Chairman’s Opening Remarks

  • Eva Schaper


Mr Elliott argues that British (and American) aestheticians are prone to identify aesthetic with critical discourse and that this implies that aesthetic judgements are in principle correct or incorrect. Whether they admit it or not, they are passing verdicts for which reasoned justification could be provided. This view, he maintains, is not merely unduly restrictive, it is essentially mistaken. It presupposes either some kind of natural norm (perhaps a common aesthetic sense), against which we can deploy the usual arguments from the history of taste, or some artificial norm created through consensus, which always involves the danger of becoming something which the critics impose upon a trusting public. Mr Elliott insists, by contrast, that taste is inherently free, and that any alternative view which does justice to this fact and allows for the possibility of a community of free taste, must be preferable. His own view moves the attitude of the lover of art, and not the critic, to the centre of the picture. The lover of art characteristically receives art works ‘with patience and favour’, in order to maximise beauty and heighten enjoyment.


Aesthetic Experience Artistic Object Aesthetic Judgement Intentional Analysis Artistic Criticism 
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Copyright information

© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Schaper

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