Chapter 1 of the ongoing online publication "Artificial Aesthetics: A Critical Guide to AI, Media and Design", Lev Manovich and Emanuele Arielli -/- Book information: Assume you're a designer, an architect, a photographer, a videographer, a curator, an art historian, a musician, a writer, an artist, or any other creative professional or student. Perhaps you're a digital content creator who works across multiple platforms. Alternatively, you could be an art historian, curator, or museum professional. -/- You may be wondering how (...) AI will affect your professional area in general and your work and career. Our book offers intellectual tools to help us better see the future of creative fields. These tools come from philosophy of art, experimental psychology, media theory, digital culture studies and data science. The book is the first to combine these different perspectives together. -/- We started the work on the book in summer 2019, exchanging numerous messages, commenting on each other ideas, and sharing drafts of sections. The final book is a result of this process. Although each chapter is written by one author, it reflects the discussions we had over 27 months. (shrink)
Chapter 3 of the ongoing publication "Artificial Aesthetics" Book information: Assume you're a designer, an architect, a photographer, a videographer, a curator, an art historian, a musician, a writer, an artist, or any other creative professional or student. Perhaps you're a digital content creator who works across multiple platforms. Alternatively, you could be an art historian, curator, or museum professional. -/- You may be wondering how AI will affect your professional area in general and your work and career. Our book (...) offers intellectual tools to help us better see the future of creative fields. These tools come from philosophy of art, experimental psychology, media theory, digital culture studies and data science. The book is the first to combine these different perspectives together. -/- We started the work on the book in summer 2019, exchanging numerous messages, commenting on each other ideas, and sharing drafts of sections. The final book is a result of this process. Although each chapter is written by one author, it reflects the discussions we had over 27 months. (shrink)
_An exploration of the relationship between contemporary art, politics, and activism, Artists Remake the World introduces readers to the political ambitions of contemporary art in the early twenty-first century and puts forward a new, wide-ranging account of art’s political potential. Surveying such innovations as evidence-driven art, socially engaged art, and ecological art, the book explores how artists have attempted to offer bold solutions to the world’s problems. Vid Simoniti offers original perspectives on contemporary art and its capacity as a force (...) for political and social change. At its best, he argues, contemporary art allows us to imagine utopias and presents us with hard truths, which mainstream political discourse cannot yet articulate. Covering subjects such as climate change, social justice, and global inequality, Simoniti introduces the reader to a host of visionary contemporary artists from across the globe, including Ai Weiwei, Olafur Eliasson, Wangechi Mutu, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, and Hito Steyerl. Offering a philosophy of contemporary art as an experimental branch of politics, the book equips the reader with a new critical apparatus for thinking about political art today. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the 21st century, technologies like neural networks, deep learning and “artificial intelligence” (AI) have gradually entered the artistic realm. We witness the development of systems that aim to assess, evaluate and appreciate artifacts according to artistic and aesthetic criteria or by observing people’s preferences. In addition to that, AI is now used to generate new synthetic artifacts. When a machine paints a Rembrandt, composes a Bach sonata, or completes a Beethoven symphony, we say that this is (...) neither original nor real art, but simply the complex imitation and reproduction of existing products of human culture. We face the old question concerning the nature of creativity: what kind of recombination of ideas, unusual analogies, and conceptual connections are considered the mark of originality? Can AI produce artworks? Could machines reach a point at which we consider them genuinely creative? We also need to investigate the challenges posed by AI-art to the notion of authoriality: Who is the author of an artificially generated artifact? An artificial system could be considered just an artist’s and a programmer’s tool. However, we are also fascinated by the idea of autonomous artificial creativity in the aesthetic domain, as a manifestation of highly intelligent behavior. This paper will try to define some key questions around what could it mean to consider a machine creative or even equipped with artistic intentionality. (shrink)
Cooperation among arts scholars is thought to be hampered by the division of research on the arts into two cultures, one scientific, one humanistic. This paper proposes an alternative model for research into the arts wherein multiple levels of explanation focussed on well-bounded phenomena integrate research across academic disciplines. Two case studies of research that fits the model are presented.
