Department Chair:
Martin Thomson-Jones

Administrative Assistant:
Brenda Handley

Department Email:

Phone: 440 775 8390
Fax: 440 775 8084

King Buiding 105
10 North Professor Street
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Visiting Speaker Series

Visiting Speaker Series


 Aesthetic Autonomy and Artistic Heteronomy


Robert Stecker

Central Michigan University

This paper is about the nature of and the relation between aesthetic value and artistic value.  Some people think they have a common nature, that there is really just one value but two ways to refer to it.  Others think that they are different values and have to explain how they are to be distinguished.

My view is that they are different values.  I distinguish them by claiming that aesthetic value is independent and underived from other values - is autonomous in one sense, while artistic value is derived from and depends on other values - that it is constituted, as it were, by these other values.  It is heteronymous.

Those who think that there is just one value here approach this claim from two very different perspectives.  Some think that aesthetic value is to be defined in whatever way we define artistic value.  First find out what artistic value is.  Then you will know what aesthetic value is.  Others think the reverse.  And this can lead to very different results.  Some who think that artistic value is basic make artistic/aesthetic value heteronymous.  Some who think that aesthetic value is basic make aesthetic/artistic value autonomous.

I will begin by explaining my own conception of these values according to which aesthetic value is autonomous in the relevant sense and artistic value heteronymous.  I will then examine the arguments for the alternative views and show they are unpersuasive.


Thursday, March 7, 4:30 p.m.

King 343


More about Robert Stecker