A Theistic Account of Aesthetic Value

Peter S. Williams (BA, MA)

University of East Anglia, Norwich, England.


"Beauty is the gift of God" Aristotle.

Christian Philosophers generally advocate objectivist responses to a range of philosophical topics, such as the existence and nature of God, Truth, Knowledge, and Moral values. This is a project with which I find myself in wholehearted support. However, comparatively little attention has been devoted to giving a similarly objective account of Aesthetic value, despite the fact that Philosophy has traditionally grouped together ‘the True’, ‘the Good’, and ‘the Beautiful’.

As part of the wider project to produce an integrated Theistic account of Truth, Knowledge, Moral value and Aesthetic value (an account that relates these subjects to each other and to the existence of God), the characterization of Aesthetic value stands out as being in need of most attention. In this paper I will propose an objective account of Aesthetic value that depends crucially upon an objective account of moral value. This account stands in the thomistic tradition, and pays particular attention to Dr. Norman L. Geisler’s recent articulation of the subject, with which I have both agreements and disagreements.{1}

Aesthetics, as characterised by Umberto Eco, revolves around two closely related problems: "The concepts of the aesthetic refers to the problem of the possible objective character, and the subjective conditions, of what we call the experience of beauty."{2} The first problem is ontological: "the possible objective character. . . of beauty"; the second is epistemological: "the subjective conditions, of what we call the experience of beauty". In other words, Aesthetics seeks to elucidate both the nature of Beauty itself, and of our subjective perception of Beauty. I will concern myself primarily with the ontological question, which Eco phrases thus:

"Is beauty something ontologically self-subsistent, which gives pleasure when it is apprehended? Or is it rather the case that a thing appears beautiful only when someone apprehends it in such a way as to experience a certain type of pleasure?"{3}

In answering this question I will not disappoint Augustine, who wrote that: "If I were to ask first whether things are beautiful because they give pleasure, or give pleasure because they are beautiful, I have no doubt that I will be given the answer that they give pleasure because they are beautiful."{4}

I will use the terminology of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Ugliness’ as broad categories of positive and negative Aesthetic value, just as ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ are used as broad categories of positive and negative moral value; for, as Matthew Kieran writes, "From Plato through Aquinas to Kant and beyond beauty has traditionally been considered the paradigmatic aesthetic quality."{5} If ‘Beauty’ is "the paradigmatic aesthetic quality", then ‘Ugliness’ must be a close second. This choice of terminology is by no means meant to denigrate the many other Aesthetic value-terms which the English language predicates of subjects. Anne Sheppard reminds us that:

"In English, landscapes, women, horses, and flowers may be beautiful but men are described as ‘handsome’ and cows or wine as ‘fine’ rather than ‘beautiful’. Aesthetic appreciation would have a very narrow range of objects if it were confined to those objects to which ‘beautiful’ happens to be applicable in English. The fact is English has no term of general aesthetic commendation. Instead there is a related family of terms: ‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’, ‘lovely’, ‘fine’, ‘handsome’."{6}

The term ‘Beauty’ then, here stands for all those positive Aesthetic terms such as ‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’, ‘handsome’, and ‘fine’; while ‘Ugliness’ stands in for all those negative Aesthetic terms such as ‘ugliness’, ‘ungainly’, ‘depressing’, ‘course’, and ‘unlovely’. A handsome man is thus appropriately described as ‘Beautiful’ in my sense of the word, while a depressing building is ‘Ugly’ along with the Ugly Duckling.

