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Art, Emotion and Ethics$
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Berys Gaut

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263219.001.0001

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(p.67) 4 Autonomism
Art, Emotion and Ethics

Berys Gaut (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter criticizes two kinds of autonomism. Radical autonomism holds that it makes no sense to evaluate artworks ethically. It is rejected by arguing that ethical evaluation of an artwork is equivalent to evaluating ethically what the artist(s) did in the artwork, the artistic acts performed therein. Moderate autonomism holds that the intrinsic ethical merits or demerits of artworks are never aesthetically relevant. Moderate autonomist arguments by Gass, Posner, Anderson and Dean, and aesthetic attitude theorists are criticized and rejected. Finally, a criterion for when ethical merits and demerits are aesthetically relevant is proposed and defended.

Keywords:   aesthetic attitude, aesthetic relevance, artistic acts, Gass, Posner, Anderson, Dean, moderate autonomism, radical autonomism

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