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Beauty and Testimony

By Robert Hopkins


I ask whether, and how far, it is possible legitimately to acquire the belief that a given item is beautiful on the basis of someone's testimony that it is. This is an issue that concerned Kant. Kant held that testimony could never be a legitimate source of such judgements, and clearly took his account of aesthetic judgement to explain this fact. I argue that Kant's theory does not, in fact, provide the materials for a satisfactory explanation. Was Kant at least right about the explanadum? While broadly sympathetic to his views on that, I also suggest ways in which they need qualifying. I consider alternative explanations of why testimony should, in general, not be a legitimate source of aesthetic judgement, especially those rooted in anti-realism about the aesthetic. I find these two no more obviously correct, at least in their current state of development

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2000
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