Philosophy Colloquium: Aaron Meskin

Really Bad Genres


3 to 5 p.m., April 8, 2022


The Spring 2022 Philosophy Colloquium Series presents Aaron Meskin (University of Georgia).

It is sometimes said that there are no bad genres of art; that is, that there are no genres that preclude artistic success. The thesis has intuitive appeal. After all, many dismissals of entire genres are rooted in ignorance or snobbery. I argue that the view is mistaken. I point to a number of ethically flawed racist genres of art and defend the claim that these really are genres and that they do not admit of artistic success. These cases will not convince an aesthetic autonomist committed to the “no bad genres” view, so I go on to offer an alternative argument for the claim that bad genres are possible. If we think about what a genre is, it is plausible that there are possible genres, even ones that humans could care about, in which one could not generate artistically successful works.


Jonathan Weinberg