Further exploration of anti-realist intuitions about aesthetic judgment

James Andow

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Experimental philosophy of aesthetics has explored to what extent ordinary people are committed to aesthetic realism. Extant work has focused on attitudes to normativism – a key commitment of realist positions in aesthetics – the claim that aesthetic judgments/statements have correctness conditions, invariant between subjects, such that there is a fact of the matter in cases of aesthetic disagreement. The emerging picture is that ordinary people strongly and almost universally reject normativism and thus there is no strong realist tendency in ordinary people’s thinking about the aesthetic. This has been taken to dissolve the traditional puzzle in aesthetics of how to best account for the fact that (a) aesthetic judgments seem intersubjectively valid, while (b) aesthetic experience seems subjective. This paper presents studies which further enrich our understanding of ordinary thinking about the aesthetic: ordinary thinking about the aesthetic may not be so vehement in its rejection of normativism; and where previous results suggested that, in many cultures, the dominant trend is to reject correctness conditions for aesthetic judgments, the current results
suggest participants think aesthetic judgments have correctness conditions (albeit perhaps very finely relativised to specific circumstances of
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-661
Number of pages41
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date27 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • aesthetics
  • experimental aesthetics
  • experimental philosophy
  • expressivism
  • intuitions
  • normativism
  • realism
  • relativism

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