Book: The Art Question

behind-the-ball

‘The Art Question’ by Nigel Warburton is a fantastic read for those interested in aesthetics and ‘What is art?’ or ‘Is this art?’ question. Warburton looks at some of the best known art theories – Clive Bell’s formalism, R.G. Collingwood’s expressionism, Wittgensteinian denial of the possibility of definition, George Dickie’s Institutional Theory (inspired in part by Arthur Danto), and Jerrold Levinson’s intentional-historical definition – and concludes that art can not be generalised (“The art question resists […] general claim.”) and that there is no simple, all-encompassing definition for it. Instead, Warburton suggests “the role of theorising about art’s definition is best restricted to particular cases,” as a way to approach and analyse individual works case-by-case.

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