Keren Gorodeisky will present the talk "Peculiarly Her Own: On Personality in Aesthetic Appreciation".
Abstract: Even brief reflection on our aesthetic loves suggests that they are closely tied to who we are as persons. Would I not have been different had I not appreciated the music I love, the films I go back to, the woods I am never tired of hiking in, the novels I keep quoting? The novelist and essayist Zadie Smith reflects on her change from hating Joni Mitchell’s music to being someone who deeply appreciates it, and writes: “But when I think of that Joni Mitchell-hating pilgrim […] I truly cannot understand the language of my former heart. Who was that person?” For her, the change from disliking an artwork, an artist, or another beauty to appreciating it often involves “a breach in that stolid edifice the human personality.” Those who pursue this tie between aesthetic appreciation and personality in philosophy have argued that it is incompatible with the thought that aesthetic value is universal. According to them, those who hold, like Immanuel Kant, that each beauty and artwork merits “everyone’s” appreciation need to give up on the thought that we are shaped by our appreciative engagements. In this paper, I show that they are wrong. That aesthetic value merits everyone’s appreciation is compatible with the thought that it shapes who we are as persons. In fact, understood correctly, aesthetic universality does not only allow aesthetic appreciation to shape our diverse personalities, but also requires such a shaping, celebrates aesthetic personality, and explains the idea of aesthetic personality better than those who forgo universality. Or so I argue in this paper.
Keren Gorodeisky works on aesthetics, Kant, pleasure, value and rationality. In her book project, she defends an account of aesthetic value that occupies a neglected alternative between contemporary aesthetic hedonism and its non-affective cognitive denial. This project concerns issues in the epistemology of emotions, evaluative perception, reasons, agency and fittingness. Additionally, she works on the logical form and sui generis type of rationality of Kant’s notion of aesthetic judgment, and on his theory of judgment. Gorodeisky and Eric Marcus were selected as the winners of the second Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize for their paper “Aesthetic Rationality." Gorodeisky was the 2012-13 Phillip Quinn Felllow at the National Humanities Center. View a full list of publications.