Abstract

In his influential paper, ‘General Criteria and Reasons in Aesthetics’, Frank Sibley outlines what is taken to be a generalist view (shared with Beardsley) such that there are general reasons for aesthetic judgement, and his account of the behaviour of such reasons, which differs from Beardsley's. In this paper my aim is to illuminate Sibley's position by employing a distinction that has arisen in meta-ethics in response to recent work by Jonathan Dancy in particular. Contemporary research involves two related yet distinct debates: (i) that between the particularist and the generalist on the status of moral principles; and (ii) that between holists and atomists on the nature of reasons. This division of labour has no correlate within the aesthetic particularism–generalism debate, and I will show how the ideas developed in relation to meta-ethics illuminate a difficulty with Sibley's view. I argue that we should understand Sibley as subscribing to both particularism and a version of holism about aesthetic reasons.

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