Your editorial (7 September) states: “Aesthetic judgments are subjective, which is one reason why prize organisers are right to see diversity on judging panels as important.”
This sentence makes no sense. If aesthetic judgments really were subjective, there would be no need to consider ethnic, class, or gender diversity on judging panels, since judges’ verdicts would be entirely down to personal preferences. What the writer really means is that aesthetic judgments are determined by one’s culture. Judgments about works of literature are objective: within a given set of cultural expectations, there are qualities that distinguish good writing from bad.
Those objective qualities change with culture, which is why it’s so important that judging panels reflect the full diversity of our society.
Department of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen
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