Artistic Creation and Ethical Criticism, a study in philosophical aesthetics, investigates an idea that underpins the ethical criticism of art but that is rarely acknowledged and poorly understood - namely, that the ethical criticism of art involves judgments not only of the attitudes a work endorses or solicits, but of what artists do to create the work. The book pioneers an innovative production-oriented approach to the study of the ethical criticism of art - one that will provide a detailed philosophical account of the intersection of ethics and artistic creation as well as conceptual tools that can guide future philosophizing and criticism.
Ted Nannicelli offers three arguments concerning the ethical criticism of art. First, he argues that judgments of an artwork's ethical value are already often made in terms of how it was created, and examines why some art forms more readily lend themselves to this form of ethical appraisal than others. He then asserts that production-oriented evaluations of artworks are less contested than other sorts of ethical criticism and so lead to certain practical consequences-from censure, dismissal, and prosecution to shifts in policy and even legislation. Finally, Nannicelli defends the production-oriented approach, arguing that it is not only tacit in many of our art appreciative practices, but is in fact rationally warranted. There are many cases in which we should ethically critique artworks in terms of how they are created because this approach handles cases that other approaches cannot and results in plausible judgments about the works' relative ethical and artistic value. The concise, powerful arguments presented here will appeal to moral philosophers, philosophers of art and aesthetics, and critics interested in the intersection of artistic production and criticism and ethics.