Digital Commons@RISD Home > Division of Liberal Arts > Contemporary Aesthetics (Journal Archive) > Vol. 13 (2015)
In this paper I identify a new group of aesthetic norms, which I call norms of cultivation. Judgments of taste are often accompanied by forecasts or expectations about future aesthetic satisfaction. When we find something beautiful, we expect to find it beautiful in the future. Forecasting is at play in all sorts of aesthetically motivated behavior. Yet psychologists have observed an unreliability in such forecasts. As a result of forecasting error, what we take as our taste can be an unreliable guide in our aesthetic lives. Compensating for the unreliability of taste are norms of cultivation, implicit rules for engaging objects, such as avoiding overexposure to favored objects or exposure under unfavorable conditions. Norms of cultivation help to regularize aesthetic experience, mitigating unreliability in forecasts, and fostering the ongoing stability and coherence of taste.