I do not restrict the application of the terms ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Ugly’ to the products of fine art,{7} or to the objects of any perceptive sense (vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste) in particular. A painting by Whistler, a Poem, a Music Score by Philip Glass, a cool breeze, bird-song, a multi-story car-park, the stars at night, the public electrocution of a death-row prisoner; all, to my mind, are candidates for the application of Aesthetic terms: "Works of art are not the only objects of aesthetic appreciation. . . Aesthetic appreciation may be directed at a variety of natural and man-made objects, perceived by any of the five senses."{8} As Umberto Eco writes: "The experience of beauty does not necessarily have art as its object; for we ascribe beauty not just to poems and paintings but also to horses, sunsets, and women - or even, at its limits, to a crime or a gourmet meal."{9}

Thomas Aquinas defined Beauty as "that which being perceived, pleases."{10} This is certainly a good starting place for a definition of Beauty, and it represents a tradition which continues today, for, as Matthew Kieran notes, "contemporary philosophers have, following this tradition, defined aesthetic value in terms of our delighting in and savouring an object with pleasure."{11} However, for reasons which will become apparent, I do not feel we can end our definitional search here.

Aesthetic value, like moral value, is experienced as a transcendent reality, an outside influence. Neither moral nor Aesthetic perception are actions; rather, both are reactions. In both we appear to perceive a teleological reality, something that draws us towards itself as an end rather than a means:

"Aquinas was always conscious of the possibility of a pleasure which was pure and disinterested. He identified it with the pleasure produced by the apprehension of beauty in objects. Disinterested pleasure means pleasure which is its own end, which is not connected with the satisfaction of animal needs or with utility."{12}

This emotional reaction is derived from the perception or contemplation of an object for its own sake.

The Commander of Belsen, observing the Holocaust, may well have found himself Aesthetically pleased by what he perceived (somewhat, we may suppose, after the manner of the pyromaniac who derives pleasure from burning things) - but I think most people would agree that the Holocaust was not a Beautiful event. Indeed, most people would agree that the sight of helpless and innocent victims of a fascist regime being systematically slaughtered must be an Ugly affair. Here, as I will explain momentarily, I believe we find a parallel between the search for a definition of goodness, and the search for a definition of Beauty. Nevertheless, it seems important to note that Beauty, like goodness (and the contrary of these, badness and Ugliness), is something we experience as an independent reality.

Just as Hitler might reasonably be supposed to have approved of the Holocaust as a good thing (or else, for what reason was it carried out?) while yet leaving us with the intuition that the Holocaust was actually a bad thing, so the fact that someone (or some community) finds something pleasing when perceived leaves us with the intuition that this fact cannot settle the matter of whether the thing in question is actually Beautiful. As Mortimer J. Adler notes, "St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of beauty as that which pleases upon being seen tends to support subjectivism."{13}; and that is not something I find morally tenable.

We must recognize that, "In addition to the enjoyable, there is the admirable."{14}, that the enjoyable is not necessarily admirable, the pleasant not always Beautiful. This recognition shows us that saying ‘Beauty is pleasant’ is insufficient to define of Beauty:

"The class of pleasant things is wider than the class of beautiful things. When the statement ‘anything is beautiful which causes pleasure’ is whittled down to ‘everything which is beautiful is pleasant but not everything which is pleasant is beautiful’, it is not only incompatible with the first meaning assigned to it but becomes completely nugatory and trivial. It not only does not give us a definition of beauty; it does not even provide a reliable criterion for detecting the presence of beauty. For if some things which cause pleasure are beautiful and some are not, we cannot know from the fact of pleasure alone whether anything which causes pleasure is beautiful or not."{15}

Arriving at this realisation, we see that the concept of Aesthetic value is linked to the concept of moral value. Albertus Magnus wrote that "Beauty calls things to it because it is an end and a good."{16}, while Aquinas thought of the Beautiful "as a way in which the good makes itself manifest."{17}, and wrote that "anyone who desires the good, by that very fact desires the beautiful."{18} This view was echoed by John of LaRochelle who concluded that "beauty is the good when it pleases the apprehension."{19} Matthew Kieran reports that in the classical tradition of Aesthetics, "the key thought is that what we take delight in is itself delightful."{20}

The perception of a link between Aesthetics and moral values is not restricted to Medieval Philosophers. Roger Scruton writes that: "To show what is bad about a sentimental work of art must involve showing what is bad in sentimentality. To be certain in matters of taste is, therefore, to be certain in matters of morality: ethics and aesthetics are one."{21}

Just as I agree with Emotivism that moral utterances are emotion-bound things, while yet wanting to go beyond the conception of moral utterances as ‘nothing but’ expressions of feeling, so I agree that Beauty, and talk about Beauty, has an emotional content, while feeling the need to go beyond any attempt to reduce Beauty or Aesthetic utterances to ‘nothing but’ emotion. I therefore believe that the issue of objectivity and subjectivity is as integral to defining Beauty as it is to defining moral value.

