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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Some Applications

Some Applications

(p.159) 7. Some Applications
Two Thumbs Up

Stephanie Ross

University of Chicago Press

I close by examining some applications of the principles I’ve defended. Beginning with nature appreciation, I suggest that in this realm suitability is trumped by adaptive or evolutionary factors making aspects of our appreciation hard-wired. Next I consider some puzzles that arise for the arts of literature, film, and architecture. These stem from the indeterminateness of literature that requires filling in, the complexity of movies that demands multitasking, and the functionality of architecture that puts an apparent premium on engagement and use. I then turn to identity politics and their bearing on criticism in the arts. While many of us take pride in our racial, ethnic, religious and other origins and identities, some of these categories are marked by sharp differences of power and privilege. I explore the permissibility of crossing these boundaries in creating or critiquing art. Lastly I take up a pair of issues, bad art and mean critics. I argue that we cannot formulate general criteria for bad art. Yet there are unworthy works. Given a harsh or dismissive review, if prejudice has not contributed and the suitability requirement has not been overlooked, then the review is a legitimate response that can enlighten us about the work.

Keywords:   nature, literature, film, architecture, identity politics

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