Art and metaphysics

Morris, Michael (2019) Art and metaphysics. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 94 (1). ISSN 0309-7013 (Accepted)

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Artists often think of themselves as engaged in a project of understanding things. Many of those who look at, listen to, or read works of art think that they emerge from the experience with their understanding enriched: that’s the point of it, they think. What do all these people think they understand through art? Everything: people, life, the world. My aim is to defend the following ambitious claim, which I think these people are committed to: one of the principal functions of representational art is to enable us to understand the world as it is in itself in a particular, distinctive way.
One thing which makes the defence of that claim challenging is the following non-distraction thesis: attending to the medium of a representational work of art cannot inevitably be a distraction from attending to its content. This seems to me close to the essence of representational art.
So the question is: how can understanding the world be a principal function of representational art, if it’s essential to representational art that medium and content be somehow thought and experienced together?
In this paper, I offer an answer to that question.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy > BD095 Metaphysics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Depositing User: Michael Morris
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2019 08:20
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2020 11:41

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