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rivista on-line del Seminario Permanente di Estetica

anno VI, numero 2

pag. 135
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$ Surve" o) $rtistic Value
From $nal"tic P%iloso%" to *euro.iolog"
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood

0o connect t%e desira.le and t%e desired, to connect values (it%
%uman needs and (is%es, is indeed t%e tas1 o) a naturalistic
t%eor" o) value. 2ut to ma1e t%is connection prematurel",
t%roug% an identi)ication o) intrinsic value (it% immediate
en3o"ments, encourages a dangerousl" one-sided approac% to
%uman pro.lems.
2eardsle" 415-567 18
In .eaut", %uman .eings posit t%emselves as t%e measure o)
per)ection9 in select cases, t%e" (ors%ip t%emselves in it. In t%is
(a", a species cannot %elp .ut sa" "es to itsel) and onl" itsel). Its
lowest instincts, t%ose o) sel)-preservation and sel)-propagation,
s%ine t%roug% in su.limities li1e t%ese. People t%in1 t%at t%e
(orld itsel) is over)lo(ing (it% .eaut", : t%e" forget t%at t%e" are
its cause. 0%e" t%emselves %ave given t%e (orld its .eaut" : .ut
o%; onl" a ver" %uman, all too %uman .eaut" . . .
Friedric% *ietsc%e 42''-67 2'1

P%ilosop%ers %ave long .een divided over t%e status o) artistic value. <onroe 2eardsle",
<alcolm 2udd, =. I. >e(is, and ot%ers %ave argued t%at art(or1s onl" %old value ?)rom
e@perienceA, t%at is, )rom perceiving t%em (it% t%e )ive senses and registering t%eir
re(arding properties, ps"c%ologicall"
. Suc% a vie( ma" seem o.vious to man"7 is it not
a truism t%at (e must perceive a t%ing .e)ore (e can rig%tl" 3udge its valueB Cit%out
)irst%and e@perience, %o( can (e claim to ?li1eA, ?disli1eA, or )eel ?indi))erentA a.out a
(or1 o) artB Det man" p%ilosop%ers %ave pro.lematied (%at (e call t%e ?e@perienceA
a (or1 o))ers. Eat%er t%an perceiving a (or1Fs properties ?directl"A, )or e@ample, man"
.elieve t%at e@periencing a (or1 is %ig%l" mediated ." epistemic and&or natural
varia.les, suc% as t%e degree to (%ic% a reader alread" 1no(s a.out a (or1Fs genre

2udd 42''367 2-8. : I Guote 2udd %ere .ecause %is (or1 o))ers t%e most circumspect account o)
value empiricism t%at I am a(are o).
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 13-
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conventions or (%et%er a (or1 appeals to %uman nature
. 0%ose c%allenging t%e idea
t%at artistic value is ?intrinsic to t%e (or1 in t%e sense t%at it is 4determined ."6 t%e
intrinsic value o) t%e e@perience t%e (or1 o))ersA, to repeat 2uddFs precise )ormulation,
include *oHl =arroll, Iendall Calton, E. $. S%arpe, and man" ot%ers 4proponents o) t%e
conceptual art movement, most nota.l"6 42udd J2''3K7 2-,6. For t%ese p%ilosop%ers and
artists, a (or1 o) art is valued on t%e .asis o) its normative and&or natural ?instrumental
valuesA, suc% as its moral message or adaptive advantage, rat%er t%an )or t%e ?intrinsic
valueA o) t%e e@perience it o))ers. L) t%ese t(o positions : Avalue empiricismA
42eardsle", 2udd6 and ?value instrumentalismA 4=arroll, Calton6 : t%e latter can .e t%e
most counterintuitive, since its main premise is t%at (e do not value (or1s )or an"t%ing
t%e" o))er )irst%and, )rom e@perience. It is eGuall" puling )or ne(comers to p%ilosop%"
o) art, I suspect, to entertain t%e idea t%at a (or1Fs value %as a natural, evolutionar"
.asis, "et at t%e same time to claim t%at precisel" .ecause o) t%is (e do not value t%e
(or1 )or t%e e@perience it o))ers, .ut rat%er )or its perceived 4not necessaril" real6
adaptive advantage 4c)r. =arroll J2'''K6. So I s%all tr" to clari)" t%e di))erent varieties o)
value instrumentalism .e)ore turning to an alternative account o) artistic value t%at
dra(s on neuro.iolog" 4t%e neuroscienti)ic investigation o) adaptive p%"siologies and
%o( t%e" a))ect cognition and emotion6.
1. Normative and natural instrumental values
It s%ould .e understood, )irst, t%at normative instrumental values, )ollo(ing t%e (or1 o)
Iendall Calton, are generall" t%oug%t to reGuire prior )amiliarit" (it% (%atever artistic
?categor"A a (or1 )alls into 4or ?categoriesA, i) a (or1 incorporates more t%an one6
4Calton J158'K6. Ce could sa", )or e@ample, t%at a television vie(er, $s%le", needs to
(atc% Star Trek (it% prior understanding o) t%e ?science-)ictionalA categor" o) art :
(%ic% treats %umanistic t%emes t%roug% t%e medium o) imaginar", usuall" )uturistic
(orlds : before s%e can rig%tl" appreciate an episode o) Star Trek 4ibid.6. I) on t%e ot%er
%and $s%le" (ere science-)ictionall" naMve, t%en s%e could not 4on t%e normative
instrumentalist vie(6 value %er e@perience o) Star Trek as a science-)ictional t"pe o) art,
even t%oug% %er e@perience ma" o))er ot%er t"pes o) value, suc% as entertainment,
(onder, novelt", or (%atever else
. Failing to appreciate a (or1Fs normative

$n overvie( o) related issues can .e )ound in Ionigs.erg 42'126. $lso, )or t%e su.3ect o) %uman
nature and art see =arroll 42'',a6.
