‘Non-Inferentialism about Justification — The Case of Aesthetic Judgements’ (2013)

The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 63, 2013, pp. 660-682.

Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers

(This paper has been selected by an international committee of renown experts as one of the five best English language publications in 2013 in aesthetics.)


In this article, I present two objections against the view that aesthetic judgements – that is, judgemental ascriptions of aesthetic qualities like elegance or harmony – are justified non-inferentially. The first is that this view cannot make sense of our practice to support our aesthetic judgements by reference to lower-level features of the objects concerned. The second objection maintains that non-inferentialism about the justification of aesthetic judgements cannot explain why our aesthetic interest in artworks and other objects is limited to only some of their lower-level features that realise their higher-level aesthetic qualities. Although my concern with the view that aesthetic judgements are subject to non-inferential justification is very general, my discussion is primarily structured around Sibley’s well-developed and influential version of this view.