Thailand has a rich history of using aesthetics as a means of communication. This is seen not only in the communication of basic ideas, but aesthetics are also used to communicate the cultural values of the nation. Aesthetical images in Thailand have the tendency to dwell both in the realm of the mundane and the supernatural, in the daily and the esoteric. Historically, many faith traditions have used aesthetics as an effective form of communication, including Buddhism, Brahmanism, as well as (...) other local expressions of deities across the country. Art plays a large role in the daily communication of religious values and concepts. -/- While Christianity has a rather long history in Thailand, the large-scale impact that Christianity, and specifically Protestantism, has had is rather minimal. There can be a myriad of reasons for this, but one potential possibility is Christianity’s lack of an aesthetical engagement upon and within Thai culture. This potentially is not an issue of only the Protestant church in Thailand but also stems from some of the western Christian roots throughout its faith tradition. One finds a chasm between aesthetical practices and faith from the Heidelberg Confession, in which Christians became so worried about the ramifications of idol worship, that they threw out the proverbial ‘baby with the bathwater’ and basically condemned the use of icons and other forms of art in western Protestantism. -/- Therefore, this paper will examine the relationship between Thai culture and Christianity, trying to remove the western biases in Christianity and will attempt to suggest new ways that the Thai Christian Church may develop organic, indigenous Thai art, that can be used as a more effective means of communication. If Christianity wants to effectively convey its concepts into Thai culture, it must value aesthetics as a means of communication. Is it possible that Christianity could not only communicate a more effective message in Thailand, but also that Christianity could experience a more robust self-analyzation of its core concepts through Thai aesthetics? Therefore, one needs to explore the ways that Christianity may be able to better understand itself through current Thai aesthetical practices. These concepts will be explored to develop a more robust and organic way of communicating the Christian concepts through a Thai paradigm. (shrink)
The premise that every work belongs to an art-kind has recently inspired a kind-centred approach to theories of art. Kind-centred analyses posit that we should abandon the project of giving a general theory of art and focus instead on giving theories of the arts. The main difficulty, however, is to explain what makes a given kind an art-kind in the first place. Kind-centred theorists have passed this buck on to appreciative practices, but this move proves unsatisfactory. I argue that the (...) root of this dissatisfaction stems not from the act of kicking the can down the road, but from not kicking it far enough. The missing ingredient, I argue, is a notion of convention which does the work of marking the difference between art and non-art for a given physical medium. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to synthesize four major elements of aesthetic experience that have previously appeared isolated whenever an attempt at conceptualization is made. These four elements are: Immanuel Kant’s disinterested pleasure, Robin G. Collingwood’s emotional expressionism, the present writer’s redemptive emotional experience, and, lastly, Plato’s concept of Beauty. By taking these four abstracted elements as the bedrock for genuine aesthetic experience, this article aims to clarify the proper role of art as distinct from philosophy and intellectualization. Rather (...) than a medium conducive to intellectual understanding, it is argued that the sphere these four elements of aesthetic experience demarcate is one in which art leads to an emotional understanding that transforms the human condition and it imbues it with new meaning only to be found in a moment of aesthetic experience. (shrink)
In this paper I focus on the topic of reproducibility (and irreproducibility) of aesthetic experience and effects, distinguishing it from the traditional subject of artifact reproducibility. The main aim is to outline a typology of the various kind of irreproducibility of aesthetic experience and to draw some implications for the aesthetic discussion concerning contemporary art. Depending on the type of artwork, we can define the difference (or the “ratio”) between aesthetic experience in the presence of the artwork and aesthetic experience (...) in its absence, that is, in the presence of its reproductions or documentations. For instance, in an easily reproducible painting the difference between experiencing the real artwork or its reproduction could be considered relatively small, while the difference between real experience and reproduction would be high in a complex roomfilling installation. This ratio could depend on ontological, material, or practical reasons and could also depend on the technological means of reproduction and documentation. In conclusion, following Groys (2017), I will suggest that the application of different "strategies of irreproducibility” testifies the urge to escape the replicability of aesthetic experience and the desire to generate forms of uniqueness and exclusivity in the fruition of art, and could therefore be seen as one of the reasons why art today is strongly based on documentations, installations or performative events. You really need to make the real effort to queue up and attend them, no substitute would be otherwise possible. (shrink)
