Varieties of Response-Dependence: A Critique of Zangwill

Elizabeth Zeron Compton


The dispositional nature of aesthetic properties is taken by some to be a problem for aesthetic property realism.  Nick Zangwill argues that because aesthetic properties supervene on sensory properties such as color, they must be secondary qualities, and his response-dependence account of secondary qualities leads him to aesthetic nonrealism about sensory properties and then aesthetic properties.  I find that Zangwill's treatment of sensory property dispositions falls prey to a confusion of the dispositions and their manifestations, and his argument moves too quickly from conceptual to ontological response-dependence.  The possibility of a realist dispositional account of sensory and aesthetic properties remains open.


Response-dependence; Dispositions; Sensory Properties; Color; Aesthetic Properties

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