Filippo Contesi (Universitat de Barcelona) on “Shareability in Art Appreciation”

February 2021, Monday 8th, 1:00pm to 3:00pm

Venue: BigBlueButton room

Abstract: In this talk I aim to offer a preliminary analysis of the relative lack of attention many contemporary definitions of art (as opposed to more traditional ones) have appeared to pay to the role of shareability of reasons for appreciation. It is common to draw a distinction between (the phenomena of) art and the aesthetic. The distinction is often drawn by pointing out that some (successful) works of art are not aesthetically valuable and that some aesthetically valuable things are not art. Notoriously more controversial are instead the issues of how to define the two phenomena. The distinction between art and the aesthetic is, as a consequence, difficult to characterize with much precision. However, one plausible component of the distinction is that the appreciation of art requires of appreciators some sort of an understanding of the artist’s intentions. In the philosophy of fiction, for instance, it is common to attribute to an artist the “reflexive intention” that appreciators imagine the fiction’s content because they recognize the artist’s intention that they so imagine. If all goes to plan, such a recognition is therefore a reason that fiction appreciators (are meant to) share among them. At least in this sense, then, art appreciation fundamentally involves an activity of sharing reasons. A number of important questions would seem to follow, such as: How fundamental are sharing and shareability to art? Are there any other ways in which shareability is important in art? Should contemporary philosophy of art pay greater attention to shareability? With the possible exception of some philosophy of fiction, however, much contemporary philosophy has in my view neglected to develop such questions to a satisfactory extent.

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