This is an 18,500 word bibliography of philosophical scholarship on Beauty which was published online in the Oxford Bibliographies Online. The entry includes an Introduction of 800 words, 21 x 400-word sub-themes and 168 annotated references. INTRODUCTION Philosophical interest in beauty began with the earliest recorded philosophers. Beauty was deemed to be an essential ingredient in a good life and so what it was, where it was to be found and how it was to be included in a life were (...) prime considerations. The way beauty has been conceived has been influenced by an author’s other philosophical commitments, metaphysical, epistemological and ethical and such commitments reflect the historical and cultural position of the author. For example, beauty is a manifestation of the divine on earth to which we respond with love and adoration; beauty is a harmony of the soul which we achieve through cultivating feeling in a rational and tempered way; beauty is an idea raised in us by certain objective features of the world; beauty is a sentiment which can nonetheless be cultivated to be appropriate to its object; beauty is the object of a judgment by which we exercise the social, comparative and inter-subjective elements of cognition and so on. Such views on beauty not only reveal underlying philosophical commitments but also reflect positive contributions to understanding the nature of value and the relation of mind and world. One way to distinguish between beauty theories is according to the conception of the human being that they assume or imply, for example, where they fall on the continuum from determinism to free will, ungrounded notions of compatibilism notwithstanding. For example, theories at the latter end might carve out a sense of genuine innovation and creativity in human endeavours while at the other end of the spectrum authors may conceive of beauty as an environmental trigger for consumption, procreation or preservation in the interests of the individual. Treating beauty experiences as in some respect intentional, characterises beauty theory prior to the twentieth century and since, mainly in historically inspired writing on beauty. On the other hand, treating beauty as affect or sensation has always had its representatives and is most visible today in evolutionary inspired accounts of beauty (though not all evolutionary accounts fit this classification). Beauty theory falls under some combination of metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, aesthetics and psychology. While in the twentieth century beauty was more likely to be conceived as an evaluative concept for art, recent philosophical interest in beauty can again be seen to exercise arguments pertaining to metaphysics, epistemology, meta-ethics, philosophy of meaning and language in addition to philosophy of art and environmental aesthetics. (shrink)
Art historians and philosophers often talk about the interpretive significance of titles, but few have bothered with their historical origins. This omission has led to the assumption that an artwork's title is its proper name, since names and titles share the essential function of facilitating reference to their bearers. But a closer look at the development of our titling practices shows a significant point of divergence from standard analyses of proper names: the semantic content of a title is often crucial (...) to the identification, individuation, and interpretation of its associated artwork. This paper represents a first step towards an empirically centred study of our titling practices. I argue that, in order to accept titles as proper names, we must first recognize the social, rather than the referential, function of naming. (shrink)
The striking title The End of Art managed to draw attention to the philosophical work of Arthur Danto. However, the lack of a systematic development which could support this thesis made him face harsh criticism. However, strong foundations for his statements can be deduced from his writings. In this paper, I analyse how to understand the thesis of the ‘end of art’. It should be approached not as a monolitical notion but as a complex concept that combines three different senses: (...) 1) the ‘end of art’ in the Hegelian sense: the conversion of art into philosophy, 2) the ‘end of art’ in the historiographical sense: as the end to the narratives of the history of art, and 3) the ‘end of art’ as the beginning of a new period in history, where Danto’s philosophy of art would be fully valid. (shrink)
This book proposes a new methodology for aesthetics, where problems in philosophy are addressed by examining how aesthetic phenomena are understood in the human sciences. Lopes then puts the methodology to work, illuminating the perceptual and social-pragmatic capacities involved in responding to works of visual art, literature, and music.