For a discussion o) NinternalO and Ne@ternalO values, see Calton 415536.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 138
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
instrumental values, t%ere)ore, does not preclude valuing t%e same (or1 )or ot%er
reasons, ?internalA or ?e@ternalA to t%e e@perience a))orded 4suc% as valuing t%e (or1Fs
cognitive, emotional, or aest%etic properties6. $ll t%at science-)ictionall" naMve vie(ers
cannot value, according to p%ilosop%ers a)ter Calton, is Star TrekFs genre-speci)ic norms
: Star Trek as a 1ind o) ?science )ictionalA art.
Natural instrumental values, on t%e ot%er %and, are governed ." evolved
sensi.ilities. C%en $s%le" values a (or1 o) art ?naturall"A, s%e does so on t%e .asis o)
t%e (or1Fs perceived 4not necessaril" real6 adaptive advantages, rat%er t%an (%atever
s%e mig%t t%in1 s%e values a.out t%e (or1Fs e@perience, as a (or1 o) art 4its particular
1ind o) re(ard, )rom t%e e@perience t%e (or1 o))ers and not somet%ing instrumental to
. $n e@ample (ould .e pla"ing World of Warcraft .ecause ?levelingA and gaining
reputations in ?guildsA tap into a primal need to displa" )itness, even i) World of
Warcraft o))ers no real adaptive advantage 4or even i) pla"ing o.sessivel" results in a
reduction o) )itness6. C%at an"one values )rom pla"ing World of Warcraft, on t%e
natural instrumental approac%, is not t%e game, as a 1ind o) massivel" multipla"er online
e@perience, .ut t%e perceived 4per%aps unconscious6 adaptive advantages t%e game
o))ers. >i1e(ise, paintings, novels, and ot%er t"pes o) art, on t%e natural instrumentalist
vie(, onl" con)er value )rom t%eir .iological salienc". ?S"mmetr"A (ould t%us .e
re(arding .ecause, as %umans, (e )ind s"mmetric )aces re(arding9 ?se@ual stimuliA
.ecause propagation is a core .iological drive9 and ?t%reatsA .ecause t%e" tap into
survival instincts 4>ittle, Pones, Qe2ruine J2'11K7 1-35-1-,'6. C%at ma1es ?s"mmetr"A
and ot%er suc% properties naturally instrumentally re(arding, in an" case, is t%eir
contingenc" upon adaptive p%"siologies t%at in)luence aest%etic perception7 it is not t%e
propert" in itsel) t%at (e )ind re(arding )rom a (or1 o) art, .ut our .rain registering a
?natural 1indA o) salient stimulus
From t%e a.ove overvie( o) instrumental value, in .ot% normative and natural
)orms, it s%ould .e reemp%asied t%at (or1s are t%oug%t to con)er value not )rom
an"t%ing ?intrinsicA to t%e e@periences t%e" o))er, )rom t%e (or1s t%emselves. 0%is is

Rere I am t%in1ing o) *oHl =arrollFs seminal paper7 =arroll 42'''6. $ similar, .roader vie( ma" .e
)ound in =arroll 42'',a6. $s I .elieve, man" ot%ers %ave developed important variants o) t%e
natural instrumental value position, even i) t%e su.3ect o) artistic value is not directl" addressed.
See )or e@ample 2o"d 42''56.
For recent de.ates on t%e Nnatural 1indO status o) some perceptual properties, suc% as t%ose
t%at trigger emotional responses, see >enc%, 2enc% and Flores 42'136. See also Scarantino,
Sri))it%s 42'116.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 13+
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
t%e main t%esis o) value instrumentalists, (it% t(o variations7 t%e normative variation is
t%at (e cannot even appropriatel" understand a (or1 (it%out su))icient .ac1ground
1no(ledge o) its artistic ?categor"A : its genre conventions, standard modes o)
presentation, t%e circumstances surrounding t%e (or1Fs origin 4(%o made it, %o( it (as
made, and (%en6. 0%e natural variation, on t%e ot%er %and, %olds t%at (%at (e value
)rom a (or1 is not ?t%e (or1 itsel)A, e@perienced ?directl"A, .ut (%atever 1inds o)
evolutionaril" salient properties t%e (or1 o))ers. In eit%er case, an instrumental value is
mediated, its origin .eing antecedent to t%e e@perience o) t%e (or1.
2. Aesthetic ontology
0a1ing note o) t%e ontological status o) ?aest%etic propertiesA in general : (%at it is
a.out a (or1 t%at ma1es it ?.alancedA, ?po(er)ulA, and so )ort% : oug%t to also %elp
)rame a neuro.iological reassessment o) artistic value. C%et%er properties are t%oug%t
to .e ps"c%ologicall", p%"sicall", or ot%er(ise instantiated in (or1s o) art, (%at t%e" are
can .e )ramed in terms o) t%eir .eing ?mind-independentA or ?-dependentA,
?intersu.3ectiveA or ?su.3ectiveA, ?realA or ?p%enomenalA. =onsider %o( realists ta1e
aest%etic properties as actuall" in%ering in (or1s, as t%e" are7 a ?red splotc%A on a
canvas is seen as suc% .ecause its pigment and s%ape e@ist in suc% a (a" t%at it loo1s
li1e a splotc% re)lecting red lig%t, intersu.3ectivel", and t%is is so (%et%er a color.lind
vie(er )ails to see red in t%e splotc%, or (%et%er a .lind vie(er )ails to see redness or
splotc%iness altoget%er. $nti-realists re3ect t%is claim7 aest%etic properties reGuire minds
capa.le o) translating (%atever can .e sensed )rom a (or1 into su.3ective impressions.
?EednessA and ?splotc%inessA can var" .et(een individuals, and so t%ere is not%ing
about t%ese properties, as t%e" are, t%at determines t%eir perceptive Gualit". For (ant
o) space I must sidestep t%e nuances o) t%is de.ate, t%oug% (%at I s%ould li1e to argue
in relation to it is intelligi.le enoug% (it%out needing )urt%er ela.oration, namel", t%at
value empiricists and instrumentalists can s%are a common ontolog" )or aest%etic
properties. I) t%is is so, t%en di))erences .et(een empiricists and instrumentalists on
value oug%t to dissolve.
First, instrumental conceptions o) value ma" s%are ontological assumptions )ound in
<alcolm 2uddFs and Perrold >evinsonFs Guasi-realist positions on artistic value, even
t%oug% .ot% o) t%ese p%ilosop%ers are value empiricists, epistemologicall" 4>evinson
J2'',K and J2'11K9 2udd J2''3K7 2-56. Ln t%e Guasi- or indirect-realist position, (or1s
em.od" ?intrinsicall"A valua.le e@periences .ecause t%eir properties can relia.l" con)er
value, on t%eir o(n, once t%e" %ave .een e@perienced (it% understanding. $n e@ample
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 135
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
mig%t .e Ponat%an S(i)tFs A Modest Proosal, (%ose satirical and )ormal properties
o))er re(arding e@periences to t%ose a.le to understand t%em. I) readers )ail to
understand S(i)tFs satire, t%en t%e" (ill not value A Modest Proosal as a satirical (or19
or i) some readers are radicall" conservative, t%en t%e" ma" disli1e t%e (or1Fs
sociological message, .ecause it maligns radical conservativesF pre)erred met%od o)
social control7 economic su.3ection. In eit%er suc% case, it (ould .e t%e reader (%o )ails
to appreciate t%e (or1, as a satire or apolitical moral message, not t%e (or1 t%at )ails to
deliver value. C%at t%e instrumentalist on value re3ects )rom t%e latter vie( is t%at it is
reall" t%e (or1 itsel), as e@perienced, t%at con)ers value. C%at .ot% instrumentalists
and empiricists on value can agree upon, %o(ever, is t%at t%e ontolog" o) t%e (or1Fs
properties is relational : t%at onl" %umans can understand t%e (or1, )rom perceiving
and e@periencing it, rat%er t%an t%e (or1 %olding value mind-independentl".
2ut it is precisel" at t%is point t%at t%ere is some con)usion a.out t%e meaning o) t%e
term ?intrinsicA. I) .ot% instrumentalists and empiricists can agree t%at valua.le
properties must .e registered ." human minds capa.le o) predicta.l" human 1inds o)
responses 4(%at 2udd calls t%e ?ant%ropocentricit"A o) artistic value6, t%en it (ill al(a"s
.e t%e case t%at a (or1 cannot %old value (it%out .eing e@perienced and understood ."
%uman minds )irst. In p%ilosop%ic s%ort%and, (%at ma1es realism ?GuasiA or ?indirectA
)or artistic properties is t%eir mind!deendency. Perceiving ?straig%t linesA as straig%t
reGuires a visual s"stem capa.le o) perceiving straig%t lines 4)rom ?lateral in%i.itionA,
)or e@ample6. $ 3umping spiderFs visual s"stem, on t%e ot%er %and, cannot register
?straig%t linesA as straig%t, as (e do. 0%oug% a lineFs con)iguration is undou.tedl" mind!
indeendent, as a p%"sical propert" out t%ere in t%e (orld, our perceiving a line as
straig%t is ps"c%ologicall" relational and ant%ropocentric
. 0%us (e could sa" t%at a (or1
o))ers 1inds o) value-con)erring e@periences, across individuals, rat%er t%an di))erent
1inds o) value-con)erring e@periences, .et(een individuals, .ut onl" on t%e .asis o) t%eir
.eing ps"c%ologicall" accessi.le and understood. 0%is is (%" it is claimed : ."
instrumentalists and empiricists ali1e : t%at a (or1Fs e@periences must ?emergeA )rom a
ps"c%ological e@c%ange (it% its properties, rat%er t%an )rom unmediated, ?directA
perception. $ .iological 1ind o) real t%ing : a p%"siological s"stem : com.ines (it% and
registers anot%er real t%ing : an artistic propert" o) some sort, suc% as t%e color .lue,
t%e )eeling o) 3ealous", disgust, t%e perception o) .alance, and ot%er suc% emergent

I )orego an" revie( o) Iantian metap%"sics and related concerns %ere, )or (ant o) space. 0o see
an ela.oration o) t%e position revie(ed %ere, see N$est%etic SupervenienceO in >evinson 42'116.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,'
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properties. 0%is interaction .et(een real minds and real t%ings is (%at ma1es artistic
values ?indirectl" realA.
$rt%ur Qanto, commenting on Qieter Eot%Fs Tibidabo, a (or1 consisting in part o)
t(ent"-)our %ours o) recorded dog .ar1ing, e@empli)ies t%e 1ind o) ps"c%ological
emergence reGuired )or intrinsic value7 ?our response to Jt%e recorded dog .ar1ingK is
e@actl" li1e t%e response (e (ould %ave to uninterrupted dog .ar1ing in real li)e. It gets
on our nerves. It is anno"ing. JTK Ce are all ali1e (%en it comes to t%e .ar1ing o) dogsA
4Qanto J2'',K7 2+6. 0%oug% uninterrupted dog .ar1ing is not ?re(ardingA .ut
?punis%ingA, as an aest%etic propert" it nevert%eless illustrates %o( somet%ing ?realA
a.out a (or1 4recorded sound patterns6 can elicit an intersu.3ective 1ind o) aest%etic
response 4anno"ance6, even t%oug% %uman minds must decode t%e recorded sound
patterns and compre%end t%em as dogs .ar1ing.
