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Acting for Aesthetic Reasons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Maria Alvarez, Aaron Ridley

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-84
Issue number1
Early online dateMar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


King's Authors


It seems natural to think that there are aesthetic reasons for action and that an artist must be guided by such reasons as he or she sets about her canvas or poem or symphony or marble. This latter supposition seems at odds, however, not only with classical inspiration theory but also with the views of one of the last century’s most important philosophers of art, R.G. Collingwood. We propose an account of acting for an aesthetic reason inspired by G.E.M. Anscombe’s Intention, and specifically by her concept of ‘practical knowledge’, that we believe can accommodate Collingwood’s reservations about the sort of knowledge of their ends, and of the means to those ends, that artists have as they engage in their creative activity.

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