The cultural definition of art

Simon Fokt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Most modern definitions of art fail to successfully address the issue of the ever-changing nature of art, and rarely even attempt to provide an account that would be valid in more than just the modern Western context. This article develops a new theory that preserves the advantages of its predecessors, solves or avoids their problems, and has a scope wide enough to account for art of different times and cultures. It argues that an object is art in a given context iff some person(s) culturally competent in this context have afforded it the status of a candidate for appreciation for reasons considered good in this context. This weakly institutional view is supplemented by auxiliary definitions explaining the notions of cultural contexts, competence, and good reasons for affording the status. The relativisation to contexts brings increased explanatory power and scope, and the ability to account for the diversity of art.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-429
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • aesthetics
  • art
  • cultural relativism
  • definition of art
  • non-Western art
  • institutionalism


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