LIV (New Series: X)
Issued: March 2017
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Responding to Aesthetic Reasons
What makes a certain consideration an aesthetic reason rather than a reason of some other kind? Is it a solely a matter of the kind of attitude or activity that the reason supports? How fundamental or structural are such reasons? Do they contrast in a natural way with epistemic or practical reasons? Is skilled aesthetic achievement, whether interpretative or creative, a matter of recognizing the aesthetic reasons we have for a given response, and correctly according with such reasons? In this paper, I offer a preliminary discussion of these topics. I argue that our account of aesthetic reasons should respect the fact that they play an important regulative role, over and above directly supporting aesthetic response. Such a role allows aesthetic reasons to moderate a wide range of practical and epistemic activities, but not by adding or substituting distinctively aesthetic ends or purposes for such activities. I then go on to argue against the view that skilled aesthetic achievement consists in correct recognition of and accord with aesthetic reasons, adapting a recent argument of Timothy Williamson’s.