Our first focus will be on the topic of the aesthetic judgment. This is a normative kind of judgment, and it has often been associated with the faculty of aesthetic taste: We rely on our aesthetic taste when we make aesthetic judgments. But what does that mean? What is taste as an aesthetically relevant sensitivity? What are aesthetic judgments about? And what is the standard of aesthetic judgments, the ‘standard of taste’ as David Hume has called it?
Aesthetic judgments are often defined in terms of judgments about beauty (or the lack thereof). Beauty is one of the three major values we care about, values which have occupied philosophical thought over centuries, the other two being truth and moral goodness. In the tradition of philosophical thought about our experience of beauty, it has been associated with both true knowledge and beliefs about moral goodness and their motivational impact. We shall discuss both conceptions of the experience of beauty, those that understand it as an experience which is epistemic in kind and those that relate it to our motivation to be morally good.
The authors we read include Pierre Bourdieu, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Peter Railton, Nelson Goodman, and Arthur Danto.
- Bourdieu, Pierre (2010) Distinction. The Hague : Routledge. (Norsk utgave: “Distinksjonen”, Oslo: Pax, 1995)
- Danto, Arthur (1981) The Transfiguration of the Commonplace. Cambridge/Mass: Harvard University Press.
- Hume, David (1757/2008) “Of the Standard of Taste”, in Selected Essays, Oxford Paperbacks, pp. 133-153. (Norsk utgave: “Estetisk teori: en antologi”, red. av Bale, Kjersti og Bø-Rygg, Arnfinn, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 2008.)
- Goodman, Nelson (1968/1981) “Languages of Art”. Brighton/Sussex: The Harvester Press.
- Kant, Immanuel (1790/2001) Critique of the Power of Judgment. Part 1, “Critique of the power of aesthetic judgment”, Cambridge: CUP University Press. (Norsk utgave: “Kritikk av dømmekraften” (i utvalg), Oslo: Pax, 1995.)
- Railton, Peter (1998) “Aesthetic value, moral value, and the ambitions of naturalism”. In: Jerrold Levinson (ed) Aesthetics and Ethics. Essays at the Intersection. Cambridge: CUP, pp 59-105.
- Smith, Adam (1759/1790/1984) The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.