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tion, and Conversation”).
To many, this answer to the much debated question as to the relevance of
authorial intention to artistic interpretation will seem too simple to be true. Sim-
plicity of theory is much admired in the mathematical sciences, but not in philos-
ophy, where bogus profundity thrives on unintelligible complexity. My own
feeling is that Carroll™s answer to the question of authorial intention is too simple
not to be true.
The section of Carroll™s collection called Art, Emotions, and Morality takes on
two question about art that have only recently regained an importance they once
had.They are the questions of whether moral value is relevant to artistic value, and
how ordinary, garden-variety emotions like anger, hope, fear, sorrow, and so forth,
can be aroused in audiences to fictional works of art.The reason for their eclipse
has been, I believe, the general acceptance, in recent philosophy, of what is some-
times called the “autonomy of art,” or, more colloquially, “art for art™s sake.”
Fueled, certainly, by formalism, the belief has gained currency among “sophisti-
cated” lovers of art that its values, even where it seems to have reference to the
world beyond its boundaries, must be found within its world alone. Both the ideas
that we should evaluate fictional works even partly for their moral content, or that
it can be part of their function to arouse in us the ordinary emotions of our every-
day lives, ideas once accepted as a matter of course by experts and the laity alike,
were, until recently, considered discredited vestiges of Romanticism, not worthy
of philosophical notice.
Carroll is not alone in reconsidering these issues and, as a matter of fact, his
account of how fiction arouses the garden-variety emotions is a developed version
of a theory that others have propounded. The problem is that emotions are stan-
dardly aroused by beliefs about what are taken to be actual states of affairs.Thus, I am
angry at my landlord for raising the rent. But why, so the skeptical argument goes,
FOREWORD xiii

should I get angry at a fictional landlord who raises the fictional rent of a fictional
lady in distress, since there is no landlord, no lady in distress, no rent to be raised?
The answer that Carroll and others have come up with is that mere
“thoughts” of things happening can arouse the garden-variety emotions. The
mere thought of my landlord™s raising the rent, even though I do not presently
believe the landlord is going to raise my rent, can make me angry, so this account
has it. As Carroll puts his point, “it seems indisputable that emotions can be
engendered in the process of holding propositions before the mind unasserted.
While cutting vegetables, imagine putting the very sharp knife in your hand into
your eye. One suddenly feels a shudder” (“Art, Narrative, and Emotion”). And
applying this conclusion to fictional works of art,“Fictions, construed as proposi-
tions to be imagined, supply us with the relevant, unasserted propositional con-
tent, and in entertaining that content, we can be emotionally moved by fictions”
(“Art, Narrative, and Emotion”).
Armed with this account of how fictional works of art can move us to the gar-
den-variety emotions, Carroll goes on, in Part IV, to investigate, among other
things, the role of these emotions in narrative in general, in horror, and in sus-
pense. He argues against both the ancient Platonic theory that emotions in fiction
are aroused in us by “identifying” with fictional personages, and its present-day
reincarnation, called “simulation theory,” which has it that “By simulating the
mental states of fictional characters, we come to experience what it would be like
“ that is, for example, what it would feel like “ to be in situations such as those in
which the characters find themselves” (“Simulation, Emotions, and Morality”).
With regard to the issue of moral value in art, Carroll advocates, characteristically,
a view he calls “moderate moralism.” I say “characteristically” because here, as else-
where, Carroll exhibits his innate common sense and commonsensical pluralism. Of
course, the layperson, untainted with theory, wants to say that moral value is neither all
there is to artistic value; but nor is it nothing: it is part of artistic value, in some kinds
of artworks, some of the time.This, essentially, is the moderate claim.
Carroll™s argument is that narrative, at least as we know it, works, in part, by
engaging our moral concepts, attitudes, feelings, sympathies. “Part of what is
involved, then, in the process of filling in a narrative is the activation of the moral
powers “ the moral judgments and the moral emotions of audiences” (“Moderate
Moralism”). And that being the case, “the moderate moralist also contends that
moral evaluation may figure in our evaluations of some art. For inasmuch as nar-
rative artworks engage our powers of moral understanding, they can be assessed in
terms of whether they deepen or pervert the moral understanding” (“Moderate
Moralism”).That sounds like common sense to me. I am not saying that common
sense always makes philosophical sense “ but it is an encouraging start.
I said that what characterizes these essays of Carroll™s, and makes them such a
substantial contribution to aesthetics and the philosophy of art, is their wide-rang-
ing coverage of the central, most difficult, and most contested issues.The final sec-
tion, however, Alternative Topics, shows that there is yet another side to Carroll™s
impressive range of philosophical interests: a lighter side, shall we say, as evidenced
xiv FOREWORD