3. "#ternal values
$n idea t%at ma" %elp relieve some tension .et(een realists and anti-realists on artistic
value is ?e@ternalA value. Imagine %"pot%eticall" t%at Tibidabo is a protest piece a.out
t%e aversiveness o) am.ient noise. Ce )ind t%e (or1 displeasing, intrinsicall", .ut
understand its positive political message, conceptuall"7 it raises consciousness a.out t%e
ills o) poorl" placed, nois" industries, suc% as dog 1ennels. I) t%is (ere so, t%en Tibidabo
(ould assume value not )rom an" naturall" emergent re(ard, intrinsic to t%e e@perience
t%e (or1 o))ers, .ut )rom its sociopolitical message. Tibidabo ma" %ave no suc%
message, and (%at is ?aest%eticA a.out t%e (or1 : our perceiving 4seeing, %earing,
noticing, )eeling6 its ?anno"anceA, ?unit"A, ?mi@ed mediaA, ?te@tureA, and (%atever
else, a)ter Fran1 Si.le" 4J15-5K7 1386 : ma" not .e directl" discerni.le (it% t%e )ive
senses, .ut man" (or1s do o))er strong sociopolitical messages, indirectl" e@pressed,
messages t%at can .e s%o(n to relate to t%e (or1sF presentation in some (a". C%en
suc% a (or1 is valued )or (%at it suggests, alludes to, or ot%er(ise s"m.olicall"
represents, rat%er t%an )or its directl" perceived properties, its value .ecomes a species
o) (%at Calton 415536 calls an ?e@ternalA artistic value. For t%ese 1inds o) value,
art(or1s and t%eir sensi.le properties are a1in to ?propsA in a game o) ?ma1e-.elieveA7
(e see a stump 4t%e prop6 and agree to see t%e stump as a .ear, and (e do so on t%e
.asis o) our adopting rules a.out (%at t%e stump represents 4Calton J1553K7 5'16. 0%e
stump in t%is game is not )rig%tening, )rom perception, .ut t%e idea t%at t%e stump is a
.ear is )rig%tening, and it is )rom our s%ared idea t%at t%e stump is )rig%tening t%at it
acGuires ?e@ternalA value.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,1
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
$n e@ample7 alt%oug% Quc%ampFs $ountain o))ers little intrinsicall" re(arding
e@perience as )ar as its sensi.le properties go, t%e (or1 nevert%eless acGuires value as a
prop (it%in t%e ?anti-aest%eticA game o) ma1e-.elieve 4t%e game : understood in a
neutral sense : (%ere participants agree to re3ect t%e art esta.lis%ment and its lo)t"
norms, suc% as ." den"ing t%at (e can onl" appreciate a (or1 on t%e .asis o) its
perceptivel" .eauti)ul )orms6.
It is important to recognie, also, t%at ?e@ternalA 1inds o) value appl" to (or1s (%ose
properties (ould ot%er(ise o))er intrinsicall" ?unre(ardingA e@periences. 0o instance
suc% a possi.ilit", (e need onl" consider ?disgustingA or ?ot%ernessA inducing (or1s o)
art, t%e 1inds o) (or1 (%ose properties ?re)use conventional %uman measureA 4Sie.ers
J2''3K7 1526. Suc% (or1s are t%oug%t to include <arc UuinnFs Self, a .ust sculpted )rom
t%e artistFs o(n )roen .lood9 Qamien RirstFs This %ittle Piggy Went to Market, a
sagittall" %alved pig suspended in )ormalde%"de9 Pa1e and Qinos =%apmanFs
&bermensch, a )i.erglass, roc1" spire surmounted ." Step%en Ra(1ing9 and ot%er 1inds
o) (or1 t%at, to most, evo1e a sense o) oddit", repugnance, or ant%ropocentric iron"
4ibid.6. Suc% (or1s o))er little intrinsicall" re(arding e@perience from perceiving and
interacting (it% t%eir properties. 0%e" %ave little to do (it% (%at Perrold >evinson calls
?a li)e .eing a certain JpositiveK (a"A and ever"t%ing to do (it% sociopolitical
commentar", provocation, and re.elliousness vis-V-vis esta.lis%ed ma1e-.elieve norms
and institutionalied values. Ro(ever (e (is% to categorie suc% (or1s : as ?anti-
esta.lis%mentA, ?anti-aest%eticA, ?anti-normA : t%e" generall" serve to re3ect
?aest%etic dictates t%at all" .eaut" to %armonious )orm, .alance, %"giene, )luidit" o)
e@pression, and geniusA 4Sie.ers J2''3K7 1+-6. 0%e" are meant to oppose : per%aps even
e@clude : transcendental and&or naturalistic values 4t%ose t%oug%t to .e universall"
moral, a riori, or .iologic6.
,. Neurobiology and artistic value
C%et%er t%e 1inds o) art canvased a.ove are trul" ?anti-aest%eticA or onl" seemingl" so,
it ma" remain true t%at t%ere is somet%ing about t%ese (or1s t%at grants t%eir e@ternal
and&or instrumental value, even (%en t%e properties in Guestion are understood
?e@ternall"A. Speci)icall", I s%ould li1e to argue t%at Tibidabo, $ountain, and ot%er suc%
conceptual (or1s o) art ma" not .e altoget%er ?anti-aest%eticA : a sui generis 1ind o)
non-perceptual, non-universal art : .ut rat%er onl" anti- ?naturalA, ?idealA, or
?politicalA norm. C%at is valued in or )rom suc% (or1s remains neuro.iologicall"
instantiated as valua.le 1inds o) propert" emergent from t%e (or1.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,2
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
First, contentions .et(een value empiricists : t%ose .elieving in t%e contingenc" o)
artistic value on e@periencing a (or1Fs properties, as discerni.le in or )rom t%e (or1
42udd, >evinson, 2eardsle"6 : and value instrumentalists : t%ose .elieving artistic value
is contingent on properties antecedent to or ?.e"ondA a (or1Fs )irst%and e@perience
4Calton, S%arpe, =arroll6 : can .e resolved ." appealing to neuroscienti)ic distinctions
.et(een perception and memor". Second, (%at is intrinsicall" valua.le a.out an
e@perience rat%er t%an instrumentall" valua.le can .e clari)ied ." appealing to researc%
on emotional s"stems and %o( t%e" modulate .ot% perception and memor" o) a (or1Fs
C%en perceiving a (or1Fs properties, it is t%oug%t t%at (%at is e@perienced is not
?directA .ut cognitivel" mediated 4." ps"c%ological drives, adaptive p%"siolog", culture,
.elie)s, and a num.er o) ot%er possi.ilities6. Eic%ard Coll%eim )amousl" argued t%at (e
do not onl" ?seeA a (or1Fs properties, on t%e canvas or inscri.ed on t%e page, .ut
rat%er ?see-inA to t%e canvas, page, or (%atever ot%er medium an in(ard,
