A Beautiful Piece of Property: Toward a New Definition of Aesthetic Properties

Bryan J. Parkhurst


?Aesthetic valuism? maintains that aesthetic properties harbor an ineliminable evaluative component, and that to correctly and sincerely apply an aesthetic predicate to a thing just is to give an appraisal of its aesthetic goodness or badness.  Anti-valuism denies this, and holds that even in the identification and ascription of evaluatively-loaded aesthetic properties, such as beautiful or graceful, we may identify a non-evaluative, purely descriptive, and patently aesthetic form of judgment or discrimination.  In this essay, I formulate a new definition of aesthetic properties that is consistent with anti-valuism, in order to see how well it serves us, in comparison with a valuist definition that appears in the published philosophical literature. If my definition is at least as intuitively plausible as the valuist?s, it should be preferred.  This is because the most complicated concept my definition asks you to understand is perceptual resemblance (a concept I spend a fair amount of time explaining).  Value is harder to understand, and we don?t make it very easy on ourselves if we use one mystery (value) to define another (aesthetic properties).  I end by reflecting on how my definition fits into wider aesthetic concerns.


Definition; Aesthetic Value; Analytic

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