The Virtue of Aesthetic Courage

Alan T Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Theorists have recently been exploring the prospects for a virtue-centred approach to aesthetics. Virtue aesthetics encourages a re-focusing of philosophical attention onto the aesthetic character traits of agents, in the same way that virtue ethics and virtue epistemology have encouraged us to focus on moral and intellectual traits. In this paper, I aim to contribute to the development of virtue aesthetics by discussing aesthetic courage, the aesthetic analogue of one of the most widely acknowledged moral virtues. In addition to proposing an account of the nature of this trait, I also argue that aesthetic courage is vital for any sort of aesthetically virtuous life. It is not possible to possess any aesthetic virtue without possessing aesthetic courage. It will, therefore, be important for any future development of virtue aesthetics to acknowledge the central importance of aesthetic courage.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberayaa022
Pages (from-to)455-469
JournalThe British Journal of Aesthetics
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Virtue aesthetics
  • Virtue
  • Courage
  • Aesthetics
  • Aesthetic courage
  • virtue ethics


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