The paper defends everyday aesthetics against critiques inspired by Kant’s distinction between the agreeable and the beautiful, such as that of Christopher Dowling. It does this by focusing on analysis of the concept of the pretty. Following Carolyn Korsmeyer and A. C. Bradley, I posit a continuum for the aesthetic, from the pretty to the beautiful and finally to the sublime. After giving a history of the concept of 'pretty,' I consider its largely gendered nature and the feminist issues this raises. I conclude by arguing that limiting aesthetics to art or to art plus nature ignores the continuity between everyday life and the arts first emphasized by John Dewey, and ignores the importance of aesthetic value in the parts of our lives not devoted to art.

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Aesthetics Commons



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