London Aesthetics Forum

London Aesthetics Forum
1 March 2019, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Room 246, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU


Aesthetic Judgments as Invitations


Nick Riggle (University of San Diego)




Aesthetic judgments play a distinctive role in social life. What is this role and what theory of aesthetic judgment best explains it? By way of answering these questions, I develop a social constraint on theories of aesthetic judgment: such theories should explain how social expressions of aesthetic judgment typically occasion supererogatory “communal successes” or suberogatory “communal failures”. I consider whether two theories of aesthetic judgment meet this constraint—Kant’s and a recent proposal by Richard Moran—and argue that neither succeeds. I present an alternative theory according to which typical aesthetic judgments are invitations to appreciate and argue that this view best meets the social constraint. To this end, I specify the relevant speech act of invitation by developing the idea of a “pure” invitation and distinguishing this from “advisory” invitations. I argue that the illocutionary force of typical aesthetic judgments is purely invitational.



The London Aesthetics Forum (LAF) is a Forum of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. With lectures on topics in aesthetics and philosophy of art, LAF aims to stimulate philosophical reflection on art. Our events are free and open to all.

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