Philosophy TV Managing Editors

David Killoren (Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University)

Jonathan Lang (Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness, University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Christy Mag Uidhir and Aaron Meskin

Christy Mag Uidhir and Aaron Meskin on the definition of art.

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Mag Uidhir and Meskin begin with an overview of philosophical approaches to the definition of art since the 1950s: Morris Weitz’s anti-essentialism about art (0:44); George Dickie’s institutional theory of art (4:44); and the recent decline of interest among philosophers in the definitional project (7:46). Mag Uidhir attacks the institutional theory (9:18). Meskin talks about the recent surge of attention to particular art forms (16:48). Mag Uidhir describes his work with P.D. Magnus on pluralism about art concepts (21:10). Then Mag Uidhir and Meskin debate Mag Uidhir’s views on the possibility and significance of art failure (30:39). They conclude with a discussion of Meskin’s wide-ranging experimental work on the mere exposure effect, the semantics of aesthetic adjectives, and the nature of aesthetic testimony (49:59).

Related works

by Mag Uidhir:
Blog: Aesthetics for Birds
Art and Art-Attempts (2013)
with P.D. Magnus: “Art Concept Pluralism” (2011)
“Failed-Art and Failed Art-Theory” (2010)

by Meskin:
with Phelan, Moore, and Kieran: “Mere Exposure to Bad Art” (2013)
with Roy T. Cook (editors): The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (2012)
“The Cluster Account of Art Reconsidered” (2009)

See also:
Morris Weitz, “The Role of Theory in Aesthetics” (1956)
George Dickie, “Defining Art” (1969)
Arthur Danto, “The Artworld” (1964)