Aesthetic Testimony: What Can We Learn from Others about Beauty and Art?

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Abstract:

The thesis that aesthetic testimony cannot provide aesthetic justification or knowledge is widely accepted—even by realists about aesthetic properties and values. This Kantian position is mistaken. Some testimony about beauty and artistic value can provide a degree of aesthetic justification and, perhaps, even knowledge. That is, there are cases in which one can be justified in making an aesthetic judgment purely on the basis of someone else's testimony. But widespread aesthetic unreliability creates a problem for much aesthetic testimony. Hence, most testimony about art does not have much epistemic value. The situation is somewhat different with respect to aesthetic testimony about nature, proofs, and theories.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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