Defining Art, Creating the Canon

Defining Art, Creating the Canon : Artistic Value in an Era of Doubt

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What is art; why should we value it; and what allows us to say that one work is better than another?

Traditional answers have emphasized aesthetic form. But this has been challenged by institutional definitions of art and postmodern critique. The idea of distinctively artistic value based on aesthetic criteria is at best doubted, and at worst, rejected. This book, however, champions the traditional notions. It restores the mimetic definition of art on the basis of factors which traditional answers neglect, namely the conceptual link between art's aesthetic value and 'non-exhibited'
epistemological and historical relations.

These factors converge on an expanded notion of the artistic image (a notion which can even encompass music, abstract art, and some conceptual idioms). The image's style serves to interpret its subject-matter. If this style is original (in comparative historical terms) it can manifest that special kind of aesthetic unity which we call art. Appreciation of this involves a heightened interaction of capacities (such as imagination and understanding) which are basic to knowledge and personal
identity. By negotiating these factors, it is possible to define art and its canonic dimensions objectively, and to show that aforementioned sceptical alternatives are incomplete and self-contradictory.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 276 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15mm | 396g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0199698589
  • 9780199698585
  • 1,226,843

Table of contents

Introduction: Normative Aesthetics and Artistic Value ; PART ONE: CULTURE AND ARTISTIC VALUE ; 1. Cultural Exclusion and the Definition of Art ; 2. Defining Art, Defending the Canon, Contesting Culture ; PART TWO: THE AESTHETIC AND THE ARTISTIC ; 3. From Beauty to Art; Developing Kant's Aesthetics ; 4. The Scope and Value of the Artistic Image ; PART THREE: DISTINCTIVE MODES OF IMAGING ; 5. Twofoldness: Pictorial Art and the Imagination ; 6. Between Language and Perception: Literary Metaphor ; 7. Musical Meaning and Value ; 8. Eternalizing the Moment: Artistic Projections of Time ; Conclusion - The Status and Future of Art
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Review quote

Review from previous edition This book is rich and sweeping, ambitious and dense, taking its reader through a fast-paced argument which addresses and borrows from cultural criticism, transcendental idealism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics ... It is unusually wide in its scope, it deals with several of the central questions for philosophy of art, and it offers an occasion to think hard about the deeper commitments we have both as philosophers and as
art-lovers. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Paul Crowther

Paul Crowther is Professor of Philosophy and the Visual Arts at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.
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