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Moral and Aesthetic Testimony



  Time: 5 June, 2017 - 6 June, 2017
  Location: School II, St Andrews
  The purpose of the conference is to bring together researchers from aesthetics and metaethics—especially moral epistemology—to discuss the nature of moral and aesthetic testimony. It has been observed that, while testimony is an important and perfectly good source of justification and knowledge in most domains, there is something odd about basing one’s moral and aesthetic beliefs (purely) on the testimony of others. For example, while I can know that there’s an ATM around the corner purely on the basis of your testimony, and basing my belief on this testimony seems totally unproblematic (assuming I don’t have reason to think you’re lying, unreliable, etc.), basing my belief that eating meat is morally wrong, or that the new painting in the gallery is beautiful wholly on your testimony is problematic in some way. This conference will explore questions such as, ‘What, if anything, is problematic about this?’, ‘What does this mean for the possibility of moral and aesthetic experts?’, and ‘Are there relevant asymmetries between the moral and aesthetic cases?’.


Monday, 5 June

  • 11:00-11:30 Coffee/Welcome

  • 11:30-13:00 Errol Lord Indirect Ways of Learning about Aesthetics and Morality: Deference, Inference, Appreciation, Expertise

  • 13:00-14:00 Lunch

  • 14:00-15:30 Louise Hanson Aesthetic Testimony: Why to be a Pessimist and How to be a Realist

  • 15:30-15:45 Break

  • 15:45-17:15 Aaron Meskin The Folk Theory of Aesthetic Testimony

  • 17:30-19:00 Reception

    19:30 Conference dinner at Forgan's

Tuesday, 6 June
  • 09:30-10:00 Coffee

  • 10:00-11:30 Alison Hills Testimony, Understanding and Virtue in Aesthetics

  • 11:30-13:00 Jonathan Robson Is there a Default View of Aesthetic Testimony?

  • 13:00-14:00 Lunch

  • 14:00-15:30 Julia Driver Deference, aesthetic worth, and the virtue of creativity

Please let us know if you would like to come by emailing either Justin Snedegar ( or Lisa Jones(

This conference is open to all philosophers in Scotland and beyond and is made possible by the generous support of the Scots Philosophical Association, the Mind Association and the British Society for Aesthetics.

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