Classical german philosophy. University of Padova research group

Workshop: Aesthetic Normativity (Padova, 10 June 2019)

We are pleased to give notice of the workshop Aesthetic Normativitywhich will take place on June 10th 2019 at the University of Padova.

The workshop is part of the Analytic Philosophy and Philosophy of Art Graduate Seminar organized by Prof. Massimiliano Carrara, Prof. Giuseppe Spolaore, Prof. Gabriele Tomasi, Dr. Elisa Caldarola, and Dr. Vittorio Morato for the academic year 2018-2019 at the FISPPA Department (Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy, and Applied Psychology) of the University of Padova, Italy.

Below you can find the program of the event and the abstracts of the talks.



Sala Bortolami, Via Vescovado, 30 – Padova


10.00 – 11.15
John Dyck (CUNY), There Are No Aesthetic Obligations
Comments: Giuseppe Spolaore (Padova)

11.15 – 11.30 Break

11.30 – 12.45
Alfred Archer (TiLPS), What We Cannot Learn from Saints and Heroes
Comments: Simone Grigoletto (Padova)

12.45 – 15.00 Lunch

15.00 – 16.15
Serena Feloj (Pavia), Aesthetic Normativity: A Regulative Approach
Comments: Barbara Santini (Padova)

16.15 – 16.30 Break

16.30 – 17.45
Lauren Ware (Kent), The Show Must Go On: Obligatory selfies, aesthetic self-creation, and choice
Comments: Elisa Caldarola (Padova)



John Dyck, There Are No Aesthetic Obligations

Do aesthetic reasons ever have normative authority over us? Could there be anything like an aesthetic ‘ought’? Some philosophers have argued that there are. I argue to the contrary: There are no aesthetic oughts. We have reasons to act certain ways regarding various aesthetic objects—most notably, reasons to attend to and appreciate those objects. But, I argue, these reasons never amount to duties. This is because aesthetic reasons are evaluative, not deontic. They can only entice us or invite us—they can never compel us. To put it another way: Beauty gives us goods without shoulds.


Alfred Archer, What we Cannot Learn From Saints and Heroes

What can we learn about morality from saints and heroes? According to many, particularly virtue ethicists, moral exemplars have a key role to play in moral development and moral education. More recently Linda Zagzebski (2017) has defended a moral theory in which exemplars play a foundational role. In this paper, I want to consider one specific debate in which the testimony of saints and heroes plays an important role: the debate concerning the existence of acts of supererogation. Acts that go beyond the call of duty are thought to present a problem because they seem to rule out a close connection between what we have moral reason to do and what we are morally required to do. One way to respond to this problem is to deny that such acts exist. Those who make this move typically appeal to the testimony of moral exemplars that suggest that these acts are actually morally required. In this paper I will argue that this testimony does not provide independent evidence against the existence of acts of supererogation. I will do so in part by appealing to similar testimony from aesthetic exemplars. I will finish by arguing that the testimony from both forms of exemplars instead tells us something important about the nature of ideals.


Serena Feloj, Pavia, Aesthetic Normativity: A Regulative Approach

In the light of the current debate on aesthetic normativity, the role played by the aesthetic judgment within Kant’s account has possibly all it takes to be a real game changer. The notion of normativity has been indeed key to an actualizing reading of the subjective universality that for Kant characterizes the aesthetic judgment. However, in the scholarly literature little discussion is made, somehow unsurprisingly, of what exactly we should understand by normativity when it comes to Kant’s aesthetic. I will argue that the sentimentalist elements of Kant’s account call for a revision of its normative interpretations, for a better framing of its subjective universalism, and finally for a reconsideration of aesthetic normativity in favour of regulativity and exemplarity. This will allow a regulative approach to the aesthetic normativity that would like to contribute to a better definition of it within the contemporary debate.


Lauren Ware, The Show Must Go On: Obligatory selfies, aesthetic self-creation, and choice

When beauty beckons, must we accept the invitation? If we accept, are we aesthetically blameworthy to later cancel? Robbie Kubala has recently offered a defence of the existence of aesthetic obligations, grounding them in “the connections that certain aesthetic considerations have to our practical identities” (2018, 271). To the extent that we can make self-promises, we can generate aesthetic obligations when those promises concern aesthetic objects. In this paper, I raise two concerns for Kubala’s claim: the first regarding whether accepting this grounding commits us to a disconcerting level of control over our choice of what, and who, we love; the second regarding whether accepting this grounding commits us to ritual self-destruction.


The workshop is funded by the University of Padova through the initiative “Supporting TAlent in ReSearch@University of Padova” – STARS Grants (Starting Grant 2018-2020, APAI – “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, P.I. Dr. Elisa Caldarola).

For more information you can visit the website of the event on the research blog A Philosophy of Art Installation.

Workshop: Aesthetic Normativity (Padova, 10 June 2019)

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