by such essays as “On Jokes,” “The Paradox of Junk Fiction,” and “On Being
Moved By Nature.”That Carroll can interest himself not only in the core issues of
his field but in the peripheral ones as well makes him truly the “complete”
philosopher of art. There is no one I know who can come even close to him in
either breadth or depth.
The theme of Carroll™s work in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, I have
maintained, is a healthy kind of commonsensical pluralism: the tendency to avoid
those overarching theories that tell us art is all one thing, or never another, and to
say, rather, perhaps it is more things than one. In its favoring of practice over the-
ory it is Aristotelian rather than Spinozistic (to appropriate a distinction Stuart
Hampshire once applied to moral philosophy). For those who think philosophy
must be high and mighty, this philosophy is not for you. For those who think the
truths of art and the aesthetic could be right in front of your nose, where you sus-
pected all along that they were, No«l Carroll will give you the best arguments you
are ever likely to get for your intuitions. In the postmodern age of outrageous
paradoxes, you will find here an oasis of sanity.
Peter Kivy
INTRODUCTION

wThis volume is a selection of my essays on the philosophy of art and aesthetics
written between 1985 and 1999.The earliest essays in the volume coincide with
the beginning of my career as a professional philosopher while working at Wes-
leyan University; the more recent articles, composed at Cornell University and
the University of Wisconsin-Madison, seem as though they were written yester-
day “ undoubtedly a flaw of memory attributable to advancing age.When I look
back at these essays, however diverse they may appear to the reader, they strike me
as being united by several recurring threads.
The most pronounced thread is a reactive one: an opposition to aesthetic the-
ories of art broadly and to its more distinctive variant, formalism, most particu-
larly.Tutored in its discipline as an undergraduate, I have spent much of my career
as a philosopher attempting to combat the limitations that aesthetic theories and
formalism impose on the philosophy of art. It is from this reaction formation that
the present volume derives its title “ Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays. For, in a
nutshell, the dominant recurring theme in this book is that we much reach
beyond aesthetic theories of art and their various prohibitions.
That is, we must not identify the essence of art with the intended capacity of art-
works to afford aesthetic experiences. Nor must we agree with aesthetic theorists of
art and formalists that art history, authorial intentions, garden-variety emotions, and
morality are alien to proper commerce with artworks. My campaign against aesthetic
theories of art, in a manner of speaking, organizes the first four parts of this book.
The first section ” Beyond Aesthetics ” initiates the argument against aes-
thetic theories of art, while also propounding a genealogy of the ways in which
this theoretical disposition has shaped and distorted the evolution of the philoso-
phy of art.The next section, Art, History, and Narrative, argues (against aesthetic
theorists of art, like Clive Bell) for the the importance of art history to the philos-
ophy of art, while also advancing an alternative to aesthetic definitions of art for
identifying artworks.
Whereas aesthetic theorists of art typically question the relevance of authorial
intentions to interpretation, in the next section, Interpretation and Intention, I
defend the appeal to authorial intentions in the analysis of artworks. Likewise,
where aesthetic theorists of art tend to regard only aesthetic experience as consti-
tuting the essential, appropriate kind of response to art, I maintain in the section

