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 claims have prima facie imperatival force. Claims like “That is beautiful” are typically interchangeable with claims like “Look at the beauty of that”. What explains this? I argue that it is neither a conversational nor conventional implicature but a feature of the type of speech act we typically perform in aesthetic discourse. Understanding the speech act requires understanding the force of the imperative, and among the several options a few stand out: demand, recommendation, request, and invitation. To adjudicate between these options, I develop an account of the normative character of aesthetic discourse. I argue that the invitation reading best aligns with this. I distinguish between “pure" and “advisory" invitations and develop the view that the illocutionary force of typical aesthetic claims is a hybrid of a report and an invitation. I spell out some interesting consequences for the normativity of aesthetic judgment.



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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