Aesthetic Creation

ISBN : 9780199645305

Nick Zangwill
200 Pages
141 x 215 mm
Pub date
Feb 2012
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What is the purpose of a work of art? What drives us to make art? Why do we value art and consume it? Nick Zangwill argues that we cannot understand the nature of art without first having answers to these fundamental questions. On his view, which he dubs 'the Aesthetic Creation Theory', a work of art is something created for a particular aesthetic purpose. More specifically, the function of art is to have certain aesthetic properties in virtue of its non-aesthetic properties, and this function arises because of the artist's insight into the nature of these dependence relations and her intention to bring them about. In defending this view, Zangwill provides an account of aesthetic action and aesthetic creative thought and shows how the Aesthetic Creation Theory can accommodate two kinds of seeming counterexamples to aesthetic theories of art: narrative art and twentieth-century avant-garde art. Aesthetic Creation also contains a detailed exposition and critique of a range of rival views, including Dickie's institutional theory of art, accounts of art that make essential reference to an audience, and sociological theories which purport to explain the nature of art without recourse to the notion of the aesthetic.


Summary of Chapters
1. Groundrules in the Philosophy of Art
2. The Aesthetic Creation of Art
3. Are there Counterexamples to Aesthetic Theories of Art?
4. Art Essence, Identity and Survival
5. Aesthetic Functionalism
6. Art and Audience
Appendix: On Dickie
7. Against the Sociology of Art
8. Places of publication and Acknowledgements
Subject Index
Author Index

About the author: 

Nick Zangwill is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University.

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