The disjunctive theory of art: The cluster account reformulated

British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (2):151-167 (2010)
Abstract
This paper suggests that art cannot be defined in terms of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions. Instead, we propose that there are several sufficient conditions for something's being art, and that a successful definition will consist of a disjunction of minimally sufficient conditions. Our proposal owes much to the insights of Berys Gaut's ‘"Art" as a Cluster Concept’ but offers a much simpler logical formulation, which, in addition, is immune to the objections that have been raised to Gaut's account. This paper agrees with Gaut's claim that there are borderline cases of art, and suggests that they arise from indeterminacy about the content of some of the minimally sufficient conditions. It is argued that this disjunctive account is superior to classical theories, resemblance-to-paradigm theories, and prototype theories of art
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