Beyond recognition: A feminist-pragmatist account of esthetic moral agency

Barbara J Lowe, Fordham University


Embracing fully the necessarily transactional and social nature of human existence, this dissertation develops an account of moral agency as esthetic moral agency. I argue that the central characteristics of an esthetic moral agent include affective attunement, intelligent sympathy, receptive perception, and a “respect of persons” on abstract and particularized levels. The esthetic moral agent strives to realize realistically achievable improvements on present situations and frames his or her efforts within a conception of amelioration that takes individual and group flourishing to be mutually dependent and coconstitutive. Central to the work of the esthetic moral agent is receptive perception. By fostering receptive perception (loving or sympathetic) and avoiding non-receptive perception (arrogant or sterile), the esthetic moral agent is in a position to effect positive growth and change for the situation, for the individuals involved, and for the larger community in which the transactions occur.

Subject Area

Philosophy|Womens studies|Educational theory

Recommended Citation

Lowe, Barbara J, "Beyond recognition: A feminist-pragmatist account of esthetic moral agency" (2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3182452.