The Aesthetic Definition of Art
Question 1. The Aesthetic Definition of Art (Beardsley’s discussion of Duchamp’s Fountain)
Beardsley came up with the definition of artwork as an object or activity produced with the aim of achieving its capacity to fulfill the aesthetic attention. In this definition, Beardsley was trying to dispute the fountain artwork. Beardsley argues that as fountain definition of art appear to have started by defining the artwork or exploring the artistic activity and defining it as well. Beardsley goes ahead to note that neither of the two definitions as per the fountain defines one another. Therefore, he argues for definition of the right activity that will create a way of deciding events and things which qualify as artworks. To strengthen his position, Beardsley proposes that picking the appropriate events and things as the starting point as enshrined in the fountain definition is more difficult and if people go ahead with this approach, they will get into trouble. Besides, Beardsley has used this position as a counter to the definition of artwork provided by the fountain art whereby he says, ‘people will be in trouble if they perceive fountain as an artwork that can suit in the artistic activity definition.To dispute the fountain artwork, Beardsley explores Duchamp definition based on three aspects that make up the artistic activity. First, the fountain premises argue that artwork is a way of production, a definition that Beardsley strong disagree with by highlighting that the same method of production that results into religious work can be used to make up artwork. In the end, both the religious and aesthetic definition of artwork will remain the same thing which ideally it is not. Secondly, the fountain depicts artistic activity as the plans that guide the method of production employed. Beardsley agrees with this definition of artwork. In support of this argument, Beardsley puts across that behavior can be influenced by several intentions. Therefore, having intentions in place to guide the mode of production of artistic activity will help in dealing with activities that go against both artistic and religious intentions.
Finally, the Fountain example portray results as one of the key aspects making up the artistic activity. However, Beardsley weakens this aspect because reliance on the result means that the plans in place to guide production must succeed and will put people into trouble. To cement his argument, Beardsley says that if people use results as the determinants of the artwork, the failed attempts will not be regarded as bad art, but instead, people will say there is no art at all. Upon exploring the three aspects, Beardsley agrees only with the second premise that defines artistic activity as the plans that guide methods of production. In support of the second aspect, Beardsley argues that only shared intentions that can appear and be seen in any artwork such as literature, music or sculpture.
Beardsley agrees with the second aspect as contained in the artistic activity by illustrating that an intention to produce artwork calls for the receptive interaction. The interaction that guides the processing of the artwork is marked by the experiences people use in their powers of discovery. Secondly, the attention that is attached to the artwork being made. Thirdly, the attention that discourages artists from their practical ends. Fourth, the combination of oneself and his or her experiences. Beardsley positions that artistic experiences contains some traits that have aesthetic characteristics, and as a result, they contribute to the growth of aesthetic experience. To strengthen on the aesthetic definition of art Beardsley argues that it is the intention that derives aesthetic experience and as a result end up contributing to aesthetic interest. In the process of counteracting the fountain artwork, Beardsley came up with the definition of artwork as an object or activity produced with the aims of achieving its capacity to fulfill the aesthetic attention.
Question 2: Open Concept Theories (Weitz’s argument for the claim that it is logically impossible to find any necessary conditions for art)
According to Weitz, art is an open concept that has no specific defined conditions. Weitz maintains that logically, it is impossible to have any defined set of properties that can make up art. Therefore, art is an open concept. To support his argument, Weitz argues that the art definition that encompasses the art essence cannot be relied upon as the descriptive one because ideally artists experiment and redraw art boundaries based on their practices. Therefore, there is no possible essential art definition. The only essential art definition must be normative meaning that it establishes art boundaries and limits artistic activity making options. However, Weitz rejects this definition of the art by arguing that it permits creativity to qualify as an essential part of the art and as a result, the essential definition of art can be coined to suit this concept.
