Arthur Danto’s recent book, Andy Warhol, leads the reader through the story of the iconic American’s artistic life highlighted by a philosophical commentary, a commentary that merges Danto’s aesthetic theory with the artist himself. Inspired by Warhol’s Brillo Box installation, art that in Danto’s eyes was indiscernible from the everyday boxes it represented, Danto developed a theory that is able to differentiate art from non-art by employing the body of conceptual art theory manifest in what he termed the ‘artworld’. The (...) strength of Danto’s theory is found in its ability to explain the art of the post-modern era. His body of work weaves philosophy, art history and art criticism together, merging his aesthetic philosophy with his extensive knowledge of the world of art. Danto’s essentialist theory of embodied meaning provides him with a critical tool that succeeds in explaining the currents of contemporary art, a task that many great thinkers of art history were unable to do. If Warhol inspired Danto to create a philosophy of art, it is appropriate that Danto write a tribute to Warhol that traces how Warhol brought philosophy into art. Danto’s account of ‘Warhol as philosopher’ positions him as a pivotal figure in the history of twentieth-century art, effecting a sea change in how art was made and viewed. Warhol achieved this by conceiving of works that embodied the answers to a series of philosophical puzzles surrounding the nature of art. Warhol, as Danto describes him, manifests himself in his art because he had transformed himself, in a way, into an icon of the times. This pragmatist notion that art should undermine the dichotomies that exist between art and life would, by some accounts, position Warhol to be the philosopher that Danto claims him to be, for he dissolved the philosophical questions posted by late modern aesthetic thinkers by creating art that imploded the accepted notions of art at the time. One of Danto’s greatest contributions to aesthetics is his theory’s ability to distinguish art from non-art, recognizing that it is the artist’s intention that levels the sublimity of art into the commonplace, thereby transfiguring the everyday. However, acknowledging this achievement, I argue that Warhol’s philosophical contribution actually manifests itself in a manner different from that proposed by Danto. Danto maintains that the internal drive of art leads to the unfolding of art theoretical concepts that ineluctably shift the terrain of world of art. I would agree with Danto that Warhol, almost as Hegel viewed Napoleon as Geist on a horse, pushed forward the boundaries of art through the actualization of art’s internal drive. But I would disagree that the conceptual nature of art is one that unfolds merely as a relation of concepts that artists trace through a connection to the meaning of history they forge using their unmediated grasp of style. Rather, I would argue that the artist’s style is not bound so narrowly to the meanings they express. Through their aesthetic articulations, artists initiate a process of social interaction. This process employs the philosophical logic which Danto attributes to Warhol indirectly, and through it, it is able to transfigure the vocabulary of art—the concepts of the artworld—by superseding the language of modernism. Warhol’s philosophical contribution is seen in his mastery of both the medium of art and the underlying logic of the medium’s expression and reception. (shrink)
This article investigates a tension that arises in Hegel’s aesthetic theory between theoretical and practical forms of reason. This tension, I argue, stems from Hegel’s appropriation of an Aristotelian framework for a historically unfolding social teleology which puts practical reason to work for the aims of theoretical reason. Recognizing that this aspect of Hegel’s dialectic is essential in overcoming problems left in Kant’s transcendental idealism, the appearance of incongruence does not lessen. Grouped together with absolute spirit, Hegel positions art as (...) a transitory mode of mind, a vehicle, which aims to raise spirit to the higher cognition of philosophy. When the unfolding absolute concept becomes too complex for articulation in the material, art must end, as spirit’s message can be expressed only through the non-material form of philosophy. This study focuses on the ambivalence found in Hegel’s writings regarding his account of historical completion. Though Hegel sees in the Absolute a metaphysical solution to the unity of subject and object, the practical aspects of the unity appear to falter when philosophy becomes the dominant mode of expression at the close of a historical cycle. In Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Hegel links his notion of the Absolute, albeit with modification, to Aristotle’s nous. As described in De Anima, this entails a progression in which active and possible intellect rise to the level of the eternal, while passive intellect, the imaginative element, passes on with the body. Because the architecture of Aristotle’s nous, which is not in line with his defense of poetry, is integrated into the blueprint of Hegel’s absolute, an unresolved tension emerges in the spirit of art. A divergence of aims is forced to the surface through Hegel’s application of a template for achievement of theoretical knowledge, with an end in the universal, to a form of practical knowing which has an end in the particular. (shrink)
