Knowledge and Understanding Seminar
Speaker: Eileen John (Warwick)
Title: 'Learning from Artistic Disagreement'
Abstract: "When we disagree about the meaning and value of works of art, we do not always bother to argue about it, but sometimes we do. Arguments about art can be pursued seriously, and such disagreements can mark somehow important faultlines between people. What are these disagreements about, why are they difficult to resolve, and what can be learned from them? Stanley Cavell says that ‘the familiar lack of conclusiveness in aesthetic argument, rather than showing up an irrationality, shows the kind of rationality it has, and needs’ (MWMWWS, 86). Responding to Cavell and to some work by Fabian Dorsch, both of whom defend the unusual rationality of aesthetic judgement and argument, I will resist some of the ‘particularising’ accounts of the difficulty of these practices. I will also make some not-well-defended claims about the role of reasons in the context of artistic evaluation."