This paper considers Joseph Margolis’ aesthetics as an insightful way for making a critical balance of the whole art definition venture with a crucial reference to Wittgenstein’s legacy. The point of departure is represented by Margolis’ claim that the whole definition debate began with a misinterpretation of Wittgenstein’s lesson, whose meaning would not consist in denying any definition of art, but rather in refusing the possibility to give one only, clear and distinct as well as context-independent definition. From here the paper reconsiders Margolis’ first definition of works of art as physically embodied and culturally emergent entities by focusing both on its significance within the analytic debate and on those features pushing him beyond the question “What is art?” towards a philosophy of culture and a philosophical anthropology. To understand art, we need to pose the issue about the relations between a cultural form of life and the nature of persons or selves taking part in it, namely the question about the role of our making artistic and linguistic utterances in the configuration of the human animal out of pre-human primates. This means, on the one hand, that we are compelled to widen substantially the definition edges that are therefore structurally vague. On the other hand, it appears that the issue at stake is a different one. Hence it arises the question if it is still worthwhile speaking about a philosophical definition of art, beyond the everyday usage of the term “definition”.

On a Certain Vagueness in the Definition of Art. Margolis’ Aesthetics and Wittgenstein’ Legacy

Dreon
2019

Abstract

This paper considers Joseph Margolis’ aesthetics as an insightful way for making a critical balance of the whole art definition venture with a crucial reference to Wittgenstein’s legacy. The point of departure is represented by Margolis’ claim that the whole definition debate began with a misinterpretation of Wittgenstein’s lesson, whose meaning would not consist in denying any definition of art, but rather in refusing the possibility to give one only, clear and distinct as well as context-independent definition. From here the paper reconsiders Margolis’ first definition of works of art as physically embodied and culturally emergent entities by focusing both on its significance within the analytic debate and on those features pushing him beyond the question “What is art?” towards a philosophy of culture and a philosophical anthropology. To understand art, we need to pose the issue about the relations between a cultural form of life and the nature of persons or selves taking part in it, namely the question about the role of our making artistic and linguistic utterances in the configuration of the human animal out of pre-human primates. This means, on the one hand, that we are compelled to widen substantially the definition edges that are therefore structurally vague. On the other hand, it appears that the issue at stake is a different one. Hence it arises the question if it is still worthwhile speaking about a philosophical definition of art, beyond the everyday usage of the term “definition”.
Paolozzi & Wittgenstein. The Artist and the Philosopher
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3702390
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