In his book The Metaphysics of Beauty Nick Zangwill argues for the claim that aesthetic properties metaphysically necessarily depend on sensory properties. This claim plays a role in his argument against physicalist aesthetic realism as well as in the formulation of his own response- dependence view. In this article, I offer reasons to resist the aesthetic/ sensory dependence claim by a discussion of the case of theories, theorems, proofs, and similar theoretical objects, which do possess genuinely aesthetic properties, while these (...) do not depend on any sensory properties. I argue against Zangwill’s claim that such attributions of aesthetic properties are merely metaphorical. (shrink)
Antiques are undoubtedly objects worthy of aesthetic appreciation, but do they have a distinctive aesthetic value in virtue of being antiques? In this article we give an account of what it is to be an antique that gives the thesis that they do have a distinctive aesthetic value a chance of being true and suggests what that distinctive value consists in. After introducing our topic in Section I, in Section II we develop and defend the Adjectival Thesis: the thesis that (...) the concept of being an antique is an adjectival concept. This provides us with the means to formulate our definition, which we do in Section III. In Section IV we further explicate and defend our definition. In Section V we conclude by briefly saying where we think our definition could be improved, by making a few comments about the aesthetics of antiques and by stating an interesting consequence of our definition: that it is not analytic that antiques are old. (shrink)
Art is about the exploration of the strange and disturbing; it is not about classical fine crafting. Artists use artworks to exteriorise their inner landscapes, thereby allowing others to experience their take on life, at least vicariously. It is this exteriorisation which is ‘art’, not the aesthetic features of the individual artworks themselves, which is properly the domain of crafting and design. Aesthetics cannot explain the work of many major modern contemporary artists, because it fails to locate the underlying unifying (...) ideas. Jeff Koons qualifies as an artist not because of his production of standalone objects, but because behind these objects is a distinctive and unusual mentality and mindset which gives meaning to them. This is where the art of Jeff Koons is to be located. His work is contrasted with that of Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, in order to further illustrate and clarify the conception of art employed in this study. (shrink)
One of the difficulties standing in the way of a straightforward understanding of art is caused by the confusion that arises at a very basic level between the purposes and functions of various types of crafted material. In fact, there are only three major types – covering all eventualities – and being able to differentiate between them very much helps to pinpoint exactly what the special nature of ‘art’ is.
This work departs from Beardsley’s critique to the intentional fallacy, in order to introduce the concept of artist’s concerns, extrinsic to works but manifest in them. Then, we will describe António Dacosta’s (1914-1990) unique career, considering topography the main poetical and aesthetic value for some works of the period 1984-1990. And, although they seem to depict islands, we will argue that Dacosta depicted insularity in an unparalleled way. -/- Este trabalho parte da crítica de Beardsley à falácia intencional para propor (...) a noção de preocupações do artista, exteriores às obras mas nelas manifestas. Depois, iremos descrever o percurso singular de António Dacosta (1914-1990), tomando a topografia como o principal valor poético e estético em algumas obras do período 1984-1990. E, embora pareça representar ilhas, iremos defender que Dacosta representou a insularidade de um modo sem paralelo. (shrink)
Abstract. I outline the standard picture of fiction. According to this picture, fiction is centred on making believe some truth-apt content. I take a closer look at everyday usage of the expressions ‘according to the fiction’ and ‘in the fiction’ to countervail the streamlining tendencies that come with the standard picture. Having outlined highly variegated use patterns, I argue for a metaexpressivist picture: ‘according to the fiction’ does not primarily report fictional truth but a complex pattern of reactions the fiction (...) seems intended to elicit. In the corresponding expressivist picture of the act of fiction-making, the latter is not primarily modeled on stating and believing truth but on the variegated pattern of intended reactions. (shrink)
It’s a platitude – which only a philosopher would dream of denying – that whereas words are connected to what they represent merely by arbitrary conventions, pictures are connected to what they represent by resemblance. The most important difference between my portrait and my name, for example, is that whereas my portrait and I are connected by my portrait’s resemblance to me, my name and I are connected merely by an arbitrary convention. The first aim of this book is to (...) defend this platitude from the apparently compelling objections raised against it, by analysing depiction in a way which reveals how it is mediated by resemblance. -/- It’s natural to contrast the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance, which emphasises the differences between depictive and descriptive representation, with an extremely close analogy between depiction and description, which emphasises the similarities between depictive and descriptive representation. Whereas the platitude emphasises that the connection between my portrait and me is natural in a way the connection between my name and me is not, the analogy emphasises the contingency of the connection between my portrait and me. Nevertheless, the second aim of this book is to defend an extremely close analogy between depiction and description. -/- The strategy of the book is to argue that the apparently compelling objections raised against the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance are manifestations of more general problems, which are familiar from the philosophy of language. These problems, it argues, can be resolved by answers analogous to their counterparts in the philosophy of language, without rejecting the platitude. So the combination of the platitude that depiction is mediated by resemblance with a close analogy between depiction and description turns out to be a compelling theory of depiction, which combines the virtues of common sense with the insights of its detractors. (shrink)
While the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty remained engaged with artistic creation throughout his entire work, which continues to inspire artists today in manifold ways, no systematic and artistically inclusive study of this dimension of his thought has existed so far. Du sensible à l’œuvre fills this gap by offering not only an in-depth study of Merleau-Ponty’s aesthesiology and aesthetics by international Merleau-Ponty scholars spanning three generations, but also a rich selection of essays by art critics and theorists who assess the (...) impact of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy on their own artistic fields, including cinema, music, literature, film, dance, and installation art. (shrink)
Frank Sibley's ideas have been particularly influential among contemporary philosophers interested in aesthetics. Most studies, however, have focused only on his earlier works. In this essay, I explore Sibley's account of the adjectives ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’, paying particular attention to three papers that have only recently been published and that have not yet received adequate attention. In particular, I discuss his account of the adjective ‘beautiful’, which relies on the controversial notion of an aesthetic ideal. In addition, I discuss an (...) account of how aesthetic judgements may change in relation to our coming to know the kind of object being judged and whether, as Sibley maintains, ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ are asymmetric in the sense specified by the author. (shrink)
This essay developed out of the final chapter of The Sympathy of Things where I related beauty to a notion of radical generosity. Tracing generosity back to the ancient Greeks brought me to a whole new world of grace and “charis”, the etymological root of words like charisma and charity. The essay establishes a fundamental connection between grace and beauty, deeply interrelating movement and object. In the second part the argument develops into an ontology based on the concept of radiance, (...) which we encounter in Aglaia, the first of the Three Graces, in fireworks, jewelry, makeup and in fashion, but also in acts of bravery, kindness and friendship. Radiance is subsequently defined as “thickened appearance”, where phenomenology and ontology become continuous in a “presence beyond the present”. (shrink)
This article takes as its starting point the recent work of Frank Ankersmit on subjective historical experience. Such an experience, which Ankersmit describes as a ‘sudden obliteration of the rift between present and past’ is connected strongly with the Deweyan theory of art as experiential, which contains an account of aesthetic experience as affording a similar breakdown in the polarization of the subject and object of experience. The article shows how other ideas deriving from the phenomenological tradition and the philosophy (...) of perception can fruitfully be applied to the same terrain, and an account of aesthetic experience is built up that stresses embodied, differential and virtual aspects in the perception of aesthetic objects. The disruption and/or enhancement of these aisthetic aspects of perception, coupled with the self-conscious reflection thereby occasioned, is put forward as an account of aesthetic experience that links Ankersmit’s ideas with those of others, and a critical reading is made of a section of Ankersmit’s Sublime Historical Experience that centers on his experience of a painting by Francesco Guardi. The fĳinal section aims at strengthening aspects of Ankersmit’s ideas and renews his critique of the radical constructivism of Oakeshott. (shrink)
Key Terms in Philosophy of Art offers a clear, concise and accessible introduction to a vital sub-field of philosophy. The book offers a comprehensive overview of the key terms, concepts, thinkers and major works in the history of this key area of philosophical thought. Ideal for first-year students coming to the subject for the first time, Key Terms in Philosophy of Art will serve as the ideal companion to the study of this fascinating subject. -/- Tiger C. Roholt provides detailed (...) summaries of core concepts in the philosophy of art. An introductory chapter provides context and background, while the following chapters offer detailed definitions of key terms and concepts, introductions to the work of key thinkers, summaries of key texts, introductions to philosophy's approach to the major art forms, and advice on further reading. Designed specifically to meet the needs of students and assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, this is the ideal reference tool for those coming to philosophy of art for the first time. (shrink)
