The Normativity of Aesthetic Judgements

  • Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), 2017 – 2020
  • Directed by Fabian Dorsch (University of Fribourg)


One of the central questions in aesthetics is how aesthetic judgements (i.e. judgements that ascribe aesthetic properties to artworks, natural objects, etc.) can be justified. For example, while it is reasonable to take Hamlet to be one of the best tragedies ever written, it would be indefensible to judge it to be merely a mediocre drama. But it has proven very difficult to say what it means for the first opinion to be more justified than the second. The present project aims to explore the extent to which Aesthetic Rationalism – which takes aesthetic judgements to be justified inferentially and based on reasoning – can satisfactorily answer this question and be defended as a viable alternative to the more empiricist or sentimentalist approaches to the justification of aesthetic judgements that have been put forward by Hume, Kant and their followers and still dominate the contemporary debate in aesthetics.