reresentational sense7 (e see a )ormation and )igure in Pa1e and Qinos =%apmanFs
&bermensch and, concurrentl", ?see-inA to t%is )ormation, )igure, and title a (%eelc%air-
.ound man triump%antl" loo1ing out atop a roc1" summit, a man (e 1no( to .e
Step%en Ra(1ing9 (e ?see-inA to t%e (or1 an ironic 3u@taposition .et(een p%"sical
disa.ilit" and mental a.ilit", an impossi.le )eat made possi.le )rom (%at (e 1no( o)
Ra(1ingFs iconic status as a mental po(er%ouse 4Coll%eim J155+K6. 2ut %o( can t%is
?t(o)oldnessA o) perception, as Coll%eim calls it, .e accounted )or in a (a" t%at .rings
(%at (e see toget%er (it% (%at (e conceiveB Ro( can (e ?seeA properties and,
concurrentl", ?see-inA to t%em a )uller representational sense, (it%out assuming t%at
t%e one can dis3oin )rom t%e ot%erB Seeing and seeing-in ma" .e t%e ever"da"
e@perience o) consciousness, .ut understanding %o( erceiving a propert" : its sensor"
input : and relating t%is perception to (%at is unseen : our cognitive registr" o) a
propert"Fs sensor" input : can .e c%allenging. Lstensi.le connections 4or
disconnections6 .et(een perceived aest%etic properties, on t%e one %and, and t%e
cognitive reception o) t%ese properties, on t%e ot%er, is (%at pro.lematies aest%etic
*euroscienti)ic (or1 on perception and memor" over t%e past ten "ears %as s%o(n
%o( memor" )ormation and recollection is largel" reresentational in nature7 (%at (e
encode into memor" is a 1ind o) ?mental imageA o) perceived o.3ects, discrete
properties, conte@ts, and events in t%e (orld 4not p%otograp%ic 1inds o)
representational images, or representations t%at can .e understood in altoget%er
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,3
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
$ristotelian terms, .ut images t%at pic1 out %ig%l" speci)ied perceptual c%aracteristics,
across sensor" modalities9 properties t%at %ave a purpose)ul plasticit" a.out t%em, t%at
can ?reconsolidateA, re(rite t%emselves over time, degrade, retain lasting )idelit",
com.ine (it% ot%er mental images9 properties t%at are prone to suggestive alteration,
)alseness, con)a.ulation, or partial representation o) (%at (as actuall" perceived at t%e
time o) encoding6
. C%en interacting (it% a c%air )or t%e )irst time, (e encode t%e
c%airFs properties : discrete and %olistic : into ?long-termA 4?remoteA6 memor", and (e
do so using various perceptual modalities : visual, tactile, proprioceptive, auditor". 0%e
result is a ?multimodal representationA o) t%e c%air, an impression t%ence)ort%
associated (it% ever"t%ing perceived )rom c%airs into a continuall" reconsolidated
conceptual repositor", one t%at is coded )or that particular class o) o.3ect, namel", all
t%e various st"les, )unctions, (eig%ts, noises, and te@tures o) c%airs 42arsalou J2'1'K and
C%at t%e a.ove suggests, epistemicall", is t%at understanding and )inding value in
(or1s o) art reGuire su))icient re-activation o) relevant representational memories,
unless t%e properties in Guestion evo1e instinctive responses )rom mere e@posure. 0%e
latter 1inds o) value, (%ic% I discuss )urt%er .elo(, include s%rill or soot%ing sounds,
various emotional postures : dominance, su.mission, anger, )ear : and t"pes o) se@ual
stimuli. For most (or1s, %o(ever : especiall" novels and poems : t%ere is no meaning
to .e %ad on mere e@posure7 (e need to translate te@tual s"m.ols into representational
memories, and it is onl" on t%e .asis o) suc% a translation t%at a (or1 can con)er value
0%is ma1es ?aest%etic propertiesA, in Si.le"Fs sense, a necessar" ingredient o) artistic
compre%ension, especiall" i) t%ese properties identi)" (it% multimodal representations
.uilt )rom t%e )a.ric o) ?non-aest%etic propertiesA, )rom ra( 1inds stimuli t%at %ave no
aest%etic meaning in isolation
4te@tual s"m.ols, p%onetic representations, and ot%er
t"pes o) ra( sensor" data : visual, auditor", tactile : t%at %ave no in%erent meaning
until translated into )uller multimodal impressions7 t%e sense o) a c%air, t%e sound o) a
person, t%e )eeling o) sandpaper6.
From a representational standpoint, t%ere)ore, (%enever a (or1 %as us read or t%in1
a.out a class o) properties, our understanding o) t%at class is contingent on reactivating

<oulton, Iossl"n 42''569 <e"er, Qamasio 42''569 0%ompson 42''+69 <artin 42''869 Sc%acter
4155569 Sc%acter, $ddis 42''86.
Ric1o1, Poeppel 42''869 2arsalou 4155569 Qamasio et al. 42'',6.
Si.le" 415-56. See in t%e latter t%e classic distinction .et(een aest%etic and non-aest%etic
properties, (%ic% I %ave re)ramed in neuroscienti)ic terms.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,,
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
our repositor" o) sense impressions )or t%at class. I) (e %ave no idea (%o Step%en
Ra(1ing is, or (%at ?W.ermensc%A means, p%ilosop%icall" and %istoricall", (e cannot
understand and appreciate Pa1e and Qinos =%apmanFs &bermensch. !nderstanding and
appreciating ?Step%en Ra(1ingA, ?W.ermensc%A, and t%e relation .et(een t%ese
perceptual properties, reGuires re-activating corresponding mental representations
a.out particular people, %istorical conte@ts, and ongoing p%ilosop%ic de.ates. 0%is
applies to our e@pectations a.out %o( artistic (or1s oug%t to .e presented as (ell. I)
some imaginar" civiliation %as gro(n accustomed to appreciating paintings (%ose
)eatures ?protrude )rom t%e (all li1e relie) maps o) di))erent 1inds o) terrainA, t%en )or
mem.ers o) t%at civiliation, (%at is ta1en as ?standardA : paintings t%at protrude : (ill
ma1e our norms : )lat paintings : appear ?contra-standardA 4Calton J158'K7 3,86. Even
(it%in a civiliation, muc% (ill seem contra-standard .et(een sociological groups and
individuals (it% contrasting educational, travel, and (or1 %istories.