Just as Emotivism reminds us that moral utterances have a subjective aspect, in that they capture subjective attitudes towards certain states of affairs (my mental state constitutes the fact that, in asserting that fairness is good, I have an approval of fairness which my utterance expresses), so Aquinas reminds us that Aesthetic utterances have an evaluative aspect - for my mental state constitutes the fact that, in asserting rainbows to be Beautiful, I possess an approval of rainbows, or Beauty, or both, which my utterance expresses.

On the other hand, I take moral utterances to be matter of objective truth or falsity, because I believe that such utterances are objectively true or false in that their truth or falsity does not depend upon the existence or state of any finite mind or minds. Likewise, I want to take Aesthetic utterances to be matters of objective truth or falsity, so that Aesthetic utterances are objectively true or false in that their truth or falsity holds independently of any facts about the existence or state of any finite mind or minds.

While the utterance "fairness is a Good thing" can be used in its appropriate context to infer that the utterer approves of fairness, I do not believe that the two sentences "fairness is a good thing" and "I approve of fairness" are equivalent. Likewise, while the utterance "Rainbows are beautiful" can be used to infer that the utterer approves of rainbows and finds them pleasurable when perceived or contemplated, I do not believe that the two sentences "Rainbows are beautiful" and "I like rainbows" are equivalent.

The point here is perhaps clearer if we return to the example of the Belsen Commandant’s approval of the Holocaust and suggest that, whether moral or Aesthetic, this approval says nothing about the truth or falsity of his actual assertions (as opposed to any Emotivist ‘translation’ or ‘interpretation’ of them) that he finds the Holocaust to be good or Beautiful. I therefore believe that while Aesthetic utterances have a subjective aspect, assertions of the type "That rainbow is Beautiful" are matters of objective truth or falsity. A rainbow either is, or is not, beautiful; and this seems to me to be the most natural analysis of Aesthetic utterances. In this I agree with Norman L. Geisler who says that:

"Beauty is that which is admirable for its own sake. . . it has intrinsic admirability. . . Something is Beautiful if it is admirable, and therefore enjoyable, for its own sake. Not everything enjoyable is admirable. . . but everything that is admirable is enjoyable, even if you don’t enjoy it. [The] admirable is that Objective dimension of intrinsic value that is there whether we recognize it or not; [the] enjoyable is the Subjective participation in that intrinsic admirability. . . not only is not everything enjoyable admirable, but everything admirable is enjoyable. . . Just because everything admirable is enjoyable doesn’t mean that everything enjoyable is admirable."{22}

True moral sentiment, then, is a subjective participation in the intrinsic value of goodness expressed in any true moral Judgement; and true Aesthetic pleasure is a subjective participation in the intrinsic admirability of the Aesthetic value expressed in any true Aesthetic judgement: "That is what it means to say that admirable beauty is objectively present, but enjoyable beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who gets pleasure from beholding it [i.e. admirable Beauty] ."{23}

Aesthetic judgements, then, like moral judgements, are either objectively true or objectively false. Matthew Kieran, writing in the journal Philosophy (72, 1997) sums up this conception of Aesthetic value thus: "An object is of intrinsic aesthetic value if it appropriately gives rise to pleasure in our contemplation of it."{24} I suggest that "appropriately" should be construed in an objective moral sense.

Here we meet both the prime reason advanced against the objectivity of Aesthetic value, and the reply to this reason. Norman L. Geisler notes that "the relativity of Beauty may be more widespread than the relativity of truth or the relativity of morality"{25} I think he is probably right. In asking my friends the question "What is Beauty?", or asking them to complete the statement: "Something is Beautiful if. . .", I discover that I am apt to be met with a subjective definition, such as the oft quoted "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"; and this from people who would not dream of giving a similar answer in the case of moral values.

