Nick Riggle (University of San Diego)

“Aesthetic Judgments as Invitations”

March 1, 16:00-18:00, Room 246, Senate House



Aesthetic claims have prima facie imperatival force. Claims like “That is beautiful” are typically interchangeable with claims like “Look at the beauty of that”. What explains this? I argue that it is neither a conversational nor conventional implicature but a feature of the type of speech act we typically perform in aesthetic discourse. Understanding the speech act requires understanding the force of the imperative, and among the several options a few stand out: demand, recommendation, request, and invitation. To adjudicate between these options, I develop an account of the normative character of aesthetic discourse. I argue that the invitation reading best aligns with this. I distinguish between “pure” and “advisory” invitations and develop the view that the illocutionary force of typical aesthetic claims is a hybrid of a report and an invitation. I spell out some interesting consequences for the normativity of aesthetic judgment.