- The first volume in the new Foundations of the Philosophy ofthe Arts series, designed to provide crisp introductions to thefundamental general questions about art, as well as to questionsabout the several arts (such as literature, music orpainting).
- Presents a clear and insightful introduction to central topicsand on-going debates in the philosophy of art.
- Eight sections cover a wide spectrum of topics such as theinterpretation of art, the relation between art and moral values,and the expression and arousal of emotion through art.
- Pedagogical features include full-color illustrations, vibrantexamples, thought-provoking discussion questions and helpfulsuggested readings.
About the Author
Table of ContentsList of Figures.
Why study the philosophy of art?.
Applications and questions.
References and readings.
1. Evolution and culture.
A biological basis for art.
The cultural invention of art.
The big and the small picture.
"It all depends what you mean by the word art.".
Applications and Connections - the museum, tourist art, popularart, and ancient art.
2. Defining art.
Essentialism and anti-essentialism.
Arguments against the project of definition.
If not an essence, what unifies the concept of art?.
Some definitions of art.
Definitions and non-Western art.
Applications and Connections - intuition versus definition,art's value and definition, Euthyphro and experts.
3. Aesthetics and the philosophy of art.
Aesthetic and artistic properties.
The aesthetic attitude and art for art's sake.
Aesthetic theory criticized.
Artworks that pose a challenge to aesthetic theory.
Art's contextually relative properties.
Art for art's sake, again.
Applications and Connections - copies and misattributions,viscera and understanding.
4. Varieties of art.
Artworks as public items.
Are artworks created or discovered?.
Are all artworks potentially multiple?.
Multiply instanced artworks.
New works based on old ones.
The ontological variety of works of art.
Is the identity of an artwork fixed or evolving?.
Applications and Connections - musical recordings, the movie ofthe movie, the matter replicator.
When is interpretation necessary?.
What is interpreted?.
Uses for interpretation.
Does interpretation change the work's meaning?.
What is interpretation's primary purpose?.
6. Expression and emotional responses.
The nature of emotion.
Identifying others' emotions.
Identifying the emotions in art.
The expression of emotion in music and abstract art.
The emotional response of the audience to the work of art.
Responding to fictions.
Responding to tragedies.
Responding to the expressiveness of instrumental music andabstract art.
7. Pictorial representation and the visual arts.
The experience of representation.
Representation and resemblance.
Representation — culture and biology again.
Art versus non-art, a matter of style.
Representation in photographs and paintings.
Recognition and representation.
Photography as an art.
8. The value of art.
Evaluation and functionality.
Rules, universality, and objectivity in artistic evaluation.
The purpose and form of artistic evaluation.
What is rewarding about the experience of art?.
Value and pleasure.
Art and education.
Messages through art.
The relation between artistic and moral values.
Should a work's immorality undermine its claims to artisticmerit?.
Morality in documentaries and fictions.
What People are Saying About This
"This book is an outstanding achievement in pedagogical clarity andphilosophical argument, and certainly is worth reading by studentswho seek an introduction to philosophy of art as well as byprofessionals who look for a well-argued commentary on...the keyissues in the field. Without hesitation I recommend it toall."–Thomas Heyd, Philosophy in Review
“A judicious and wide-ranging introduction to contemporaryphilosophy of art by one of its foremost practitioners.Davies’s book is notable for emphasizing both the biologicaland cultural dimensions of artmaking, for regularly keeping in viewnon-Western as well as Western modes of art, and for an exemplarydegree of clarity and reader-friendliness.”–Jerrold Levinson, University of Maryland
“Davies has contributed to almost every debate incontemporary philosophy of art. Clearly written, with intriguingexamples, this book brings readers to the cutting edge of everycore topic in aesthetics.”–Dominic McIver Lopes, University of BritishColumbia
“This book sets a new standard for introductory books inaesthetics and philosophy of art. Brief but knowledgeabledescriptions of examples show how philosophical questions arise andillustrate how various views might be challenged. Technical termsfunction as tools, not burdens. Applications and connectionssections at the end of each chapter raise readers’ interestand show how much more there is to the issues discussed.Davies’s book is a pleasure to read and manages to enlivenboth philosophy and the way we think about the arts ingeneral.”–Susan Feagin, Temple University
"In the first volume in the new Foundations of the Philosophyof the Arts series by Blackwell, which is designed to providecrisp introductions to the fundamental general questions about art,as well as to questions about the several arts, Davies presents aninsightful introduction to central topics and on-going debates inthe philosophy of art."–Pavel Sedlak, Centre for Arts and New Technologies inPraque