In the family resemblance theory, Weitz takes the an-essentialist approach to argue that having specific properties to define art will limit the artistic creativity and innovation. Therefore, art should be an open concept that can accommodate as many artistic ideas as possible. In the discussion of rules of games, Weitz argues that there are no essential and sufficient conditions that can be associated with art. Instead, the art is made up of similar complicated networks that overlap and crisscross one another. As a result, the games will form very many families that resemble each other without a common feature. The anti-essentialism approach as adopted by Weitz goes hand in hand with family resemblance approach. Therefore, there is no way one can dispute his anti-essentialism positions and accept his family resemblance theory.
Weitz uses family resemblance approach to dispute other art theories that justify art as an object that is made of specific properties. For example, Weitz, questions the positions taken be a Great theory, Formalist theory, Emotionalist theory, Intuitionist theory and Organicist theory on art properties. The Great theory defines art as an object that possesses sufficient and necessary characteristics. However, Weitz disputes the proposition taken by this theory by arguing that art lacks true and agreeable definition. Weitz goes further to note that art has no defined sufficient and necessary features but it is a concept of logic that comprises a different concept of shows.
The Formalist theory argues that art is a property that is arranged in a significant form. This means that art is a combination of unique principles and elements. The Emotionalist theory portrays art as an object that is used to express emotions. Intuitionist theory defines art as either public or physical item but rather a specific spiritual, cognitive and innovative act. Weitz agrees to a certain degree with the Intuitionist theory as the one depicting the true definition of art. The Organicist theory defines art as an object made up of inseparable and distinguishable property. According to Weitz all these theories have inadequacies in different ways. Weitz claims that art has no specific definition but an open concept that will call for new decisions for the new works.Question 3: The Cluster Concept Account (Evaluate the Objection from Cookery to The Cluster Concept Account of art)
The Cluster Concept of Account of art by Gaut depicts cluster as a collection specific properties that form the foundation of applying a concept. For any object to be categorized as an art, it must meet one of the criteria subset applicable to the concept. Gaut explained this account based on the three grounds. First, any subset that that appears less than properties making up the cluster and have been included in the object it can be applied to the concept of art sufficiently. Secondly, there are no specific properties that can be applied individually with exception of others. Therefore, all artworks must be artifacts rather than the accumulation of meaningless properties. Thirdly, certain properties can be disjunctively applied in the concept of art. In support of his positions, Gaut argues that a cluster comprises of common properties that can be ascribed to the artwork that should be used as the standards for art hood. According to Gaut, no specific theory can be relied upon as the measure of choosing certain properties.
Gaut position on art has been vehemently objected on the grounds that he has used cooking approaches to defend his theory. Davies argues that Gaut focuses on defending the general properties as contained in the cluster than specific items that can be attached to the cluster. According to Davies, the specific standards used by Gaut to defend his concept comprise of possession of positive aesthetic features. Secondly, ability to express emotions through art. Thirdly, being logically challenging. Fourth, having coherent and complex traits. Fifth, capacity to portray complicated meanings. Sixth, ability to express the individualism perspective. Seventh, giving an opportunity to exercise imaginative creativity. Eighth, providing a performance that exhibits high levels or art skills. Ninth, the concept must belong to a certain well-known artistic form. Tenth, the artwork is a product of intention.
Davies disputes the ten-element cluster by arguing that it is hard to find all artworks possessing the criteria suggested by Gaut. Therefore, an art that does not possess any of the ten cluster elements may be perceived as the weak art. Besides, it appears that Gaut tries to argue that either new properties can be added or old ones removed. It is purely cookery when Gaut says that artwork must be measured based on the cluster concept yet he does provide enough evidence on what is contained in the cluster. Alternatively, it is through cooking approach when Gaut believe that his cluster concept is anti-essentialist on the notions that it permits different ways in which an object can be classified as an art. In fact, he has used specific elements that determine artwork hence closing other artworks that do not possess his proposed properties.
Based on the anti-essentialism approach, Gaut’s concept does not qualify in the definition of art. This is because the anti-essentialism approach as suggested by the aesthetics perceives art as an open concept that can accommodates any property. Therefore, Gaut does not provide a plausible reply because his criteria for determining artwork are not applicable or relevant to all art objects. Instead, it provides the readers with the rough guide to the basics of the artwork.