$ppl"ing t%e a.ove to compre%ending (or1s o) art, it .ecomes clear t%at (%en (e
perceive a portion o) some representational t"pe o) stimuli : t%e .ust o) a man, t%e
sound o) .ar1ing : (e simulate along (it% t%e portion its associated set o) memories
and customar" e@pectations. Ce 1no( t%at it is a dog t%at is .ar1ing and not anot%er
1ind o) animal, .ecause (e %ave alread" encoded multimodal memories a.out t%e
various sources o) .ar1ing, not 3ust particular .ar1ing patterns in isolation 4alt%oug% t%is
t"pe o) isolated learning is possi.le, too6 4Ru..ard J2'1'K6. >i1e(ise, (%en (e see a .ust
o) a man, a )igure apparentl" in motion, or some ot%er sensor" segment, (e simulate
along (it% t%ese particulars t%eir associated (%oles, t%at is, t%e corresponding set o)
memories and conte@tual relations encoded )or eac% class o) o.3ect. 0%is is (%" (%en
(e see a .ust o), sa", Socrates, t%e visual sense a))ords a concurrent ?seeing-inA to all
t%at (e 1no( o) Socrates t%at is not seen7 p%"siognomic and dispositional associations
4%umor, (it, (isdom, %is ro.ust stature6, %istoricall" documented .e%avior 4(%ere %e
lived, (%o %e associated (it%6, p%ilosop%ic precepts, and so muc% else.
Ce also simulate along (it% perceived portions )oregone verdicts and instinctuall"
value-laden impressions. I) someone does not li1e Socrates, )inds %im ugl", or (%atever
else, t%en %is or %er value )or Socrates (ill .e ?negativeA. Lr i) someone %as alread"
developed a positive appraisal o) Socrates, %is or %er value (ill .e ?positiveA. C%et%er
suc% values necessaril" relate to a (or1, as a (or1 o) art, is o) course de.ata.le, since it
is commonplace to understand a (or1 "et )ind it lac1ing in value 4an outcome t"pical o)
1itsc%, amateur art, television sitcoms, and most Roll"(ood .loc1.usters6. In some cases
(e ma" even (is% to resist understanding a (or1, a)ter sensing a glimmer o) (%at it is
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,5
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
tr"ing to communicate, .ecause t%e 1ind o) value (e suppose it represents is alread"
o.3ectiona.le. Eudolp% Siuliani, a)ter vie(ing some o) t%e art(or1s discussed a.ove,
)ound t%em ?sic1A, and alt%oug% t%is reaction li1el" .elies an ina.ilit" to value
conceptual art, as a categor" o) art, in ot%er respects it registers a valuative 1ind o)
reaction relevant to t%e (or1. $ssuming )or e@ample t%at Siuliani )ound t%e .ust o) a
man carved )rom )roen .lood repulsive 4as )ound in <arc UuinnFs Self6, t%en part o) %is
valuative response (ould .e .iologicall" sanctioned, if, as %umans, t%in1ing o) .lood is
valued as a naturall" punis%ing 1ind o) stimulus
. Lr i) Siuliani )ound a particular (or1Fs
religious desecration revolting, suc% as t%at )ound in Piss 'hrist, t%en %is reaction to t%e
(or1 (ould .e valid (it%in t%e %orion o) religious norms. In eit%er case, (%at Siuliani
values is not t%e (or1, as a (or1 o) a particular 1ind, .ut anot%er 1ind o) value7 one
.iological 4)eeling sic1 at t%e t%oug%t o) anot%erFs .lood6 and t%e ot%er normative
4)eeling repulsed ." religious desecration6.
Even i) all value attri.utions depend on natural 1inds o) a))ective responses, suc% as
disgust, desire, )ear, t%reat, novelt", and 3ealous", t%e overall ma1eup o) an aest%etic
3udgment can assume multi)arious )orms. 0%e underl"ing ingredient o) artistic value ma"
al(a"s .e some 1ind o) primal a))ect 4disgust, anger, )ear6, "et (%at ma1es a particular
(or1 valua.le is its multimodal c%aracteristics and social implications. Siven t%e
representational nature o) art(or1s, t%ere is generall" some relation .et(een a (or1Fs
properties and (%at (e value )rom li)e outside t%em. 0%is ma1es ad3udicating .et(een
competing evaluations c%allenging, .ecause (e ma" disli1e a (or1 )or all t%e (rong
reasons, or li1e a (or1 )or t%e rig%t reasons "et overloo1 its instrumental ills. <an"
t%eatergoers (al1 out on /%ang1e PiaFs A Touch of Sin, perceiving in its violence a
meaningless gratuit"9 .ut (%at t%ese t%eatergoers )ail to understand is t%at t%e violence
depicted in PiaFs )ilm is not gratuitous .ut %istoricall" representational. Ever" violent
episode in A Touch of Sin %as actuall" ta1en place in contemporar" =%ina, o)ten in (orse
)orms t%an depicted in t%e )ilm
. Cit%out 1no(ing o) t%e )ilmFs %istorical
representation, %o(ever, PiaFs e))ort can onl" .e misunderstood in t%e (orst o) (a"s7
(%ere e@pressive, man" (ill see onl" e@cess9 (%ere t%e )ilm is meant to .e morall"
progressive, t%ere (ill .e onl" a sense o) decadence. It is also understanda.le t%at A

For a revie( o) researc% t%at loo1s at, among ot%er t%ings, aversive responses to .lood, see
Llatun3i, Sa(c%u1 42''56.
'hina Shooting Sree "nds with Si# (ead, N>ondon SuardianO, (((.t%eguardian.com&(orld&
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,-
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
Touch of SinFs violence s%ould evo1e repulsion, (%et%er t%e )ilmFs message is
understood or not. $ repulsive reaction is o) primal relevance to t%e )ilmFs content7
(it%out an in.orn sensitivit" to violent 1inds o) punis%ing stimuli, t%eatergoers could
not value t%e )ilmFs representational message.
