Aesthetics contemporary theories
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Aesthetics: Contemporary Theories. Aims of the Course. To provide an introduction to Contemporary Aesthetics To discuss a range of topics that are relevant to the judgment and appreciation of art To think about a range of topics in relation to works in Tate Modern. Further Information.

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Aesthetics: Contemporary Theories

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Aesthetics contemporary theories

Aesthetics: Contemporary Theories


Aims of the course

Aims of the Course

  • To provide an introduction to Contemporary Aesthetics

  • To discuss a range of topics that are relevant to the judgment and appreciation of art

  • To think about a range of topics in relation to works in Tate Modern


Further information

Further Information

  • See www.artandallusion.com

  • My email: [email protected]


Week by week

Week by Week

  • 1) Against Definition

  • 2) The Institutional Theory

  • 3) Identifying Art (change!)

  • 4) Aesthetic Concepts

  • 5) Artists’ Intentions

  • 6) Style and Personality


Traditional aesthetic theories

Traditional Aesthetic Theories

  • Define art

  • Give its essence

  • Spell this out in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions


Weitz

WEITZ

  • Focus not on ‘What is Art?’

  • But on “What sort of concept is ‘Art’?”


Necessary conditions

Necessary Conditions

  • = pre-requisites

  • E.g. necessary condition of being a fox that a mammal

  • E.g. necessary condition of being a student that you are studying something


Sufficient conditions

Sufficient Conditions

  • = guarantees

  • E.g. sufficient condition of being a student that you are studying at Oxford University

  • E.g. sufficient condition of being on this course, that you have a ticket.


Art and nec and suff conditions

Art and Nec. And Suff. Conditions

  • According to Clive Bell a work of art is

  • 1) An Artifact (necessary but not sufficient)

  • 2) Has Significant Form (necessary and sufficient)


Weitz on the attempt to define art

Weitz on the attempt to define art….

  • ‘a logically vain attempt to define what cannot be defined’ (p.411).

    = treating art as a closed concept when it is an open one…


Open concepts

Open Concepts

  • Derived from Ludwig Wittgenstein on games – in Philosophical Investigations

  • No common essence of ‘game’

  • Open concepts require a decision with new cases; closed, can state nec. and suff. conditions


Sub concepts of art

Sub-concepts of Art

  • E.g. is this work a sculpture?

  • Answer isn’t given by reference to nec. and suff. conditions but by decision of whether or not to extend concept of art to cover it.


Summary p 413

Summary (p.413)

  • ‘the very expansive, adventurous character of art, its ever present changes and novel creations, makes it logically impossible to ensure any set of defining properties.’

  • Can close the concept…


Aesthetics contemporary theories

BUT…

  • What is Weitz’s evidence?

  • 1) Past failures of definitions

  • 2) Plausibility of family resemblance notion.

  • Does it follow that it is ‘logically impossible’?


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