To protect art under the First Amendment, John Finnis claims that art is simply the expression of emotion. Later, to protect aesthetic experience from subjectivity, Finnis claims that aesthetic experience is just a form of knowledge. However, neither of these claims adequately accounts for the nature of their objects nor fully protects them. The expression of emotion—intrinsic to art in Finnis’s view—is not always clear or even present, yet people can still appreciate the work. Equally problematic, aesthetic experience is not (...) mere knowledge. It involves something more: a response or judgment. So, what is the nature and purpose of art and aesthetic experience? I argue that the main purpose of art is to provide the possibility of an aesthetic experience. Further, aesthetic experience is a distinct basic good. This status as a basic good and as the purpose of art provides justification for the state to protect (and occasionally promote) art. (shrink)
Can an understanding be formed of how sensory experience might be presented or manipulated in visual art in order to promote a relational concept of the senses, in opposition to the customary, capitalist notion of sensation as a private possession, as a sensory impression that is mine? I ask the question in the light of recent visual art theory and practice which pursue relational, ecological ambitions. As Arnold Berleant, Nicolas Bourriaud, and Grant Kester see it, ecological ambition and artistic form (...) should correspond, but they fail to recognize sensation as a site where the ecological cause can be fought. Jacques Rancière argues for the political force of the senses, but his distribution of the sensible does not address the particularity of sensory experience. I identify the difference between these approaches within recent relational or ecological aesthetics and my position on sensibility, and indicate some of the problems involved in referring to the senses. I set out the concepts that are central to the cultivation of relational sensibility: style, autofiguration, and the mobility of sensory meaning, extrapolated from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of Paul Cézanne. They amount to positioning the senses ontologically as movements along lines of conceptual-sensory connection and implication, based on the transfer of meanings created artistically through style and autofiguration. (shrink)
This long essay was published in Vital Beauty, a collection including Wendy Steiner and Tim Ingold, which investigates the possibility of new ways toward beauty. This is my first encounter with Hartshorne’s Diagram of Aesthetic Values, a mandala-like structure explaining the relations between aesthetic experiences. The essay looks into the awkward history of the diagram in Hartshorne’s philosophy, its connection to Max Dessoir’s work, to Whitehead’s chapter on beauty in Adventures of Ideas and the notion of creativity in Schelling.
The question of the status-onto-epistemological-the art is plausible to apply it to any context and cultural domain? Some authors argue that yes without any remorse, address this position in this note:  makes a briefly is a bibliographic description of the debates on this problematic,  raises the issue of the status of art, within the framework supported by Belting and Lessing, and  in correspondence with the above, indicated summarily the difficulties and considerations to take into account when attempting (...) to apply licentiously this approach to what we consider is not "Western art", exempli gratia, the Islamic. (shrink)
Neither art criticism nor a scholar’s monograph on an artist, Jean-François Lyotard’s Sam Francis: Lesson of Darkness: ‘like the paintings of a blind man’ is a reflection that engages both the painter and 43 of his works into a conversation alternating painting and aphoristic writing. Their order follows neither the chronology of the works nor a linear argument in the prose. And yet, the work generates the strongest feeling of there being a continuity in this peculiar dialogue of pictures and (...) poeticism, a continuity not clearly presented by logic, but one concerning what remains unpresented in presentation. The conversation is revelatory of their shared concerns with the energetic force of absence and is fascinating. (shrink)
The revised and expanded edition of The Sympathy of Things with Bloomsbury Academic, which appeared in 2016. The pdf sample contains the new preface to the second edition and the foreword by Brian Massumi.
I propose a minimal account of authorship that specifies the fundamental nature of the author-relation and its minimal domain composition in terms of a three-place causal-intentional relation holding between agents and sort-relative works. I contrast my account with the minimal account tacitly held by most authorship theories, which is a two-place relation holding between agents and works simpliciter. I claim that only my view can ground productive and informative principled distincitons between collective production and collective authorship.
