A theory of aesthetic value should explain what makes aesthetic value good. Current views about what makes aesthetic value good privilege the individual’s encounter with aesthetic value—listening to music, reading a novel, writing a poem, or viewing a painting. What makes aesthetic value good is its benefit to the individual appreciator. But engagement with aesthetic value is often a social, participatory matter: sharing and discussing aesthetic goods, imitating aesthetic agents, dancing, cooking, dining, or making music together. This article argues that we should understand aesthetic value in a way that centers these social forms of aesthetic engagement. To this end, the article argues that there is a social practice of aesthetic valuing, characterized as a participatory practice governed by the value of aesthetic community, which engages us in the social development of our capacities for discretionary valuing and volitional openness. Current theories of aesthetic value have trouble capturing the character of the practice of aesthetic valuing, and this motivates a novel communitarian theory of aesthetic value: aesthetic value is what is worthy of engagement in the social practice of aesthetic valuing.

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