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Art, Philosophy, And The Philosophy Of Art

Decent Essays
What is art? Some philosophers believe that art needs to evoke thoughts or feelings- that it is defined by its effects on its viewers. Others contend that art is defined by how it was made and what it was intended to represent. There are many different theories that attempt to define art in various ways, as well as theories that negate the possibility and necessity of a definition at all. In his work, “Art, Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art,” Danto looks at the question, “What distinguishes art from the ordinary?” He discusses the problem that Andy Warhol’s famous sculpture, “Brillo Boxes,” appears indiscernible from an actual ordinary pile of Brillo boxes- yet one is art and the other is not. We encounter a similar issue when we imagine that objects that are the exact same as works of art are created at random. Danto provides several examples of this as well- monkeys typing randomly and producing plays written by Shakespeare, or an explosion at a marble quarry that, by chance, produces a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (Danto). These works are physically the same as their famous counterparts in every aspect, but likely would not be considered art. Why is that? Danto asserts that the definition of art begins with the idea that all true works of art are “representations, … [in the sense that] it’s always legitimate to ask what they are about” (Danto). More simply put, works of art have a meaning. Danto believes this theory solves the “Problem of
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