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Title: Arthur Danto's philosophy of art
Author: Lafferty, Michael Gerald
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2006
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The thesis is a critical examination of Danto's philosophy of art. It begins with his article 'The Artworld' where he proposes a special is of artistic identification to distinguish artworks. Danto's idea of the artworld is discussed, a historical and contextual theory of art, which arose from his attempt to explain the difference between Warhol's Brillo Boxes sculpture and an indiscernible stack of everyday Brillo boxes. It is argued that Danto unsuccessfully attempts to shore up his artworld concept with the special is. The technique of comparing indiscernible counterparts, from Danto's book The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, is examined. It is argued that the technique is philosophically redundant, but it is a redundant premise which has been added to a valid inference (Danto's historical and contextual view of art: his artworld theory) therefore, this does not make the original inference invalid. Danto's treatment of metaphor, expression, and style is shown to result in four claims. First, artworks embody rhetorical ellipsis. Second, artworks share features of metaphor: they are intensional (with an s) in structure and cannot be paraphrased. Third, a work of art expresses what it is a metaphor for by the way it depicts its subject. Fourth, artworks embody style. The conclusion, has two parts. The first part gives a summary of the criticism of Danto's theory of art: (1) there are logical inconsistencies in his concept of the is of artistic identification and in his use of indiscernible counterparts, (2) his theory suffers by being over-inclusive and (3) he uses circular arguments. The second part is based on a response to the criticism: it provides a definition of art. This has three elements. First, an argument is proposed for a spectrum of artistic presence in which all human activity and artefacts can be placed. Second, there is an acceptance of Danto's view of art (or artistic presence) being both intentional (with a t) and intensional (with an s); however, by applying these concepts to a spectrum, the problem of over-inclusiveness is avoided. Finally, it is argued there can he no wholly non-circular account of art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR