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Abstract

Disinterestedness, a comparatively recent concept in aesthetics, is commonly held to be one of the characteristics of an appropriate response to art, but can be understood in a number of senses. Three varieties are distinguished: a strong form which confines attention exclusively to the internal relations of the work of art; a moderate variety which links internal and external features of the work but solely within the cognitive domain; and a weak form which permits the appreciator to draw on a wide range of external referents but proscribes purely idiosyncratic responses. An illustration is given of the confusion which can arise from failure to respect these differences. Only the weak form of disinterestedness appears to be viable, and it is discussed in more detail.

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