Hypothetically speaking, if a novel or a film presented the idea that 'murder and rape are morally virtuous acts', we may all wish to conclude that there is something untrue or at least, morally wrong with the film. However, should we take this moral wrongness into consideration when we evaluate the aesthetic value of the artwork? This is just to ask, in artworks, do ethical flaws imply, or amount to aesthetic flaws? Likewise, do ethical merits imply, or amount to aesthetic merits? In this paper I argue that the answer to both of these questions is yes. I do so by arguing that the very question implies moral realism; if moral realism is false, then we should not take ethical flaws / merits into consideration when evaluating artworks because their ARE no ethical flaws / merits. If moral realism is true, then the moral judgements made (or implied) by artworks are propositional content. The only way to evaluate propsositional content is through a notion of truth and falsity. Since certain artworks have moral judgments that are defining features of the artwork, and since those moral judgments are subject to truth and falsity constraints, it seems that we should count ethical flaws and merits to be aesthetic flaws and merits.
|Keywords:||Aesthetics, Ethics, Artworks, Propsitional Content, Evaluation|
Philosophy Department, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
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