Patrick Grafton-Cardwell
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
There are a number of recent discussions on the question of when an artwork is complete. While it has been observed that a work might be complete in one way and not in another, the impact of this observation has been minimal. Discussion has been continued as if there is only one real sense of completion that matters. I argue that this is a mistake. Even if there were only one (or one most important) kind of completion, extant theories of completion would be bad candidates for that one kind. The best explanation of the failure of extant theories is that there are many kinds of completion, many corresponding senses of “completion,” and no kind of artwork completion is objectively more important than any other. We have a good reason to think that this is the case given the disparate interests we have when we ask completion questions. Once we have realized that those concerns track properties that are often unrelated, the question for theorists to answer becomes, “In how many ways can an artwork be complete?”
Keywords Art  Completion
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/jaac.12715
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,163
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Works and Worlds of Art.Nicholas Wolterstorff - 1983 - Mind 92 (366):306-309.
Descriptivism and Its Discontents.David Davies - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (2):117-129.
The Ontology of Art and Knowledge in Aesthetics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3):221–229.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Pluralism About Artwork Completeness.Guy Rohrbaugh - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (1):105-108.
The Heart of Classical Work-Performance.Andrew Kania - 2022 - British Journal of Aesthetics 62 (1):125-141.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

D -Completions and the D -Topology.Klaus Keimel & Jimmie D. Lawson - 2009 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 159 (3):292-306.
Artwork Completion: A Response to Gover.Kelly Trogdon & Paisley Nathan Livingston - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (4):460-462.
Amodal Completion and Knowledge.Grace Helton & Bence Nanay - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):415-423.
Functional Completion.Vladimir Lifschitz & Fangkai Yang - 2013 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 23 (1-2):121-130.
Filling-In: One or Many?Luiz Pessoa, Evan Thompson & Alva Noë - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (6):1137-1139.
Non-Completion and Informed Consent.Alan Wertheimer - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2):127-130.
First-Order Theories for Pure Prolog Programs with Negation.Robert F. Stärk - 1995 - Archive for Mathematical Logic 34 (2):113-144.


Added to PP index

Total views
45 ( #251,481 of 2,506,520 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #277,244 of 2,506,520 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes