In it, Berys Gaut defends what he calls Ethicism. Emotionally laden acquaintance with what it's like to see and feel things in novel ways seems central to our core concerns for narrative art. And as one who began this book with autonomist leanings, this was no mean feat. He then reviews and evaluates three existing approaches to artistic expression, and proposes a new approach to the emotional experience of art that draws on the strengths of the existing approaches. Officially, Gaut is only interested in the latter, and in particular only in the ethical attitudes manifested in a work. Why do we find these experiences rewarding in similar ways? How is it that we can intelligibly feel emotion for persons and situations that we know are fictional? The trouble for moralism lies in the fact that the relevant notion of merit needs to be explicated; moreover, there are several distinct respects in which one might approve or disapprove of an emotion as a response to its object. Can make-believe stories do the same? Radical autonomism holds that it makes no sense to evaluate works of art ethically.
Following Scanlon, an act is ethically impermissible if some deliberative employment of some principle rules out that action. The third main strand in the modern period was the idea of art as transgression. Since there is no direct contradiction, it must involve a third thing that connects aesthetic value and moral value. Consider next the argument from aesthetic cognitivism: the view that a central aesthetic virtue of at least some artworks lies in what they can teach us, especially about morality. Curiously, Gaut ultimately seems to embrace this conclusion, though I think it fatal to this sort of Humean moralism. Autonomy-based moral rights to do moral wrong are therefore conceptually possible as well as, at least on occasion, actual.
One might have thought this the very criterion of distinctively comic success, despite the fact that, in order to achieve popular success, comedians must negotiate delicately between the funny and what they can bring their actual audiences to laugh at. Art, Emotion and Ethics is his most thorough explication and defense of ethicism, indeed as thorough a working out of this view as anyone could ask for. Berys Gaut is one of the most influential proponents of the idea that the ethical value of artworks is a central part of their aesthetic value. I do not think this is the case. Some chapters are exegetical, others thematic.
That is also why reading Art, Emotion and Etjics should elicit both careful interest and great pleasure, both of which it certainly merits. Moderate autonomist arguments by Gass, Posner, Anderson and Dean, and aesthetic attitude theorists are criticized and rejected. A strongly interdisciplinary volume that captures the richness of current debates about the role of agency in human emotional response, this collection also considers the influence of culture on emotion and demonstrates that cognitivist and social- constructivist perspectives need not be antagonistic and may actually work together in a complementary way. The pro tanto attempts to explain the same thing, but it adds an unnecessary qualification. Does the blasphemous nature of writing Koranic verses on naked women make for good art? The second part covers the central concepts and theories of aesthetics, including the definitions of art, taste, the value of art, beauty, imagination, fiction, narrative, metaphor and pictorial representation.
It would overall be a morally good act despite the badness of breaking the promise. What cannot be assumed, however, is that a response is fitting because it is morally appropriate. Contributors to the book come from a variety of academic disciplines and cultural backgrounds-European and North American. It may however support ethical contextualism. The extreme immoralist position is that an artwork is always aesthetically flawed in so far as it contains some aesthetically relevant ethical merit and always has an aesthetic merit in so far as it contains an aesthetically relevant ethical flaw. It also maintains that an artwork is sometimes aesthetically flawed in so far as it contains an aesthetically relevant ethical flaw as well as sometimes aesthetically flawed in so far as it contains some aesthetically relevant ethical merit. Unfortunately, it alone is not enough to support the theory.
Journal Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism — Wiley Published: Mar 1, 2008. Such evaluations can focus on the manner in which works are produced, their effects on individuals or society, or on features intrinsic to them. Although this is a familiar authorial strategy, so are contrary tactics that Gaut doesn't consider. It is also contended that Schiller offers a plausible revision of Kant's moral philosophy, an interesting response to the problem of freedom in post-Kantian philosophy, and a much underrated theory of tragedy, and a remarkable attempt to square the demands of aesthetic autonomy with moral purpose in the arts. If we're interested in whether some response is virtuous or vicious we must take all the morally relevant features into account, including the most obviously instrumental, whether or not they bear on the evaluative features of the object at all.
I consider this an important book that deserves to be widely read and discussed. Is it the case that the ethical goodness of the attitudes, if any, manifested in a work of art contributes towards its aesthetic value? Agreeing as he saw it with Plato that art is a form of lying… 3-4 It is no exaggeration to say, then, that the relation of art to ethics has been a recurrent and central concern in Western culture from Plato to the present, a concern manifested not just in the writings of philosophers and the literati, but in the attitudes and beliefs of politicians and lay people who may be largely ignorant of the intellectual debate 5. As he describes the view, Ethicism holds that a work is aesthetically flawed in so far as it possesses an aesthetically relevant ethical flaw and aesthetically meritorious in so far as it possesses an aesthetically relevant ethical merit. Are there moral rights to do moral wrong? This may also help to establish what types of conditions allow for value-inversion. Awarded the Palme d'Or and numerous other international awards, Haneke has contributed to and shaped contemporary auteur cinema and is becoming more and more popular among academics and cinephiles.
This flexibility allows Gaut to grant that some morally dubious works are aesthetic triumphs, only minimally tainted by their moral failings; and he can also accept what seems even more obvious, that some morally praiseworthy works are nevertheless aesthetic disasters. Officially, Gaut is only interested in the latter, and in particular only in the ethical attitudes manifested in a work. It defends his philosophy against his Marxist, post-modernist and Kantian critics. Gaut believes that the pro tanto principles properly respond to the inseparability objection. All works are aesthetically flawed in so far as they contain an ethical demerit that is aesthetically relevant and all works have aesthetic merit in so far as they contain an aesthetically relevant moral merit. I think Gaut fails to confront the most powerful cases by dint of selective examples and tendentious interpretation. Perhaps some ethical flaw being treated humorously will be an aesthetic merit in so far as it is treated in the way it is.