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“Art’s autonomy is a fact of modern Western history. This autonomy refers to the practice as a whole. We think it an intrinsic value that there be such a practice (Art) where people can entertain thoughts and feelings with regard to issues deemed important, without immediately being affected by these thoughts and feelings in more usual agent-related ways. All works of art, qua art, partake in this autonomy. What turns the moral evaluation of art into such a confusing issue is that works that confront us in an engaging manner with moral issues do so against the very background of this, art’s moral autonomy. It may appear an undue abstraction to state the autonomy of the artistic practice as a whole, and to attribute it to individual works of art only in so far as they are art, instead of, contingently, in regard of their particular contents or meaning. The way to grasp this is through the notion of the artistic attitude.”

Rob Van Gerwen (Contemporary Aesthetics)

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