Tags: 101 Creative Problem Solving TechniquesUcla Mba Application EssayMaster Thesis Project PlanEssays Books ReadingAct Prep Essay QuestionsSpeech Essay About Safety Measures In School
The philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has also been debated.Contemporary definitions can be classified with respect to the dimensions of art they emphasize.
Each classical definition stands in close and complicated relationships to its system’s other complexly interwoven parts – epistemology, ontology, value theory, philosophy of mind, etc.
Relatedly, great philosophers characteristically analyze the key theoretical components of their definitions of art in distinctive and subtle ways.
(See Janaway 1998, the entry on Plato’s aesthetics, and the entry on Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry.) Kant has a definition of art, and of fine art; the latter, which Kant calls the art of genius, is “a kind of representation that is purposive in itself and, though without an end, nevertheless promotes the cultivation of the mental powers for sociable communication” (Kant, , Guyer translation, section 44, 46).) When fully unpacked, the definition has representational, formalist and expressivist elements, and focuses as much on the creative activity of the artistic genius (who, according to Kant, possesses an “innate mental aptitude through which nature gives the rule to art”) as on the artworks produced by that activity.
Kant’s aesthetic theory is, for architectonic reasons, not focused on art.
And Kant’s theory of aesthetic judgment is itself situated in a hugely ambitious theoretical structure that, famously, aims, to account for, and work out the interconnections between, scientific knowledge, morality, and religious faith.
(See the entry on Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology and the general entry on Immanuel Kant.) Hegel’s account of art incorporates his view of beauty; he defines beauty as the sensuous/perceptual appearance or expression of absolute truth.Second, given that most classes outside of mathematics are vague, and that the existence of borderline cases is characteristic of vague classes, definitions that take the class of artworks to have borderline cases are preferable to definitions that don’t (Davies 19; Stecker 2005).Whether any definition of art does account for these facts and satisfy these constraints, or account for these facts and satisfy these constraints, are key questions for aesthetics and the philosophy of art.Two general constraints on definitions are particularly relevant to definitions of art.First, given that accepting that something is inexplicable is generally a philosophical last resort, and granting the importance of extensional adequacy, list-like or enumerative definitions are if possible to be avoided.Plato holds in the (sometimes translated “imitative”).Artworks are ontologically dependent on, imitations of, and therefore inferior to, ordinary physical objects.Classical definitions, at least as they are portrayed in contemporary discussions of the definition of art, take artworks to be characterized by a single type of property.The standard candidates are representational properties, expressive properties, and formal properties.Any definition of art has to square with the following uncontroversial facts: (i) entities (artifacts or performances) intentionally endowed by their makers with a significant degree of aesthetic interest, often greatly surpassing that of most everyday objects, first appeared hundreds of thousands of years ago and exist in virtually every known human culture (Davies 2012); (ii) such entities are partially comprehensible to cultural outsiders – they are neither opaque nor completely transparent; (iii) such entities sometimes have non-aesthetic – ceremonial or religious or propagandistic – functions, and sometimes do not; (iv) such entities might conceivably be produced by non-human species, terrestrial or otherwise; and it seems at least in principle possible that they be extraspecifically recognizable as such; (v) traditionally, artworks are intentionally endowed by their makers with properties, often sensory, having a significant degree of aesthetic interest, usually surpassing that of most everyday objects; (vi) art’s normative dimension – the high value placed on making and consuming art – appears to be essential to it, and artworks can have considerable moral and political as well as aesthetic power; (vii) the arts are always changing, just as the rest of culture is: as artists experiment creatively, new genres, art-forms, and styles develop; standards of taste and sensibilities evolve; understandings of aesthetic properties, aesthetic experience, and the nature of art evolve; (viii) there are institutions in some but not all cultures which involve a focus on artifacts and performances that have a high degree of aesthetic interest but lack any practical, ceremonial, or religious use; (ix) entities seemingly lacking aesthetic interest, and entities having a high degree of aesthetic interest, are not infrequently grouped together as artworks by such institutions; (x) lots of things besides artworks – for example, natural entities (sunsets, landscapes, flowers, shadows), human beings, and abstract entities (theories, proofs, mathematical entities) – have interesting aesthetic properties.Of these facts, those having to do with art’s contingent cultural and historical features are emphasized by some definitions of art.