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Reading: Responding to Aesthetic Reasons


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Research Article

Responding to Aesthetic Reasons


Andrew McGonigal

Department of Philosophy, Washington and Lee University, Washington Hall 319, Lexington, VA 24450, US
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What makes a certain consideration an aesthetic reason rather than a reason of some other kind? Is it a solely a matter of the kind of attitude or activity that the reason supports? How fundamental or structural are such reasons? Do they contrast in a natural way with epistemic or practical reasons? Is skilled aesthetic achievement, whether interpretative or creative, a matter of recognizing the aesthetic reasons we have for a given response, and correctly according with such reasons? In this paper, I offer a preliminary discussion of these topics. I argue that our account of aesthetic reasons should respect the fact that they play an important regulative role, over and above directly supporting aesthetic response. Such a role allows aesthetic reasons to moderate a wide range of practical and epistemic activities, but not by adding or substituting distinctively aesthetic ends or purposes for such activities. I then go on to argue against the view that skilled aesthetic achievement consists in correct recognition of and accord with aesthetic reasons, adapting a recent argument of Timothy Williamson’s.
How to Cite: McGonigal, Andrew. “Responding to Aesthetic Reasons”. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics 54, no. 1 (2017): 40–64. DOI:
Published on 01 Mar 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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