Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Definition of Art

Art (dkj) = The suitably technical, creative, and intentional embodiment of aesthetically engaging thought or emotion in any publicly accessible medium.

The definition is intensional, yet wide "open" to all new types and tokens of art (contra Weitz); that is, despite specifying all necessary conditions, it remains both inclusive and expansive. Admittedly, several words and phrases (creative, suitably, aesthetically engaging) require further elaboration.

In its current state, therefore, the definition is silent on qualitative/evaluative issues (good/bad art), and simply distinguishes art from nonart -- unless parsing the vague terms ("suitably," especially) produces levels of merit or kinds of art (fine v. primitive v. decorative, etc.)

There are five necessary and jointly sufficient conditions:

1. The activity is intentional
2. The activity is suitably technically demanding
3. The activity is suitably creative
4. The product exists in a publicly accessible medium
5. The product primarily embodies aesthetically engaging thought or emotion (or some combination of the two)

Comments welcome.


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