Art and the Question of Moral Values: A Moderatist Perspective

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Owosho, S.A.
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Department of Philosophy, Olabisi Onabanjo University
A major theme of discussion within the recent philosophical aesthetics is concerned with the relation between the moral aspect in the works of art and their overall artistic value. Ethicists believe that much contemporary art seems morally out of control, yet philosophers seem to have trouble finding the right way to morally evaluate works of art. It is against this background that this paper proposes a philosophical inquiry into the relations between artistic values and moral values. This paper identifies two opposing philosophical positions with respect to the legitimacy of the moral evaluation of art: Moralism and Autonomism. While moralism is the view that the aesthetic value of art should be determined by its moral value, autonomism holds that it is inappropriate to apply moral categories to art; rather they should be evaluated by aesthetic standard value. The paper rejects autonomism and moralism as extreme and untenable philosophical theories of art. It further examines moderate autonomism and moderate moralism as plausible theories. It argues for the adoption of moderate moralism as the appropriate philosophical theory for the moral evaluation of art
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Aesthetics , Autonomism , Moderate Autonomism , Moralism , Moderate Moralism
Owosho S.A. (2013). Art and the Question of Moral Values: A Moderatist Perspective, Journal of Philosophy and Development, 14 (1), ISSN: 177-7678, Department of Philosophy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, 176-191