Art and Morality

Matthew Kieran

in The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199279456
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577239 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Art and Morality

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The idea that the moral character of a work may be intimately linked to its artistic value can be traced back to Aristotle, who suggests that moral criteria help pick out tragedies that are good or bad as such. Indeed, when outlining the correct standards in dramatic art, he claims that ‘it is correct to find fault with both illogicality and moral baseness, if there is no necessity for them and if the poet makes no use of the illogicality (as with Euripedes and the case of Aegeus) or the baseness (as with Menelaus's in Orestes)’. One way of taking this claim is to hold that the moral character of a work may affect its artistic value indirectly. This article turns first to an examination of this kind of view.

Keywords: moral character; artwork; dramatic art; moral baseness; artistic value; Aristotle

Article.  9648 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Moral Philosophy

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