Aesthetic Realism 1

Nick Zangwill

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Aesthetic Realism 1

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This article considers the nature of our aesthetic thought and experience. It does not tackle head-on the issue of whether or not we should think that reality includes mind-independent aesthetic properties and thus mind-independent aesthetic states of affairs in which objects or events possess mind-independent aesthetic properties. However, thinking about the nature of our aesthetic thought and experience unavoidably involves us in thinking about the metaphysics that we are committed to in our aesthetic thought and experience. The issue is whether or not aesthetic thought and experience is ‘realist’, in the sense that we represent aesthetic properties and states of affairs in such thoughts and experiences. If so, ‘common sense’ or ‘folk aesthetics’ has metaphysically dirty hands, though whether or not this common-sense metaphysics is true is another matter. In contrast with realists, there are ‘non-realists’, who deny that ordinary aesthetic thought and experience have such metaphysical commitments.

Keywords: aesthetic realism; aesthetic thought; aesthetic experience; aesthetic properties; aesthetic states; folk aesthetics

Article.  8366 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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