The prime reason for doubting the objectivity of Beauty is the fact that people differ widely in what they find to be Aesthetically pleasing. How, it might well be asked, can Beauty be an objective quality when people so obviously disagree about what is or is not Beautiful? This objection to the objectivity of Aesthetic value clearly parallels the objection advanced against objective moral value that moral values must be relative and subjective because different people hold different moral beliefs and opinions.

To the argument against objective moral values I respond that 1) that people hold differing subjective morality opinions does not prove that moral value is subjective, only that some people hold mistaken moral beliefs, 2) there is not such a wide divergence of subjective morality opinions as the proponents of this argument would have us believe - for example, different beliefs about the world can lead to different out workings of identical underlying morality opinions, and there has never been a society in which consistent lying was held in moral esteem.

To the argument as advanced against objective Beauty I respond similarly that 1) differing subjective opinions about Aesthetic matter does not show that Aesthetic assertions have no objective content, only that people disagree, and 2) no-one disagrees that rainbows are Beautiful.

Roger Scruton points to one explanation of differing Aesthetic judgements which would seem to be parallel to the case of different beliefs about the world altering the application of identical morality opinions: "A figure with several aspects may be seen in several incompatible ways; but aspect descriptions are not for that reason subjective. It cannot be held, therefore, that the possibility of rival interpretations of a work of art demonstrates the subjectivity of criticism."{26}

Having said that "Something is Beautiful if it is admirable, and therefore enjoyable", Norman L. Geisler goes on to say that "Beauty is that intrinsic admirability that when being perceived pleases, or ought to please because it has intrinsic value, and if it doesn’t please, you could learn to enjoy it and see this intrinsic admirability to it."{27}, and it is here that I begin to part company with his account.

When Geisler says that beauty "ought to please" he seems to be suggesting that someone who is not pleased by perceiving a Beautiful fact is being immoral. Indeed, he asserts that admirability "does not mean that just because [something] is enjoyable that it will be enjoyed; it means that it can be enjoyed, and should be enjoyed."{28} Geisler seems to construe the subjective appreciation of a fact’s "intrinsic admirability" as a moral obligation. While I agree that "Not only is not everything enjoyable admirable, but everything admirable is enjoyable"{29}, I do not agree that anyone is morally obligated to enjoy everything that is admirable. If something is admirable then it can be enjoyed, but that something is admirable does not guarantee that it will be enjoyed, and nor does it necessarily impose a moral obligation that it be enjoyed. The "can" in the assertion that "If something is admirable then it can be enjoyed" should then be understood in both the sense that it is psychologically possible for an admirable fact to be found enjoyable when perceived, and in the sense that it is morally good - although not morally obligatory - for an admirable fact to be so enjoyed.

It may well be the case that there is a general moral obligation to take reasonable steps to develop one’s Aesthetic sensibility in so far as one is able, for, "If we develop our ability to respond to art [Aesthetic value] we shall develop our potential as human beings."{30} Writing from a Christian perspective, Professor Nicholas Wolterstorff sees Aesthetic delight "as a component within and a species of that joy which belongs to the shalom God has ordained as the goal of human existence, and which here already, in this broken and fallen world of ours, is to be sought and experienced."{31} Wolterstorff argues that:

"This is why you and I are to pursue aesthetic delight, for ourselves and others, along with a multitude of other goals: justice, peace, community. Since it belongs to the shalom that God intends for each of us, it becomes a matter of responsible action to help make available, to ourselves and others, the experience of aesthetic delight. It becomes a norm for action - not of course the only norm, but certainly one among others."{32}

That something is admirable merely means, I suggest, that anyone who finds pleasure in perceiving or contemplating it is, all things being equal, within their moral rights (i.e. are not doing anything bad, and so are doing something good).

