Tom Cochrane (Flinders University) on “Aesthetic values are distal versions of practical values”

March 2021, Monday 22nd, 9:00am to 11:00am

Venue: BigBlueButton room

Abstract: In this talk I will outline a novel general theory of aesthetic value that is supposed to apply to all the specific aesthetic values such as the beautiful, the sublime, the comic, and the dramatic. This theory balances Kantian considerations about valuing the object for its own sake with more recent theories that aesthetic values have motivational aspects that are continuous with the rest of our lives. I argue that when we value an object aesthetically, we regard it as simply good, rather than good for me or good for us (contra practical value and moral value). Yet this is made possible by psychological mechanisms that humans possess for the distal detection of something of potential practical value. Thus aesthetic values are ‘distal versions’ of practical values and both continuous with, and explicable by reference to our practical drives.


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