ADVANTAGES

A fifth sort of argument concludes that defining art isphilosophically unnecessary, on the grounds that the problemof defining art reduces to a pair of easier sorts of problems: theproblem of giving an account of each individual artform, and theproblem of defining what it is to be an artform. That is, givendefinitions of the individual artforms, and a definition of what it isto be an artform, and given, crucially, that every artwork belongs tosome artform, a definition of art falls out: x is a workof art if and only if x is a work inactivity P, and P is one of the artforms (Lopes2008). Every artwork belongs to an artform, on this view, becauseevery artwork either belongs to an existing artwork or else pioneers anew artform. The key claim that every work of art belonging to noextant artform pioneers a new one may be defended on the grounds thatany reason to say that a work belonging to no extant artform is anartwork is a reason to say that it pioneers a new artform. Inresponse, it is noted that an activity might be ruled out as anartform on the grounds that no artworks belong to it, and that thequestion of whether or not a thing belongs to an artform arises onlybecause there is a prior reason for thinking that the thing is anartwork. So determining whether a practice is an artform requiresdetermining that its elements are artworks. Art, therefore, seemsconceptually prior to artforms. An account of thecomplex analysandum artform seems to require an analysis ofeach component—an analysis of what it is to bean artform no less than an analysis of what it is to be anartform (Adajian 2012).

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