Derek Matravers, Professor of Philosophy
Pots, deception, and beauty
6 November 2013
In their 1994 book, Artful Crafts, Michael Vickers and David Gill argue that the value we place on Greek pots stems from a deliberate deception practiced by Sir William Hamilton in the 1770s. Without this deception, we might never have found them valuable and (I shall assume) they would not have the place in our aesthetic pantheon which they currently occupy. In short, we have been conned into seeing them as beautiful. I consider what we should do in response to this, and also what light this throws on the nature of beauty.