5. Some conclusions
C%at is o) lasting t%eoretical signi)icance in t%e a.ove discussionsB I) t%ere is continuit"
.et(een .ac1ground impressions, encoded )rom e@perience, and %o( (e come to
perceive (or1s o) art, representationall", t%en some disputes .et(een ?value
empiricistsA and ?value instrumentalistsA (ould seem to dissolve. First, t%e idea t%at
?anti-perceptuall" aest%etic artA, to rec"cle *oHl =arrollFs term, is actuall" anti-
perceptual seems suspect. 0o reiterate t%is claim, it is t%oug%t t%at (%at (e can
understand and value )rom a (or1 is not ?perceptualA in nature .ecause, as soon as t%e
(or1Fs stimuli enter into t%e .rain and mi@ (it% .elie)s, cultural pre)erences,
ps"c%ological drives, or (%atever else, t%e e@perience t%e (or1 o))ers is no longer native
to t%e perceptual input : it is no( ?cognitiveA, ?su.3ectiveA, ?ps"c%ologicalA, or some
ot%er 1ind o) response. Ro(ever, i) all aest%etic properties must, in some (a", .e
understood on t%e .asis o) t%eir perceptuall" encoded memories 4as developed ."
>a(rence 2arsalou, Step%en Iossl"n, $ntonio Qamasio, and ot%ers6, t%en (%atever (e
?seen-inA to a (or1 4cognitivel", ps"c%ologicall", culturall", or ot%er(ise6 is alread"
in%erentl" perceptual in nature
. L) course, (%at (e ?seen-inA to a (or1, cognitivel",
ma" .e disconnected to a (or1Fs sensi.le properties 4its ?non-aest%etic propertiesA, in
Si.le"Fs terms6. 2ut determining (%at is trul" or )alsel" related to a (or1Fs properties is a
matter o) aest%etic epistemolog", not ontolog" 4o) intersu.3ective veri)ication, )alsi)ia.le
claims, and so )ort%6.
Eecall t%at anti-perceptual art is t%oug%t to e@clude (%atever can .e perceived )rom
a (or1, )irst%and. $ protot"pical e@ample (ould .e Po%n =ageFs )*++**, a musical
composition instructing a pla"er to sit, in silence, )or t%e duration o) t%ree movements.
0%e audience gaes on 4restlessl", rarel" delig%tedl"6 (%ile t%e musician turns t%e page
o) a composition .oo1let )or )our minutes and t%irt"-t%ree seconds. $ppreciating t%is
(or1, in CaltonFs terms, reGuires participating in a game o) conceptual art ma1e-

0%is conclusion is in response to arguments laid out ." =arroll 42'',.67 ,156. $gain, )or (or1s
revie(ing t%e perceptual origins o) conceptual representation, see7 2arsalou 42''+69 <oulton,
Iossl"n 42''569 <e"er, Qamasio 42''56.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,8
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
.elieve, (%ere t%e pla"er, instrument, and audience .ecome props in t%e service o)
generating am.ient noise. C%at is valued in t%is 1ind o) (or1 is t%e concetual
understanding o) its intended e@perience : t%e (onder o) uniGue am.ient noises, t%e
composerFs p%ilosop%ic ingenuit" : rat%er t%an t%e composition itsel).
$s I %ave argued, %o(ever, it is mista1en to t%in1 t%at (or1s suc% as )*++** can %ave
value, conceptuall", in a manner t%at e@cludes perceptual cogniance. 0%e source o) t%is
cogniance ma" .e largel" simulated, rat%er t%an directl" perceived, "et simulated sense
is correlative and contingent on previousl" encoded impressions )rom perceived senses
42arsalou J2''5K6. 0%e idea t%at ?anti-perceptuall" aest%etic artA could trul" .e anti-
perceptual is t%ere)ore misleading, .ecause it relies on an arti)icial division .et(een
perception and conception, rat%er t%an an interrelation.
0%e concept o) ?.lueA interrelates (it% perceptuall" acGuired memories o) (%at
o.3ects loo1 li1e (%en re)lecting ,5' nm (avelengt%s o) lig%t9 t%e concept ?dogA
interrelates (it% perceptuall" acGuired memories o) a 1ind o) )our-legged, domesticated
mammal, and so )ort%. I ma" never see, directl", a particular s%ade o) .lue or a rare
.reed o) dog, t%oug% )or me to imagine suc% a s%ade or .reed, I need onl" %ave alread"
encoded perceptual e@emplars o) .lue and t"pes o) dog. 0%is is (%" a poem can instruct
me to ?Imagine a cross .et(een & a Serman S%ep%erd & and a PoodleA, and I (ill
imagine 3ust suc% a cross, even i) I %ave never seen one. 0%at m" mind is a.le to )ill in
t%e .lan1 .et(een one s%ade o) .lue and anot%er, or imagine a %".rid dog t%at I %ave
never seen, does not t%en suggest t%at t%e imagined s%ade or dog is purel" conceptual
or an anti-aest%etic 1ind o) e@ercise9 rat%er, imagining eit%er suc% e@ample is onl"
possi.le i) I %ave alread" encoded impressions o) .lue and t"pes o) dog. C%at I can
understand )rom a (or1 o) an" sort : conceptual, conventional, literar", e@perimental :
is contingent on m" simulated sense o) (%at t%e (or1 is tr"ing to get at, and i) t%e (or1
)ails to ac%ieve t%e rig%t 1ind o) simulation, it (ill lac1 value. 0o re)ormulate 2uddFs
t%eor" o) artistic value, (e mig%t sa" t%at i) t%e perceived or simulated sense o) a (or1
cannot induce a))ective re(ards or punis%ers, t%en t%e e@perience t%e (or1 o))ers lac1s
?intrinsic valueA in t%e anal"tic p%ilosop%ical sense : t%at is to sa", t%e (or1Fs non-
aest%etic properties cannot determine its re(arding e@perience. Ce ma" value t%e (or1
indirectl" ." some ?e@ternalA association, as Calton ma1es clear : suc% as valuing a
