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Research Article

Obligations to Artworks as Duties of Love


Anthony Cross

Department of Philosophy, Texas State University, Comal Building, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, TX 78666-4684, US
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It is uncontroversial that our engagement with artworks is constrained by obligations; most commonly, these consist in obligations to other persons, such as artists, audiences, and owners of artworks. A more controversial claim is that we have genuine obligations to artworks themselves. I defend a qualified version of this claim. However, I argue that such obligations do not derive from the supposed moral rights of artworks – for no such rights exist. Rather, I argue that these obligations are instances of duties of love: obligations that one incurs in virtue of loving some object, be it a person or, in this case, an artwork.
How to Cite: Cross, Anthony. “Obligations to Artworks as Duties of Love”. Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics 54, no. 1 (2017): 85–101. DOI:
Published on 01 Mar 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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