I say "all things being equal" because we can easily complicate matters by supposing that, for example, someone takes pleasure in listening to Mozart rather than save someone from drowning when they could easily have saved them. Such a act is clearly morally bad (I would say objectively bad), but this does not mean that the Mozart is altered by the situation into something ugly! The Mozart is still objectively beautiful, because it is intrinsically admirable and so the person enjoying it would be acting properly if all things were equal - which in this example they are not. Similarly, generous and heartfelt gift-giving is a good thing, but someone who engaged in such activity while ignoring the nearby cries of a drowning child who they could easily rescue is clearly being morally bad. However, it is not that alms-giving has become a bad thing per se because of the altered circumstances, but that it is a bad thing to do in those circumstances. Alms-giving, like enjoying Mozart, is a good thing per se, but the goodness of either activity on any particular occasion depends upon the non-infringement of any and all moral obligations.

A further point that needs to be made is that, to be good, the subjective Aesthetic appreciation of an admirable fact ("enjoyed beauty") must be of an ordinate (or "appropriate") character; ordinate, that is, to the degree of admirability in the object of contemplation. A diamond may be Beautiful, but someone who finds more pleasure in contemplating a diamond than in contemplating either themselves or their ‘fellow man’ has a serious problem with an inescapably moral dimension. To give an example from within the Christian tradition, to derive so much Aesthetic pleasure ("enjoyed beauty") from a mountain that one worships either the mountain or the Aesthetic pleasure itself would be classed as idolatry, and thus a bad thing. Again, this does not stop the mountain being objectively Beautiful. The mountain may be admirable (in that a person who perceives it can derive Aesthetic pleasure from it, and that they derive aesthetic pleasure from this contemplation is a good thing), but nevertheless the degree of pleasure they derive from this experience may be inordinate.

Furthermore, I see no reason to believe Geisler’s assertion that if an admirable fact fails to please "you could learn to enjoy it and see this intrinsic admirability to it", to be universally true. I am sure it is sometimes true for certain people; but I do not believe it is always true for all people. Someone may indeed fail to ‘see’ the Beauty of some fact, but then learn to ‘see’ it, coming to appreciate what they once found incomprehensible or dull. Geisler himself gives a personal example of such an event. Having come from a ‘blue collar’ background, Geisler had no experience, and no appreciation, of Classical music. When he began to date his wife-to-be, she took him to Classical music concerts. Geisler did not appreciate these concerts at first; only attending to be with his sweetheart. However, after a while Geisler came to appreciate the intrinsic admirability of Classical music, and learnt to take pleasure in it. The music was intrinsically admirable all along (lots of other people appreciated it, and rightly so, before Geilser), but Geisler had to lean to appreciate it.

Examples can easily be multiplied: we sometimes testify that it took time for us to "get into" a book or a film; as we grow up and gain wider Aesthetic experience our tastes mature. I did not enjoy any choral music until my late teens, when I came to appreciate some choral music, and even some opera! Perhaps there are many art forms that I presently do not bother with that I could come to appreciate if I took the time and effort to "get into them". Nevertheless, I see no reason not to think that there are perhaps certain art forms, or particular artists work, that I will never be able to appreciate. Twelve-tone piano music has never been my cup-of-tea, and perhaps it never will be. This view is quite consistent with the belief that there probably is something of intrinsic value and appreciability in twelve-tone piano music. There is no contradiction in my saying that twelve-tone piano music has intrinsic apreciability, and is therefore objectively Beautiful, although I personally do not ‘see’ it or ‘get it’. Other people clearly find pleasure in this music when they perceive it, and I have no reason to doubt that their appreciation is quite proper and ordinate. I therefore have reason to believe that (some) twelve-tone music is Beautiful, and this in no way contradicts the fact that twelve-tone music gives me no pleasure; or to put it another way, that I do not find such music to be Beautiful in my subjective experience. Here, once again, we are rescued by the distinction between "enjoyable and admirable beauty."{33}

