Elzė Sigutė Mikalonytė (Vilnius University) on “The Folk Concept of Art”

November 2022, Monday 7th, 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Venue: Institut Jean Nicod, Salle de réunion, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris (you can enter also from 24 rue Lhomond)

Abstract: Many different answers have been proposed to the question of how we should define art. These proposals can be put into two categories: essentialist and cluster accounts of art. From among the considerable variety of essentialist views, three accounts have proven particularly influential: the intentional-historical account, the aesthetic account, and the institutional account. Our empirical study aimed to explore to what extent each of these three factors – (1) the object being created intentionally, (2) having aesthetic value, and (3) being institutionally recognized, are important in the folk concept of art. We tested (Q1) whether any of the three features constitute necessary and/or sufficient properties for something being art, and (Q2) whether the folk concept of art is essentialist or a cluster concept. Our results suggest that none of the three properties are seen as necessary. Beauty and intentionality were both seen as sufficient for an object to be considered art, while institutional recognition was clearly the least important feature of art. The folk concept of art might be a cluster concept: only in the absence of all factors participants were not willing to ascribe art status to the object.


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