Chapter

The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism

Fabian Dorsch

in Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind

Published in print July 2014 | ISBN: 9780199669639
Published online September 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191749384 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669639.003.0005
The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism

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In this chapter, Dorsch argues against empiricist positions which claim that empirical evidence can be sufficient to defeasibly justify aesthetic judgements, or judgements about the adequacy of aesthetic judgements, or sceptical judgements about someone’s capacity to form adequate aesthetic judgements. First, empirical evidence provides neither inferential, nor non-inferential justification for aesthetic opinions. Second, while empirical evidence may tell us how we do respond aesthetically to artworks, it cannot tell us how we should respond to them. And, third, empirical insights into the irrationality of many of our aesthetic judgements do not warrant the sceptical conclusion that we ought to refrain from forming aesthetic opinions. As a consequence of these limitations to aesthetic empiricism, we should endorse the rationalist position that aesthetic criticism is largely a matter of reasoning and, moreover, a collective undertaking.

Keywords: aesthetic judgement; empiricism; rationalism; aesthetic appreciation; aesthetic properties; aesthetic value

Chapter.  12745 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Philosophy of Mind

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