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Fatal prescription

Fatal prescription
Fatal prescription
Ethicism is the most comprehensively defended answer to the question regarding whether ethical properties determine aesthetic properties in artworks. According to ethicism, aesthetically relevant ethical flaws in artworks count as aesthetic flaws and aesthetically relevant ethical merits count as aesthetic merits. In this paper, I argue that ethicism’s most significant argument, the Merited Response Argument (MRA) (and other moralist arguments like it) suffers from an ambiguity that makes it either unsound or uninteresting. Specifically, the notion of an artwork’s ‘prescribing’ a response, central to MRA, is ambiguous between merely attempting to elicit a response from appreciators as appropriate to a work, and endorsing a response as appropriate to relevant parts of the actual world. While the first sense of ‘prescribe’ does the aesthetic work, the second does the ethical.
0007-0904
1-13
Stear, Nils-Hennes
c3bd30ff-6d15-4cb5-bb7a-1a8d0ce16b9d
Stear, Nils-Hennes
c3bd30ff-6d15-4cb5-bb7a-1a8d0ce16b9d

Stear, Nils-Hennes (2020) Fatal prescription. The British Journal of Aesthetics, 60 (2), 1-13. (doi:10.1093/aesthj/ayz053).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ethicism is the most comprehensively defended answer to the question regarding whether ethical properties determine aesthetic properties in artworks. According to ethicism, aesthetically relevant ethical flaws in artworks count as aesthetic flaws and aesthetically relevant ethical merits count as aesthetic merits. In this paper, I argue that ethicism’s most significant argument, the Merited Response Argument (MRA) (and other moralist arguments like it) suffers from an ambiguity that makes it either unsound or uninteresting. Specifically, the notion of an artwork’s ‘prescribing’ a response, central to MRA, is ambiguous between merely attempting to elicit a response from appreciators as appropriate to a work, and endorsing a response as appropriate to relevant parts of the actual world. While the first sense of ‘prescribe’ does the aesthetic work, the second does the ethical.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2019
Published date: 25 January 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437998
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437998
ISSN: 0007-0904
PURE UUID: abbe48af-2256-4516-9140-eca9395ddae2

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Date deposited: 25 Feb 2020 17:32
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 10:21

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