Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Contextualist semantics of aesthetic predicates

Date: 22 April 2015

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB


The paper offers a semantic and pragmatic analysis of statements of the form 'x is beautiful' as involving a double speech act: first, a report that x is beautiful relative to the speaker's aesthetic standard, along the lines of naive contextualism; second, the speaker's recommendation that her audience comes to share her appraisal of x as beautiful. We suggest that attributions of aesthetic values tend to involve such a recommendation due to the role the aesthetic practices play in fostering and enhancing interpersonal coordination. Aesthetic practices are driven by a disposition towards the attunement of attitudes and aesthetic recommendations contribute to forwarding such attunement. Our view is motivated by an attempt to satisfy the following set of desiderata: accounting for (i) the aesthetic testimony data, (ii) normative aspirations of aesthetic discourse, and (iii) disagreement in aesthetic disputes, as well as avoiding the appeal to (iv) error theory and (v) realist ontological commitments.