The Aesthetic Autonomy

Discuss the problem of aesthetic autonomy by focusing on one of the above issues: criticism, the ethical content of art, the public role of monuments and murals, or the ‘propaganda’ value of art. How, if at all, can art and aesthetic value play important political or ethical roles. Should it play those roles? What is aesthetic value such that it may or may not have such power?  read this below and use the sources in the prompt to construct an argument that completes the prompt above. The Aesthetic and the Practical  Paul C. Taylor discusses the ‘problem of aesthetic autonomy’: What is the connection, if any, between ethics and politics, on the one hand, and aesthetic value and art (or ‘expressive culture’) on the other?  Here is the problem: Art and aesthetic value either have or lack ethical and political import. If art and aesthetic value do have ethical and political import, then what’s the point of art? Shouldn’t we just engage in direct political and ethical action? Wouldn’t that be a more effective means of change? If art and aesthetic value do not have ethical and political import, then it is irrelevant. Even if it has some value, it pales in comparison to the value of a better ethical and political world.  The two historical figures we studied have different responses to this. Kant argues that beauty and aesthetic judgment are autonomous. Aesthetic judgments are grounded in a disinterested pleasure and beauty gives rise to such pleasures. When we find something beautiful our judgement is perfectly ‘free’—free of our own desires and free of the compulsion of others. Schiller, in contrast, argues that aesthetic value is inseparable from social and political value.  Since our study of Kant and Schiller, we have explored several points of contact between art/aesthetic value and ethics/politics:  • Criticism as Practical Reason: According to Anthony Cross, critical reasons are practical reasons, not theoretical reasons. They give us reasons to act in certain ways.  • The Intrinsic Question: Can ethical content condition aesthetic value? AW Eaton argues that it can and does in Titian’s Rape of Europa, whose ethical disvalue diminishes its aesthetic value.  • Art and Collective Valuing: Monuments and murals (in post-revolution Mexico, or in the Jim Crow South) can function as sites and sources of collective valuing, for better or worse.  • Art as Propaganda: W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul C. Taylor argue that art has a propagandistic function, serving to help individuals and groups construct a sense of self or identity.  thank you, and please, please, please read the prompt !!!!!! I also attached a reading from W.E.B Dubois that you can use as a source if you need it.

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