Thursday, November 19, 2009

(AP) What "is" is.

The "is" of simple predication:

Obama is a US citizen.

The "is" of (Clintonian) existential predication:

There is no affair.

The "is" of moral judgment:

War is evil.

The "is" of artistic identification:

That upside-down tree is a work of art.

See also Sherri Irvin's critical commentary on Danto's "is of artistic identification/constitution."


  1. Is it relevant that the "is" of artistic identification is always ostensive?

    Your example, plus the three Danto uses are all ostensive definitions of art. Could this be the same as Weitz' ostensive definition of art?

  2. Nice observation; but I don't think so. I could just as well have said "Any object with the property P is art," and would still be employing the appropriate "is" in a nonostensive context.