Is there a sensible version of the slogan “Art for art’s sake”? If there is, does it apply to anything? I believe that the answers to these questions are Yes and Yes. A positive answer to the first question alone would not be of interest; an intelligible claim without application does not do us much good. It’s the positive answer to the second question which is, I think, more important and perhaps surprising, since I claim to find art for art’s (...) sake at a time well before most authorities would allow that there was any art at all. But I begin more recently than that. (shrink)
When it became uncool to speak of beauty with respect to pieces of art, physicists started claiming that their results are beautiful. They say, for example, that a theory's beauty speaks in favour of its truth, and that they strive to perform beautiful experiments. What does that mean? The notion cannot be defined. (It cannot be defined in the arts either). Therefore, I elucidate it with examples of optical experimentation. Desaguliers' white synthesis, for example, is more beautiful than Newton's, and (...) the many colourful syntheses done by Viennese painter Ingo Nussbaumer exemplify even greater beauty. Here are some criteria (which, of course, do not implement a decision procedure concerning beauty in experiments): cleanliness, simplicity, intellectual clarity, symmetry. Similar criteria are relevant to our aesthetical judgements about some pieces of music. So we can assume that our notion of beauty conserning art is related to the one conserning scientific experiments. (shrink)
Interested in art, we tend to be interested in works of art. We seem to encounter works of art all the time, and—setting aside certain relatively abstruse problems in ontology—we seem to have little difficulty in recognizing them for what they are. That there are works of art seems obvious and unproblematic. Quite so, I think. But reflection on what has to be the case if there are to be works of art shows that some quite demanding conditions have to (...) be met. Some will find those conditions too demanding: if I am right, that means that they should not admit that there are any works of art, and they will have to give some other account of what might be involved when we think we are dealing with a work of art. For myself, I think the conditions are not too demanding: their interest comes in what they show us about the nature of artistic ‘media’, and about what is involved in being a great artist. (shrink)
Proponents of the aesthetic theory of art advocate that the aesthetic domain encompasses all artworks. However, there is a belief that although much art falls under the aesthetic, there are some artworks that do not. Avant-garde artworks are offered as counterexamples to the aesthetic theory as they are artworks that reject the very idea of the aesthetic. This paper explains the idea of non-perceptual aesthetic properties and explores whether it can incorporate avant-garde artworks into the domain of the aesthetic.
The outcome of criticism is a perception. Does this mean that criticism cannot count as a rational process? For it to do so, it seems it would have to be possible for there to be an argument for a perception. Yet perceptions do not seem to be the right sort of item to serve as the conclusions of arguments. Is this appearance borne out? I examine why perceptions might not be able to play that role, and explore what would have (...) to be true of critical discourse for those obstacles to be circumvented. (shrink)
It might come as a surprise for someone who has only a superficial knowledge of Donald Davidson’s philosophy that he has claimed literary language to be ‘a prime test of the adequacy of any view on the nature of language’.1 The claim, however, captures well the transformation that has happened in Davidson’s thinking on language since he began in the 1960’s to develop a truth-conditional semantic theory for natural languages in the lines of Alfred Tarski’s semantic conception of truth. About (...) twenty years afterwards, this project was replaced with a view that highlights the flexible nature of language and, in consequence, the importance of the speaker’s intentions for a theory of meaning, culminating in Davidson’s staggering claim that ‘there is no such thing as a language’. (shrink)
Davies argues that the ontology of artworks as performances offers a principled way of explaining work-relativity of modality. Object oriented contextualist ontologies of art (Levinson) cannot adequately address the problem of work-relativity of modal properties because they understand looseness in what counts as the same context as a view that slight differences in the work-constitutive features of provenance are work-relative. I argue that it is more in the spirit of contextualism to understand looseness as context-dependent. This points to the general (...) problem—the context of appreciation is not robust enough to ground modal intuitions about objective entities. In general, when epistemology dictates ontology there is always a threat of anti-realism, scepticism and relativism. Davies also appeals to the modality principle—an entity’s essential properties are all and only its constitutive properties. Davies understands essentiality in a traditional way: a property P is an essential property of an object o iff o could not exist and lack P. Kit Fine has recently made a convincing case for the view that the notion of essence is not to be understood in modal terms. I explore some of the implications of this view for Davies’ modal argument for the performance theory. (shrink)
The beginning of the 21st century has seen the renewed use of aesthetics as a critical and interpretive method within various discursive spheres. Particularly, and unsurprisingly, this move has been most pronounced in the discursive systems of philosophy and the artworld. It is to this more specific re-discovery that the authors in this journal address their arguments.