously to how assertions express beliefs. It is because these affective states require first-hand experience that aesthetic discourse communicates that such acquaintance is at hand. The paper furthermore argues that the lack of an experience requirement for aesthetic belief ascriptions constitutes a problem for the kind of expressivist who claims that evaluative belief states are covert non-cognitive states.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 96, no 4, p. 669-682
Keywords [en]
first-hand experience, aesthetic evaluation, evaluative discourse, acquaintance inference, expressivism, aesthetic knowledge
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-341025DOI: 10.1080/00048402.2018.1425729ISI: 000446493500004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-341025DiVA, id: diva2:1180618
Available from: 2018-02-06 Created: 2018-02-06 Last updated: 2018-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sense and Sensibility: Four Essays on Evaluative Discourse
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sense and Sensibility: Four Essays on Evaluative Discourse
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The subject of this thesis is the nature of evaluative terms and concepts. It investigates various phenomena that distinguish evaluative discourse from other types of language use. Broadly, the thesis argues that these differences are best explained by the hypothesis that evaluative discourse serves to communicate that the speaker is in a particular emotional or affective state of mind.

The first paper, “Aesthetic Evaluation and First-hand Experience”, examines the fact that it sounds strange to make evaluative aesthetic statements while at the same time denying that you have had first-hand experience with the object being discussed. It is proposed that a form of expressivism about aesthetic discourse best explains the data.

The second paper, “Evaluative Discourse and Affective States of Mind”, discusses the problem of missing Moorean infelicity for expressivism. It is argued that evaluative discourse expresses states of mind attributed by sentences of the form “Nils finds it wrong to tell lies”. These states, the paper argues, are non-cognitive, and the observation therefore addresses the problem of missing infelicity.

The third paper, “Sensibilism and Evaluative Supervenience”, argues that contemporary theories about why the moral supervenes on the non-moral have failed to account for the full extent of the phenomenon. Supervenience pertains not just to the moral but to the evaluative in general, it is a conceptual truth and it involves a relationship with a certain directionality. While all these points have been individually recognized at various points in the literature on moral supervenience, no theory accounts for all them. It is suggested that a kind of sensibilist semantics, according to which the extensions of evaluative terms are determined by how we feel about things, explains the full phenomenon.

The fourth paper, “Sensibilism and Imaginative Resistance”, discusses why we refuse to accept strange evaluative claims as being true in fictions, even though we are happy to accept other types of absurdities as fictionally true. The paper argues that the sensibilist semantics outlined in the third article offers a good diagnosis of the puzzle and compares this to other approaches.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of Philosophy, 2018. p. 37
Keywords
aesthetics; aesthetic language; evaluative language; expressivism; Allan Gibbard; R.M. Hare; David Hume; John MacFarlane. metaethics; moral language; philosophy of language; predicates of personal taste; relativism; speech-acts
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356595 (URN)978-91-506-2717-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-09-20, Geijersalen, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 15:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Jag lyckas inte fylla i University of Leeds under "University, department", men det är alltså opponentens hemuniversitet. 

Available from: 2018-08-30 Created: 2018-08-02 Last updated: 2018-08-30

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