Art and Ethics in a Material World
Kant’s Pragmatist Legacy
Routledge – 2014 – 234 pages
In this book, McMahon argues that a reading of Kant’s body of work in the light of a pragmatist theory of meaning and language (which arguably is a Kantian legacy) leads one to put community reception ahead of individual reception in the order of aesthetic relations. A core premise of the book is that neo-pragmatism draws attention to an otherwise overlooked aspect of Kant’s "Critique of Aesthetic Judgment," and this is the conception of community which it sets forth.
While offering an interpretation of Kant’s aesthetic theory, the book focuses on the implications of Kant’s third critique for contemporary art. McMahon draws upon Kant and his legacy in pragmatist theories of meaning and language to argue that aesthetic judgment is a version of moral judgment: a way to cultivate attitudes conducive to community, which plays a pivotal role in the evolution of language, meaning, and knowledge.
1. Introduction: The Ethical Dimension of Art 2. Perceiving Intention in Order 3. Finding Fault with Feeling 4. Reasoning Our Way to Pleasure 5. Talking Morals 6. Imagining Freedom 7. Cultivating Genius 8. Meaning and Morals: A Post-Kantian Conception of Art and Community
Jennifer A. McMahon is Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Adelaide, South Australia.