1
2 INTRODUCTION

Art, Emotion, and Morality that garden-variety emotional responses and moral
responses are not only art-appropriate responses to art, but also that they are rele-
vant to the evaluation and analysis of artworks. Indeed, in this section I also
attempt to provide analyses of selected emotional responses of this sort, including
suspense, horror, and amusement.
Undoubtedly, part of my animus against aesthetic theories of art derives from
my having studied with George Dickie, to whom this volume is dedicated. From
him, I inherited my abiding philosophical interests in the concepts of “the aes-
thetic” and “art.” Like Dickie, or perhaps because of Dickie, I have always resisted
the idea that art can be defined in terms of the intended capacity of certain
objects to support aesthetic experiences as well as the idea that the aesthetic is best
conceptualized in terms of disinterestedness.
I have also always thought that Dickie™s classic article “The Myth of the Aes-
thetic Attitude”1 can best be read as a demolition of the notion of “the aesthetic”
for the purpose, ultimately, of undermining aesthetic theories of art “ thereby
paving the way for his own Institutional Theory of Art.That interpretation, more-
over, is borne out in his book Art and the Aesthetic, in which the best known can-
didates for “the aesthetic” this-or-that are successively derailed in the explicit
process of defending the Institutional Theory.2 And something like Dickie™s strat-
egy “ challenging aesthetic theories of art as a first step in generating new theo-
ries “ has become my own.
Part I: Beyond Aesthetics can be regarded as a continuation of Dickie™s project.
The first essay,“Art and Interaction,” criticizes the limitations of aesthetic theories of
art outright, specifically by emphasizing the way in which interpretation (in contrast
to aesthetic experience) is an art-appropriate response at least as significant as aes-
thetic experience. Here, as elsewhere, the implicit dependence on Arthur Danto is
evident, while my use of Monroe Beardsley, in this essay and others, as my leading foil
also shows the influence of George Dickie, since it was Dickie who taught me always
to consult Beardsley™s work for the most worked-out and authoritative position on
any subject in aesthetics, even if, in the end, I wound up criticizing it.There are more
ways than one to stand on the shoulders of giants.
“Beauty and the Genealogy of Art Theory” does not confront the aesthetic
theory of art directly, but instead attempts to disclose its subterranean influence on
the contours of the philosophy of art. If one accepts the arguments that I have
made concerning aesthetic theories of art, then, this essay functions as a debunk-
ing genealogy, one that traces various tendencies in the philosophy of art “ such as
the prohibitions against art history, authorial intention, garden-variety (as opposed
to aesthetic) emotional responses, and moral responses “ as flowing from historical
misinterpretations and prejudices that have remained unexamined for too long.
In “Four Concepts of Aesthetic Experience,” I take a closer look at the concept of
aesthetic experience that serves as the fulcrum of aesthetic theories of art. I argue
against three well-known views of aesthetic experience: the pragmatic (Dewey™s), the
allegorical (Marcuse and Adorno™s), and the traditional account (almost everyone
else™s).3 But this essay is not merely critical. It concludes with a positive characteriza-
INTRODUCTION 3

tion of aesthetic experience that I label the deflationary account. In the vocabulary of
my first essay in this volume,“Art and Interaction,” it is what I call a content-oriented
account. Unlike George Dickie, I do not contend that aesthetic experience is a myth,
but rather that something is an aesthetic response if it involves design appreciation or
the detection of aesthetic or expressive properties or the contemplation of the emer-
gence of formal, aesthetic, or expressive properties from their base properties, or a
combination of any or all of these responses.
Dickie, I have argued, parlayed his attack of aesthetic experience (and inti-
mately connected aesthetic theories of art) into the case on behalf of his Institu-
tional Theory. I have not traveled all the way with Dickie to embracing the
Institutional Theory. However, I agree with him that the putative failure of aes-
thetic theories of art puts pressure on us to find some other way to account for
how we go about identifying objects and performances as artworks.
In Part II: Art, History, and Narrative, my solution to this problem is the sug-
gestion that we achieve this result by means of historical narratives.4 Just as the
biological concept of a species is a historical one, so I maintain, is the concept of
art.That is, we determine membership in the category of art by providing narra-
tives or genealogies of the descent or lineage of present candidates from their
established forebears.
The essay “Art, Practice, and Narrative” represents my first attempt to craft a his-
torical account for classifying artworks as artworks. As the result of criticism of it, I
produced two more overlapping essays “ “Identifying Art” and “Historical Narra-
tives and the Philosophy of Art” “ in order to refine and defend the historical
approach. Since the notion of narrative figures so importantly in this section, and
others, I have also included the essay “On the Narrative Connection” to provide a
clarifying account of what I mean by “narrative” in the most abstract sense. And
finally, since I uphold a realist account of historical narratives, including art-relevant
identifying narratives, I conclude this section with a defense against the relativist
view of narrative propounded in the influential writings of Hayden White.
As already noted, an opposition to the relevance of authorial intention to the
interpretation and evaluation of artworks is a recurring theme of aesthetic theo-
rists of art, such as Clive Bell and Monroe Beardsley. For them, it diverts attention
away from the artwork itself to something outside the work, namely, the author™s
intention. In Part III: Interpretation and Intention, I try to reinstate the accept-
ability of the relevance of authorial intention.
The opening essay,“Art, Intention, and Conversation,” attempts to refute the
major arguments of anti-intentionalists like Monroe Beardsley and Roland
Barthes, while also invoking what I call our conversational interests with respect
to artworks (which involve, among other things, certain moral considerations)
in order to say why authorial intentions are relevant constraints on our
interpretive practices. Since one of my complaints against the way in which
debates over the relevance of authorial intention usually proceed is that they are
overly focused on questions of linguistic meaning, I use examples from outside
literature where the lack of conventional semantic and syntactic structures
4 INTRODUCTION