stump )or imagining t%at it is a .ear : .ut i) t%ere is no ostensi.le lin1 .et(een t%e (or1
and t%e e@ternal value, t%en (%at (e value is not determined ." (or1 .ut somet%ing
e@trinsic to it 4a ma1e-.elieve rule, pro3ection, collective delusion, or somet%ing else6.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,+
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
Eesearc% on memor" )unction t%ere)ore supports t%e vie( t%at conception and
perception are not separate or e@clusive domains .ut continuous and correlative. C%at
(e ?see-inA to a painting is continuous (it% (%at (e %ave ?seenA on it9 (%at (e
conceptuall" ?simulateA )rom a (or1 4o) literature or conceptual art6 is correlative (it%
(%atever 1ind o) perceptual impressions t%e (or1 re-activates, )rom memor". Eeading
a.out a dog or listening to incessant dog .ar1ing re-activates memor" impressions
encoded from perceiving dogs, multimodall". Lt%er(ise, (e could not understand (%at
?dogA means, as a (ord, or (%at t%e source o) t%e audi.le noise is in Eot%Fs Tibidabo
Ln t%is vie(, our a.ilit" to understand =ageFs )*++**, Calter Qe <ariaFs Vertical "arth
,ilometer, and ot%er suc% (or1s, is not anti-perceptual in nature, since (e must
simulate a perceptual sense o) (%at t%e artist intentionall" conceals, a process
contingent on multimodal representations about perceptual 1inds o) propert"7 music,
am.ient noise, (%at a 1ilometer long steel .ar (ould loo1 li1e, and so )ort%. Cor1s suc%
as =ageFs and <ariaFs, t%en, could .e more aptl" conceived as ?anti-resently
percepti.le artA, a t"pe o) (or1 (%ose appreciation depends on ?e@ternalA values o)
t%e sociopolitical 1ind. C%at (e value )rom suc% (or1s is not ?intrinsicA to t%e
e@periences t%e" o))er, as (or1s o) art9 rat%er, (%at is valued is t%e sense o)
participating in a ?conceptual artA game o) ma1e-.elieve
. Simulating a 1ilometer o)
re.ar .uried into t%e eart% ma" induce (onder, to .e sure, .ut onl" i) (e grasp t%e
magnitude o) suc% an operation )rom a perception-li1e simulation, one t%at needs to .e
e@plained ." someone )amiliar (it% t%e (or1Fs creation. Suc% values, second%and as
t%e" are, could not .e ?intrinsicA to t%e e@perience t%e (or1 o))ers unless it is granted
t%at t%e (or1Fs aest%etic properties include 1no(ledge o) its design.
Second, and o) eGual importance to %o( (e come to understand a (or1, I .elieve
neuro.iolog" s%eds lig%t on t%e nature o) value itsel). C%en %andled (it% p%ilosop%ic
(ariness, a (illingness to place serious c%ec1s on grand claims a.out (%at is valua.le
)or %umans in general, t%e t%esis t%at all value is .iologicall" contingent seems correct.
0%is t%esis can .e )ound 4and su.tl" cautioned against6 in *ietsc%eFs ap%orisms on
.eaut". *ietsc%e 42''-6 o.serves t%at ?t%e instincts are )illed to t%e .rin1 (it%

Ric1o1, Poeppel 42''869 Qamasio et al. 42'',69 2arsalou, Santos, Simmons 42''+6.
=arroll 4J2'',.K7 ,1+6 ma1es a similar argument (%en %e sa"s t%at ?a conceptual piece li1e
$ountain ma" .e said to possess aest%etic properties : properties intimatel" connected (it%
)eeling : even t%oug% t%e" need not .e literall" perceived ." one o) t%e )ive sensesA, t%oug%
(%at %e seems una(are o) is t%e )act t%at our simulated sense o) $ountainFs meaning is literall"
.uilt )rom encoded memories o) a perceptual 1ind.
/ac%ar" P. *or(ood, A Survey of Artistic Value
pag. 1,5
Firene !niversit" Press # $ist%esis # 2&2'13 # (((.)upress.com&aist%esis # ISS* 2'35-+,--
accumulated premisesA a.out (%at is .eauti)ul and degenerate7 an"time an"one senses
degenerac", %e )eels instinctual %atred9 an"time .eaut", empo(erment. 2ut %e also
sa"s t%at t%ese 1inds o) value 3udgments can .e ?%uman, all too %umanA : t%at is, t%e"
oug%t to .e regarded (it% p%ilosop%ic suspicion. So no( t%at t%ere is gro(ing
consensus in t%e neurosciences t%at t%e nature o) ?valueA : %o( (e come to perceive
an"t%ing as good or .ad : is an evolved sensi.ilit", (e oug%t to %eed *ietsc%eFs
. I) a t%ing is positivel" valued, it re(ards9 i) negativel" valued, it punis%es9 "et
suc% )indings need not lead to t%e conclusion t%at ugl" art is degenerate and .eauti)ul
art enno.ling. Uuite t%e contrar"7 i) t%e p%"siological stuff o) valuation is a punis%ing
and&or re(arding response o) an a))ective 1ind, t%en (e can learn to see punis%ing and
re(arding (or1s as eGuall" valua.le. ?QisgustingA and ?ot%erness-inducingA art ma"
o))er intrinsicall" valua.le 1inds o) e@perience, eit%er )rom direct appre%ension o)
percipient properties, or )rom learning o) t%e (or1Fs re(arding conceptual implications
4Sie.ers J2''3K6. $nd (%at is valua.le a.out (or1 need not .e an" adaptive advantage,
onl" a relia.le means o) emotional provocation 4=arroll J2'''K6.
So it (ould seem on t%e .asis o) t%e a.ove t%at Star Trek, even i) not )ull"
understood, can .e ?intrinsicall" valua.leA, )rom e@perience, (%ile =ageFs )*++** and Qe
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1ind o) a))ective response to somet%ing about t%e (or1. C%at remains an open
Guestion is t%e degree to (%ic% a punis%ing or re(arding e@perience can .e valued over
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