AARON Introduction Can moral flaws lessen an artwork's aesthetic value? Answering yes to this question requires both that artworks can be morally flawed and that moral flaws within a work of art can have an aesthetic impact. For present purposes, I will assume that artworks can be morally flawed by such means as endorsing immoral perspectives, culpably encouraging responses that could harm oneself or others, or culpably encouraging responses that are wrong to have.1 Assuming that artworks can be ethically flawed, my goal in this article is not to create a new "ism" in the art and morality debate but to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I will refer to the position supporting this claim as "moralism about art."2 In this paper I present a simple and straightforward argument: Moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of goodmaking aesthetic properties. More formally stated, the central argument is as follows: The Aesthetic Defeater Argument for Moralism 1. Properties that defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties in an artwork lessen its aesthetic value. 2. Moral flaws can defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties.
The Journal of Aesthetic Education – University of Illinois Press
Published: Dec 15, 2011
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