clearly require hypothesizing authorial intentions as the royal road to interpre-
tation, due to absence of anything like conventions (rather than, say, merely rules
of thumb).5
In “Anglo-American Aesthetics and Contemporary Criticism,” I attempt to
defend intentionalism against recent critics who indulge in what is called the
“hermeneutics of suspicion.” In this essay, I show that rather than being antitheti-
cal to the aims of politicized criticism, intentionalism is not only compatible with
them, but even generally presupposed by them.
“Art, Intention, and Conversation” was attacked from two directions. First,
predictably enough, by anti-intentionalists; but also from a position within inten-
tionalism itself, called hypothetical intentionalism (the view that the correct inter-
pretation of an artwork corresponds to our best hypothesis of authorial intention,
even where the author™s actual intentions are known to deviate therefrom). I
address the anti-intentionalist challenge in “The Intentional Fallacy: Defending
Myself ” and the second attack in “Interpretation and Intention: The Debate
Between Hypothetical and Actual Intentionalism.”6
Garden-variety emotional responses (as opposed to the alleged aesthetic emo-
tions) and moral responses to artworks have been traditionally regarded as not part
of (and even at variance with) aesthetic experience and, therefore, have fallen out-
side the purview of the philosophy of art, notably as that is construed by the aes-
thetic theory of art.As a result, they have not received the philosophical attention
they deserve. Part IV: Art, Emotion, and Morality seeks to repair this lacuna.The
opening essay “Art, Narrative, and Emotion” sets out a framework for philosoph-
ically examining the relations that obtain between these terms, while the subse-
quent essays “ “Horror and Humor” and “The Paradox of Suspense” “ extend this
framework by considering several case studies.
Similarly,“Art, Narrative, and Moral Understanding” introduces a general frame-
work for discussing questions of art and morality, while “Moderate Moralism”
defends the moral evaluation of artworks as a legitimate form of artistic evaluation
against the aesthetic viewpoint that I call autonomism.7 Part IV concludes with an
essay entitled “Simulation, Emotions, and Morality” that critically considers a frame-
work, simulation theory, that is a rival to the one developed in this section.
If the range of topics belonging to the catch area of philosophical aesthetics (or
the philosophy of art) has been narrowly circumscribed under the influence of an
aesthetic conception of art, my own view of our field of research is much wider.
Thus, in the last section of this book “ Part V:Alternative Topics “ I include a handful
of essays that examine a group of disparate topics I believe are worth pursuing once
we divest ourselves of our obsession with Aesthetics and Art (both with capital As).
My alternative topics include: jokes, junk fiction, visual metaphors, and the apprecia-
tion of landscape. Of course, further topics are readily imaginable. But my essays
about them, of course, remain to be written, let alone anthologized.
PA RT I : B E YO N D A E S T H E T I C S




A RT INTERACTION

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