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Thought Experiments in Aesthetics: the case of Pierre Menard

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In the burgeoning literature on thought experiments, examples are drawn from almost all areas of philosophy, one exception, however, being aesthetics. There are good reasons why this is so:  there are very few interesting theory-oriented thought experiments in aesthetics, which is unsurprising since there are few well-developed theories to test in this field. In this talk I’ll discuss at some length the one major exception to this rule, namely, a series of anti-Goodmanian thought experiments inspired by a 1939 short story by the Argentine writer, Jorge Luis Borges. I’ll try to show how these argumentative thought experiments have worked. In conclusion I shall briefly discuss a different sort of thought experimentation that is quite prevalent in artistic and aesthetic domains.

Delivered in English
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