Towards a pragmatist aesthetics
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBritish Journal of Aesthetics. 2022, 62 (3), 453-474. https://doi.org/10.1093/aesthj/ayab058
In this paper, I make the case that the tradition of pragmatism may usefully inform aesthetic criticism. To that end, I contrast the anti-essentialist outlook and the ethico-political concerns of neo-pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty with the epistemological underpinnings of analytic aesthetics. The aim is to outline an alternative meta-theoretical perspective that ‘overwrites’ long-standing concerns with exactitude and objectivity. Drawing on examples from my own area of expertise, film, and television studies, I seek to explicitly set up aesthetic criticism, especially evaluation, as a means of social progress and human flourishing within the framework of liberal democracy.