Aesthetic Adjectives and Disagreements about Taste

March 14, 2014
Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London

Room G22/26
Senate House, Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU
United Kingdom

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Sponsor(s):

  • British Society of Aesthetics

All speakers:

Shen-Yi Liao
Nanyang Technological University
Louise McNally
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Aaron Meskin
University of Leeds
Isidora Stojanovic
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Tim Sundell
University of Kentucky
Nick Zangwill
University of Hull

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This workshop will bring together researchers in aesthetics, philosophy of language and linguistics to consider a topic significant to all these domains: aesthetic adjectives, such as ‘beautiful’, ‘ugly’, ‘elegant’ and ‘unified’, and their role in disagreements about taste. Although theorists working on the semantics of adjectives have developed sophisticated theories about gradable adjectives generally and have explored the closely related class of adjectives known as predicates of ‘personal taste’ (e.g., ‘tasty’ and ‘fun’), they have tended to avoid studying aesthetic adjectives, which play a central role in the evaluation of art. At the same time, philosophical aestheticians have a longstanding interest in the nature and use of aesthetic adjectives, perhaps most closely associated with the work of Frank Sibley. But despite the interest in aesthetic language in general and aesthetic adjectives in particular, philosophical aestheticians have been notably resistant to engaging with the current theories of the semantics of adjectives that are found in linguistics and philosophy of language. The aim of this workshop is to help remedy these lacunae by enhancing the dialogue between aesthetics on the one hand, and philosophy of language and linguistics on the other. 

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March 13, 2014, 9:00am BST

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