Should we take into account an artist’s personal moral failings when appreciating or evaluating the work? In this essay, I seek to expand Berys Gaut’s account of ethicism by showing how moral judgment of an artist’s private moral actions can figure in one’s overall evaluation of their work. To expand Gaut’s view, I argue that the artist’s personal morality is relevant to our evaluation of their work because we may only come to understand the point of view of the work, and therefore the work’s prescribed attitude, by examining the values, attitudes, and behaviors of the artist. This view is defended against a rival account offered by Bernard Wills and Jason Holt, which holds that the artistic evaluation of an artist’s work is independent from the moral evaluation of their life except in extreme cases.

Included in

Aesthetics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.