Subjectively I might find twelve-tone music not merely unpleasurable in a ‘non-plussed’ kind of way, but positively unpleasurable, that is, Ugly. In that case, given that the music in question is actually objectively Beautiful, we must say that my Aesthetic judgement is objectively false (although my assertion that I subjectively find it Ugly is an objectively true report of a subjective fact). If many people find something Beautiful (or Ugly) that I find Ugly (or Beautiful), I am likely to form the opinion that I simply lack good Aesthetic judgement or taste in that case, and that the object of dispute probably is objectively Beautiful (or Ugly). In this way I believe that an objectivist concept of Beauty can accommodate the fact that "Different persons get pleasure of this sort [Aesthetic pleasure] from different objects.", that, "They differ in their tastes.", and that, "What one person finds enjoyable, another might behold with no pleasure at all."{34}

Given the above discussion, I propose the following definition of Beauty: ‘A thing is Beautiful if and only if it is a psychologically possible object of an objectively morally good (or a morally obligatory) pleasure when perceived’.

A prime example of objective Beauty is the milky-way viewed from Earth on a clear, dark night. In perceiving the milky-way it is psychologically possible to find it the object of intense subjective pleasure and enjoyment, and the taking of such pleasure in this object is an objectively morally good thing (although I wouldn’t say it was morally obligatory). Thus my Aesthetic experience of the milky-way has a subjective aspect (my pleasure, which is a subjective fact about me, being constituted by the state of my mind), and an objective aspect, provided by the objective moral goodness of my being pleased by the object of my appreciation. The subjective aspect is "enjoyable Beauty" and the objective aspect is "admirable Beauty".

In Christian Theology, God is thought of as a the greatest possible being, the highest good, and so the most Beautiful fact. If God exists, then to perceive God (and this is obviously not meant in an empirical sense, but in a spiritual sense) without finding Him Beautiful would be morally wrong, because God must be such that we are morally obliged to find Him Beautiful if we perceive Him. This thought beckons me to recognize that, wide as the category of "Beauty" is, there are perhaps extreme cases wherein Aesthetic appreciation is morally obligatory, for which we require a higher term. I propose to designate "the Sublime" as that which, when perceived by a being capable of Aesthetic appreciation, makes such appreciation morally obligatory.

We can distinguish three categories of objective moral value, two positive and one negative: the good, the supererogatory, and the wrong. Similarly, we seem to have two positive objective Aesthetic values, the morally-good-to-enjoy, and the morally-obligatory-to-enjoy; and one negative aesthetic value, the Ugly.

The opposite of Beauty is Ugliness, and so I propose to define as Ugly any fact which, all other things being equal, ‘is a fact which is a psychologically possible object of an objective morally obligatory displeasure when perceived’. Someone who does not ‘see’ that a thing is Ugly (given that it is Ugly) is in a similar position as someone who does not ‘see’ the Beauty of twelve-tone music. They may say, "I do not subjectively speaking find x Ugly. However, I accept that it is Ugly, because many people find it Ugly, and I have no reason to doubt them. Either I am mis-perceiving x, or there is something morally wrong with me such that, although I perceive x, I do not find it Ugly." This would not be at all contradictory, being parallel to the case of someone who failed to recognize as wrong an immoral act (either they have not noticed that about the act which makes it immoral, or there is something wrong with their sense of morality). A case in point may be the Commandant of Belsen judging (we may suppose) the Holocaust to be Beautiful.

What if someone found some fact, x, Ugly which someone else found to be Beautiful? Suppose the person who believes x to be Beautiful is correct. In that case, the person who finds x Ugly must be mistaken. Since someone finds x to be Ugly, it is clearly ‘a psychologically possible object of . . .displeasure when perceived’; but this displeasure cannot be an objectively good thing. If displeasure in this object is not morally good, then it must be morally wrong.

Many Philosophers have defended the existence of a link between the existence of objective moral values and obligations and the existence of God. The attempt to demonstrate such a link is the Moral argument for God’s existence.{35}

Some Philosophers and Apologists have produced inductive arguments for God’s existence from the existence of Beauty.{36} However, if the above account of Aesthetic value is correct, and if the Moral argument is sound, then the existence of objective Aesthetic values, being dependent upon the existence of objective moral values, is equally dependent upon the existence of God. This means that there exists an Aesthetic argument for the existence of God parallel to, and dependent upon, the well-known Moral argument.


{1}Norman L. Geisler, The Issue of Beauty, (IMPACT - TAPE).

{2}Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, p3.

{3}ibid, p49.

{4}Augustine, Quoted by Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, p49.

{5}Matthew Kieran, Aesthetic Value: Beauty, Ugliness and Incoherence, Philosophy 72, 1997.

{6}Anne Sheppard, Aesthetics - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art, p56.

{7}As Mortimer J. Adler points out in Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary, the fundamental use of the term "art" is "for the skills that human beings have in producing something or performing in a certain way" (p32.) "Art" comes from "the Latin "ars" which is a translation of the Greek word techne, which is best rendered in English by the word "skill" or by the phrase "knowhow"." (P33.) Posing the question where the phrase "fine art" comes from, Adler makes the reasonable "guess. . . that it comes from the derivation of the word "fine" from the word "final." Works of fine art are final in the sense that they are not to be used as means to ends beyond themselves, but rather to be enjoyed as ends in themselves." (P33.)

Umberto Eco tells us that "Medieval thought, like classical thought, did not consider that art necessarily had to do with the production of beautiful things or the stimulation of aesthetic pleasure. Ars signified the technique for constructing objects. If some of these objects appeared to be beautiful, this was a side issue." (The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, p3.)

{8}Ann Sheppard, op cit., p56.

{9}Umberto Eco, op cit., p3.

{10}Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, quoted Norman L. Geisler The Issue of Beauty, (IMPACT - TAPE), side 1.

{11}Matthew Kieran, op cit.

{12}Umberto Eco, op cit., p17.

{13}Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary, p37.

{14}ibid, p37.

{15}H. Osborne, Theory of Beauty - An Introduction to Aesthetics, P64.

{16}Quoted by Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, p113.

{17}ibid, p32.

{18}ibid, p33.

{19}ibid, p43.

{20}Matthew Kieran, op cit.

{21}Roger Scruton, Art and Imagination, P249.

{22}Norman L. Geisler, op cit., side 1.

{23}Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary, p39.

{24}Matthew Kieran, op cit.

{25}Norman L. Geisler, op cit., side 1.

{26}Roger Scruton, op cit., p240.

{27}Norman L. Geisler, op cit., side 1.



{30}Ann Sheppard, op cit., p154.

{31}Nicholas Wolterstorff, Art in Action, Toward a Christian Aesthetic, p169.

{32}ibid, p169.

{33}Adler’s Philosophical Dictionary, p39.

{34}ibid, p37.

{35}For example, see: W. David Beck, ‘God’s Existence’ in, In Defence of Miracles, ed. R.Douglas Geivett & Gary R. Habermas (Apollos, 1997); Paul Chamberlain, Can we be Good without God?, (IVP, 1996); F.C.Copleston debating with Bertrand Russell, ‘The Existence of God’, in John Hick ed., The Existence of God, (Macmillan, 1964); William Lane Craig, ‘The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality’, @ http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/meta-eth.html; Stephen C. Evans, Why Believe?, (IVP 1996); Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, (Monarch, 1995); C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book 1, (Fount, 1986), The Abolition of Man, (Fount, 1978), & ‘The Poison of Subjectivism’ in, Christian Reflections, (Fount, 1981); J.P.Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, (Baker, 1987), & J.P.Moreland & Kai Nielsen, Does God Exist?, (Prometheus , 1993); and Keith Ward, The Battle For The Soul, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1985). Other Moral argument defenders include Norman L. Geisler, Josh McDowell, W.R.Sorely, Hastings Rashdall, A.E.Taylor, Richard Taylor and Ravi Zacharias.

{36}For example, see: Clark H. Pinnock, Reason Enough, (Paternoster Press, 1980); and Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God, (Oxford, 1991).

Copyright © 1998 by Peter S. Williams (BA, MA).