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Title: Conceptual art : what is it?
Author: Hanson, Louise Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2731 3883
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Conceptual Art (henceforth CA) has the peculiar status of being at once a neglected topic in philosophical aesthetics, and one on which a degree of philosophical weight disproportionate to the attention it has received is placed. On the one hand it is frequently mentioned by philosophers as a problematic case, one that general theories of art have difficulty dealing with, but on the other, there is a notable lack of philosophical research taking CA as its focus. It is largely taken as a given that CA is radically different from other art in various ways and thus poses problems for some of the general statements about art that philosophers tend to make. But it is striking that these claims are not, for the most part, grounded in a thorough investigation into the nature of CA. The purpose of my research is to conduct such an investigation; to address the question of what CA is, and what makes it different from other art, in order to come to a clearer view of what particular philosophical issues or difficulties CA raises for the philosophy of art. In existing literature on CA, it is standard to take CA’s distinctiveness to have something to do with the importance of ‘ideas’. I investigate what could be meant here by ‘idea’, and identify two broad schools of thought as to what form this emphasis on ideas in CA takes: Priority Accounts, which claim that in CA ideas are the most important aspect of the work and Constitution Accounts, which claim that works of CA are ideas. I identify serious problems for Constitution Accounts, in general, and for some kinds of Priority Account. I then put forward a new kind of Priority account which I think overcomes the problems faced by its rivals.
Supervisor: Stock, Kathleen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy ; philosophy ; aesthetics ; Conceptual Art