Aesthetic Value and Aesthetic Judgment
The Hard Problem for Contemporary Aesthetic Naturalism
Keywords:art criticism, scientific aesthetics, aesthetic judgment, aesthetic value
Contemporary aesthetic naturalism integrates various scientific approaches into the common effort to provide an explanation of the main topics of aesthetics on the basis of empirical methods or in line with available evidence. Although these approaches have recently achieved very relevant empirical and theoretical results, contemporary aesthetic naturalism still does not solve the traditional hard problem of naturalism as such, that is the explanation of value in scientific terms. Firstly, I analyse the possible responses to this hard problem, showing that aesthetic value, particularly in the version of artistic value, remains outside the scope of current empirical approaches to aesthetics. Then I propose that this apparently strong philosophical limitation can be easily reduced to an ordinary epistemological limitation if aesthetic naturalism accepts to improve the interaction with art criticism, the discipline in the humanities characterised by a privileged access to the historical and social reasons that justify aesthetic judgments.
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