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Two Thumbs UpHow Critics Aid Appreciation$
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Stephanie Ross

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226064284

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226705033.001.0001

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Aesthetic Qualities

Aesthetic Qualities

(p.29) 2. Aesthetic Qualities
Two Thumbs Up

Stephanie Ross

University of Chicago Press

I maintain that there is a justificatory structure to our arguments about art, with aesthetic qualities playing a central role. I use Frank Sibley’s famous article as an entry point for discussion, setting out his key claims that aesthetic qualities are not condition-governed, and that taste or perceptiveness is required for their ascription. It follows that the ascription of aesthetic qualities is always contestable, their attribution a site for dispute when it comes to appreciating art. After visiting the notion of supervenience, I examine some more elaborate taxonomies for aesthetic qualities proposed by Alan Goldman, and Noel Carroll as well as dissenting proposals from three other philosophers. This discussion results in an enlarged notion of aesthetic qualities and paves the way for the example of aesthetic disagreement I track in the following chapter: “It’s delicate.” “No, it’s insipid.” To conclude, I flesh out the contextualism inherent in my account by discussing the central claim from Kendall Walton’s seminal paper “Categories of Art”—that the aesthetic qualities a work of art possesses vary with the category to which it is assigned—as well as the notion of an artworld proposed by Arthur Danto and employed and elaborated by George Dickie.

Keywords:   aesthetic qualities, supervenience, delicacy, contextualism, artworld

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