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Title: Art, Value, and Relationships of Partiality
Authors: Cross, Anthony
Advisors: Nehamas, Alexander
Smith, Michael
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: Aesthetic Normativity
Art and Ethics
Art Criticism
Philosophy of Art
Subjects: Aesthetics
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: We are often partial to a particular set of artworks—favorite films, “desert island” disks, or much-loved novels. We treasure these works particularly dearly, even though we may recognize that there are other artworks equally if not more deserving of our attention. Is there any good reason for such attachment? Or is it merely an expression of one’s idiosyncratic taste, and something for which no reasons might be given? I argue that there are reasons for being partial to particular works of art, even if one recognizes that there are other artworks equally if not more deserving of one’s attention. These reasons are intimately connected with the value of one’s historical relationship with those artworks. My dissertation presents a philosophical account of the significance of such relationships with works of art. I argue that valuing such relationships is analogous to valuing one’s relationships with one’s friends, one’s projects, or one’s ideals: each is an instance of the more general phenomenon of partiality. After presenting a general account of partiality, I use this analogical approach to demonstrate that one’s concern for a work of art often extends beyond its artistic value, impartially construed—a point which, I argue, has been little appreciated in contemporary philosophy of art. I deploy this more nuanced account to challenge the idea that our interest in artworks lies entirely in the value of the experiences yielded by engaging with them; to offer a novel account of the role and function of reasoning in art criticism; and to give a clearer picture of the moral and aesthetic considerations wrapped up in our relationships to artworks and artists.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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