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philosophy of art
1. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Iris Vidmar Introduction
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2. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
David Davies Making Sense of ‘Popular Art’
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The aims of this paper are twofold: first, to identify a sense of ‘popular art’ in which the question, ‘can there be popular art?’ is interesting and the answer to this question is not obvious; second, to propose and defend a challenging but attractive answer to this question: challenging in that it draws some distinctions we might not initially be inclined to draw, and attractive in offering a productive way of thinking about the ontology, epistemology, and axiology of the kinds of artifacts proposed as examples of ‘popular art’. I take the ‘interesting’ question to be whether, given a way of distinguishing artworks from other kinds of artifacts, there can be artworks that meet the conditions set out by Noel Carroll for what he terms ‘mass art’. I sketch a way of thinking about the distinction between artworks and other artifacts—what I term the neo-Goodmanian approach—and then explore the implications of the neo-Goodmanian approach for the existence of ‘popular art’, and vice versa. In so doing, I subsume these issues under a more general problem for the neo-Goodmanian—what I term the problem of ‘fast art’. I argue that, while the neo-Goodmanian can embrace artworks that are ‘popular’ in the sense of being targeted at a wide audience, she should insist that there cannot be artworks that meet all of Carroll’s requirements for being ‘mass art’.
3. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
James R. Hamilton Aesthetic and Artistic Verdicts
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In this article I propose a way of thinking about aesthetic and artistic verdicts that would keep them distinct from one another. The former are reflections of the kinds of things we prefer and take pleasure in; the latter are reflections of other judgments we make about the kinds of achievements that are made in works of art. In part to support this view of verdicts, I also propose a way of keeping distinct the description, the interpretation, and the evaluation of works of art. (And along the way, I worry about whether we offer the same kinds of interpretations of the objects of our aesthetic pleasures, properly considered, that we clearly do offer with respect to works of art.) The thesis I propose—the achievement model—is not original with me. What is original, perhaps, is that it is posed as an alternative to two other views of artistic evaluation, namely the appeal to “ideal critics” and the appeal to one way of understanding our preferences with regard to works of art. I do not attempt to show that each of these alternatives meets with insuperable problems; but I do indicate what I take to be the substantive content of those problems. In the end, in order to flesh out the thesis I propose, I borrow some material from the literature on human well-being concerning how we determine what an achievement is.
4. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Stephen Snyder Artistic Conversations: Artworks and Personhood
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This essay explores claims made frequently by artists, critics, and philosophers that artworks bear personifying traits. Rejecting the notion that artists possess the Pygmalion-like power to bring works of art to life, the article looks seriously at how parallels may exist between the ontological structures of the artwork and human personhood. The discussion focuses on Arthur Danto’s claim that the “artworld” itself manifests properties that are an imprint of the historical representation of the “world.” These “world” representations are implicitly embodied in the artist’s style. The “world” that is stamped on the people of a historical period entails a point of view that influences how they might act, something like the logic that guides a conversation. This “conversational” logic is also extant in the artworks that artists of a given period create. This analysis of Danto’s account of how people are connected to their world clarifies Danto’s assertions that a parallel structure of personification in the artwork and the human exists. It also explains his claims that artworks themselves appear to be in a kind of dialogue.
5. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Deodáth Zuh Art History without Theory: A Case Study in 20th Century Scholarship
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This paper aims to demonstrate that art history’s need for theory remains relevant as the process of research advances. The paper rests on a case study from 1950s Hungary. Lajos Fülep composed an interesting opponent’s review on the 1955 doctoral thesis of Hungarian Renaissance scholar, Jolán Balogh. Fülep disapproves not of the lack of theory in Balogh’s scholarly work, but of her theoretical encroachments without an awareness of a basic need for theorizing. Behind Fülep’s critical review there apparently stands the instinctive idea of a Lakatosian scientific research programme. If a historian of art does not pursue a research programme, her work could easily lose its coherence and resonance. Without a research programme, there is no room left either for internal, or for external histories. One also has to consider, whether in the case of art, internal-normative history is governed by the problem of aesthetic value and whether the external-empirical history could be only formulated in these terms. If so, then a theory-unaware history of art would fail to reconstruct how different art-making individuals conceived of aesthetic properties. In line with this idea, the second part of this paper reflects on the status of research programmes in art historical practice.
6. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
David Collins Aesthetic Possibilities of Cinematic Improvisation
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Contrary to the skepticism of some authors about the artistic potential or even the possibility of films being improvised artworks, I argue that not only is it conceptually possible for many elements of the filmmaking process to be performed in an improvisatory manner, but that a number of existing films and filmmaking practices provide examples of the realization of such possibilities. Further, I argue that these examples show that improvisation by filmmakers can enhance the aesthetic or artistic value of a film. As well as its artistic potential, I consider some social and ethical implications of improvisatory approaches to filmmaking, and by extension to art in general.
7. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Adam Andrzejewski Tasting the Truth: The Role of Food and Gustatory Knowledge in Hannibal
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The paper provides a philosophical analysis of the role of food and eating in Hannibal. In the classical epistemological paradigm of detective fiction knowledge is linked with the sense of sight. This means that knowledge required for solving a detective mystery is objective and intersubjective in its nature. I argue that in order to understand Dr. Lecter’s motives, it is necessary to adopt the different epistemological model whereby valuable information is acquired through the senses of taste and smell. The protagonist displays mastery of the two senses through the use of his culinary skills. This fact explains how Lecter can control over the whole intrigue through the series.
8. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
James O. Young Literary Fiction and the Cultivation of Virtue
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Many philosophers have claimed that reading literary fiction makes people more virtuous. This essay begins by defending the view that this claim is empirical. It goes on to review the empirical literature and finds that this literature supports the claim philosophers have made. Three mechanisms are identified whereby reading literary fiction makes people more virtuous: empathy is increased when readers enter imaginatively into the lives of fictional characters; reading literary fiction promotes self-reflection; and readers mimic the prosocial behaviour of fictional characters. The paper concludes with a caution: there is a danger that readers could mimic antisocial behaviour displayed in literary fiction. If they do, reading some literary fiction could make readers less virtuous.
9. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Britt Harrison Introducing Cinematic Humanism: A Solution to the Problem of Cinematic Cognitivism
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A Cinematic Humanist approach to film is committed inter alia to the following tenet: Some fiction films illuminate the human condition thereby enriching our understanding of ourselves, each other and our world. As such, Cinematic Humanism might reasonably be regarded as an example of what one might call ‘Cinematic Cognitivism’. This assumption would, however, be mistaken. For Cinematic Humanism is an alternative, indeed a corrective, to Cinematic Cognitivism. Motivating the need for such a corrective is a genuine scepticism about the very notion of the cognitive. Using historical reconstruction, I reveal how ‘cognitive’ has become a multiply ambiguous, theory-laden term in the wake of, indeed as a consequence of, Noam Chomsky’s original stipulative definition. This generates a constitutive problem for cognitivism as both a research programme and a set of claims, and as such poses a trilemma for philosophers of film, art and beyond. I propose a Cinematic Humanist solution to the problematic commitments of cognitive film theorising and, in so doing, gesture towards a methodology I am calling ‘philosophy of film without theory’.
10. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Iris Vidmar Literature and Truth: Revisiting Stolnitz’s Anti-cognitivism
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In this paper I address Jerome Stolnitz’s famous article “On the cognitive triviality of art,” with the aim of defending aesthetic and literary cognitivism against the charges Stolnitz issues at it therein. My defence of literary cognitivism is grounded in contemporary epistemology, which, I argue, is more embracive of cognitive values of literature traditionally invoked by literary cognitivists. My discussion is structured against Stolnitz’s individual arguments, dedicated in particular to the problem of literary truth. After exploring what such notion might amount to, I move on to address the problems of applicability and triviality of literary truths, and I end by defending literature as a cognitively valuable social practice.
book review
11. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 2
Alen Lipuš Philip Goff, Consciousness and Fundamental Reality
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political philosophy
12. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Larry S. Temkin Neutrality and the Relations between Different Possible Locations of the Good
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This article explores and challenges several common assumptions regarding what neutrality requires of us in assessing outcomes. In particular, I consider whether we should be neutral between different possible locations of the good: space, time, and people. I suggest that from a normative perspective we should treat space differently than time, and people differently than space and time. I also argue that in some cases we should give priority to people over space and time, and to time over space, but that, controversially, in some cases we should give priority to time over people.
13. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Jonathan Seglow Religious Accommodation: An Egalitarian Defence
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This paper offers a distinctively egalitarian defence of religious accommodation in contrast to the rights-based approaches of contemporary legal thinking. It argues that we can employ the Rawlsian idea of a fair framework of co-operation to model the way that accommodation claimants reason with others (such as their employers) when they wish to be released from generally applicable rules. While participants in social institutions have ‘framework obligations’ to adhere to the rules those institutions involve, they also have ‘democratic obligations’ to re-consider and on occasion revise those rules which set back participants basic interest, including individuals’ interest in manifesting their religion or belief. A number of objections to accommodation are considered, and it’s argued that the personal responsibility objection is most serious. It’s argued that responsibility can be interpreted through the notion of identification which in turn can be conceptualised through the ideal of integrity, and that the value of integrity in fact counts in favour of accommodation claims. The paper also offers replies to other objections to religious accommodation including the problem of proliferation, the problem of illiberal beliefs and the rewarding the doctrinaire objection.
14. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Sebastián Rudas Being a Progressive in Divinitia
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In Liberalism’s Religion, Cécile Laborde defends a theory of liberal secularism that is compatible with a minimal separation of religion and politics. According to her view, liberal state—she calls it Divinitia—that symbolically establishes the historic majority’s religious doctrine and inspires some of its legislation on a conservative interpretation of such religious tradition can be legitimate. In this article I analyse how is it like to belong to the minority of liberal progressive citizens in a country like Divinitia. I argue that their political activism will be defeated by Divinitia’s status quo on at least four different grounds. First, in virtue of being a minority, liberal progressive citizens would rarely obtain democratic victories; second, the conservative majority could rightly argue that they do not have reasons to compromise their views in order to accommodate progressives’; third, the conservative majority can rightly complain that counter-majoritarian initiatives advanced by progressives are unfair; and four, Divinitia’s public reason reproduces an asymmetry, for religiously inspired reasons can be accessible and therefore justifiatory in politics, while the reasons progressives would desire to present in public deliberation would not be accessible to their conservative fellow citizens.
15. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Miklos Zala Laborde’s Liberalism’s Religion: The Problem of Religious Exemptions
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In this paper, I critically examine Cécile Laborde’s Liberalism’s Religion and argue that her approach to religious exemptions faces significant difficulties. I first highlight some methodological disagreements with Laborde’s theory. I raise concerns about her theory’s ‘two-pronged’ structure being too narrow. Moreover, Laborde’s ‘disaggregation approach’ promises a context-sensitive, bottom-up theory of exemptions which examines exemption claims on a case-by-case basis, but instead offers a top-down theory that provides an idealized explanation for potentially all religious exemption cases. I argue that a non-ideal approach which does not offer an overarching explanation of exemptions is preferable to Laborde’s. Next, I discuss further problems with Laborde’s theory, which concern her assumption that if there is something ‘ethically salient’ about religious practices, it must be located at the personal level. Laborde claims that if we want to ascertain the ethical salience of a practice, we must focus on the relationship between the person and her commitments. But this individualistic focus cannot always account for why we want to accommodate religious practices. Such practices, I claim, are sometimes accommodated not on an individual, but on a group-based rationale. Finally, I address Laborde’s dismissal of the analogy between religion and disability. Laborde’s view regarding disabilities and the stated analogy is unsatisfactory in two respects: it is based on the medical model of disability and it overlooks the role of the environment in turning physical impairments into disabilities.
16. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Sergio Filippo Magni Procreative Beneficence toward Whom?
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This article deals with a discussion of Savulescu’s impersonal version of the Principle of Procreative Beneficence and its relationship with a person-affecting Principle of Harm in order to evaluate the cases of selection of which child to have. It aims to show some problems in Savulescu’s attempt to arrange the two principles (the conflict between beneficence and harm, the limitation of beneficence to pre-conception selection, the extension of beneficence to different quantity people choice), and to propose an alternative version of Procreative Beneficence (a narrow person-affecting version), in order to avoid these problems.
17. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Manuel Knoll Michael Walzer’s Republican Theory of Distributive Justice: “Complex Equality” as Equal Freedom from Domination
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This article presents a republican interpretation of Michael Walzer’s theory of distributive justice and of his idea of complex equality. It demonstrates that Spheres of Justice is not only a defense of pluralism and equality (as the subtitle announces), but also of liberty or freedom. Like Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit, Walzer understands liberty as nondomination. For Walzer, a just distribution of all social goods leads to a “complex egalitarian society” in which every citizen is equally free from domination and tyranny. Against alternative interpretations, this paper suggests that Walzer is indeed a political egalitarian and that complex equality should be interpreted as a simple equality of liberty or freedom. In the conclusion, the article argues that Walzer’s and Pettit’s versions of republicanism are complementary because they each illuminate the other’s blind spot and thus mutually fix each other’s particular shortcoming.
18. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Ivan Cerovac The Epistemic Value of Partisanship
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This paper discusses the epistemic value of political parties and other partisan associations from the standpoint of epistemic democracy. It examines whether political parties contribute to the quality of democratic deliberation, thus increasing the epistemic value of democratic decision-making procedures, or represent a threat that polarizes the society and impedes and distorts the public deliberation. The paper introduces several arguments that support the epistemic value of partisanship. Partisan associations empower otherwise marginalized social groups or groups that have disproportionally small political influence by facilitating political education or by connecting citizens and experts who share the same values. Partisan associations also help us resist the epistemically damaging effects of hermeneutical (epistemic) injustice by enabling marginalized citizens to construct alternative discourses. However, though partisanship might facilitate the transmission of knowledge, this deliberative tool will only be used in a group of like-minded citizens (i.e. within a political party), thus increasing the polarization between the parties and citizens alike, and decreasing the epistemic value of such collective decision-making procedures. The paper analyses some epistemic strategies (like red-teaming or building a critical thinking culture) that can help us avoid or (at least) reduce the epistemically damaging effects of polarization. However, internal action (from within a deliberative group) might not be enough. Making the deliberation on political issues public and spreading it through different forms of citizens’ organizations will ensure that political deliberation is not closed within a single homogenous deliberating group (i.e. the party). These practices should significantly reduce the damaging effects of group polarization.
19. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Nenad Miščević Populists, Samaritans and Cosmopolitans: What is the Right Alliance?
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In the last decade the international situation has been marked on the one hand by refugee crisis, and on the other by right-wing populist reaction to it. This constellation forces a new playground for the traditional philosophical cosmopolitan–nationalist debate. The moral and political issues raised in this new context concern duties to “strangers at our doors”, and these duties and the awareness of them are the first step in a cosmopolitan but realistic direction. Cosmopolitanism now has to start as “samaritan” cosmopolitanism, openness to and engagement for the close and present strangers. Once the present urgent problems are on the way to be solved, we should turn our attention to deeper causes of the crisis. These causes are the evils traditionally discussed by cosmopolitan authors, from dramatic North-South inequalities, to exploitation and warmongering done by the richest countries. The initial samaritan motivation naturally leads to attention to deeper issues, and toward a more ideal cosmopolitan theory. The resulting Samaritan-to-deeper-measures model fits well with Ypi’s engagement with the principle/activism divide, and offers a way of understanding, and hopefully, overcoming it. At the meta-level it connects the appeal to empathy as the relevant moral sentiment and the more rationalist, contractualist justification of global justice.
articles
20. Croatian Journal of Philosophy: Volume > 19 > Issue: 1
Radim Bělohrad On Three Attempts to Rebut the Evans Argument against Indeterminate Identity
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The goal of this paper is to assess three arguments that have been proposed to rebut the idea that the notion of indeterminate identity is incoherent. In the first part, the author presents Gareth Evans’ argument purporting to show the incoherence of indeterminate identity. Next, the author assesses a rebuttal proposed by E. J. Lowe. Although the rebuttal seems sound, Harold Noonan has shown that its scope is limited. After that, a rebuttal by Peter van Inwagen is analysed. The author compares it with Lowe’s and shows that consistent application of the principles van Inwagen uses leads to objects having inconsistent properties. In the final part, it is shown that although the answer proposed by Terence Parsons seems superior to both van Inwagen’s and Lowe’s, its scope is also limited. As a result, Evans’ argument seems to stand unrefuted by these three counterarguments.