Arthur Danto’s analytic theory of art relies on a form of artistic interpretation that requires access to the art theoretical concepts of the artworld, ‘an atmosphere of artistic theory, a knowledge of the history of art: an artworld’. Art, in what Danto refers to as post-history, has become theoretical, yet it is here contended that his explanation of the artist’s creative style lacks a theoretical dimension. This article examines Danto’s account of style in light of the role the artistic metaphor (...) plays in the interpretation of the artwork, arguing that it is unable to account for the metaphorical power he claims is embedded within the work of art. An artist’s style issues from a unique perspective, the way an artist inhabits a specific spot in history. Though each person has such a perspective, when applied aesthetically, it is the key to the articulation of a unique historical meaning in the work of art. At the same time, artists’ knowledge of their contribution remains cut off from this perspective, for they are unaware of their self-manifestation of the historical concept of style. This article makes the case that Danto’s notion of style, based on Sartre’s notion of being-for-itself, cannot fulfil the role he allots it in his theory because, at some level, artists must apprehend their style to create a work of art capable of functioning critically as a countertext. It is only through the apprehension of their style, and dialogical activity that takes place between the artist and the beholders, that the unseen body of artworld theory is formed. Without this, when oriented to the aesthetic, style provides no concept or theory for the mind to behold. This article presents an alternative approach to style that recognizes the role of theory in the creation of metaphor, which would circumvent this problem. (shrink)
This essay discusses the mounted image of St. George slaying an emperor within the broader context of how and why early Christian images were transformed and adapted to the early Byzantine religious style. The representational framework of Arthur Danto’s philosophical system is used to tie together the threads of this research. By drawing parallels between changes in contemporary art and culture – often referred to as the modern/postmodern shift – and the transition of the Hellenistic to the Byzantine era, structures (...) common to artistic creation and reception are brought to the fore. The case study presents the history of the depiction of St. George slaying Diocletian, how it emerged in the Caucasus region, and the manner in which it reflects the stylistic changes that took place in the late antique eastern Roman world. The social, cultural and philosophical ramifications of the shift of high classical art to the early Byzantine style are laid out in terms of art, modes of inquiry, and action-orientation. A theory is presented on what role the image of St. George killing Diocletian may have played in transforming the late antique and early medieval worldview. The final section sketches a philosophical framework that supports the conclusions of this research. (shrink)
This essay explores claims made frequently by artists, critics, and philosophers that artworks bear personifying traits. Rejecting the notion that artists possess the Pygmalion-like power to bring works of art to life, the article looks seriously at how parallels may exist between the ontological structures of the artwork and human personhood. The discussion focuses on Arthur Danto’s claim that the “artworld” itself manifests properties that are an imprint of the historical representation of the “world.” These “world” representations are implicitly embodied (...) in the artist’s style. The “world” that is stamped on the people of a historical period entails a point of view that influences how they might act, something like the logic that guides a conversation. This “conversational” logic is also extant in the artworks that artists of a given period create. This analysis of Danto’s account of how people are connected to their world clarifies Danto’s assertions that a parallel structure of personification in the artwork and the human exists. It also explains his claims that artworks themselves appear to be in a kind of dialogue. (shrink)
This paper investigates Danto’s claims that the narrative of art is over. In this state, which Danto sees as ideal, art is free from any master narrative, and its direction cannot be predicted. The claim that art ought to remain in its current state—pluralistic, free and with no further historical development—is problematic. Danto is correct that late 20th c. art could not be explained through a single narrative, and the myriad forms art takes demonstrate its pluralism. But Danto’s claim that (...) freedom is the outcome of inexplicability, and progress is measured by amenability to narrative, does not follow. Based on Gombrich’s theory of pictorial representation, I provide an alternative explanation of Danto’s claim that art no longer manifests the narrative of the era of art, arguing that the shift in art’s preferred form of presentation, though no longer supporting narrative explanation, is developing as a language of disclosure. (shrink)
. This paper discusses the transformative power of aesthetic narrative within the framework of Nietzsche’s theory of transvaluation. The transformative power of creative narrative is the power to give meaning to life’s activity by keeping ahead of forces that would deny it. The power of aesthetic transvaluation plays a fundamental role in the dynamic of the resistance movement that sprang from the Gezi Park sit-ins. The movement erupted with an aesthetic intensity that surprised detractors as well as supporters, employing aesthetic (...) creativity in a way that sets it apart from other protests in Turkey and the Arab world. On several levels, the young movement has become a form of artistic protest. Striking parallels are found in Nietzsche’s aesthetic claim that the existential transformation of one’s narrative is the principle aim of the artist and the dynamic action of the people in Turkey who resist what they feel is an encroachment on their democratic rights and their way of life. The point of the essay, however, is not merely to illustrate the parallels. It is to examine how aesthetic imagination plays a role in forming a narrative that conjures meaning solely through creative fiat, showing how the power of transvaluation is manifested in the Gezi Park resistance. (shrink)
Focusing on the plurality of irreconcilable conceptions of social and political justice, this book presents an array of new perspectives on the topic of distributive justice. Bringing together 30 original essays of well-established and young international scholars, the volume is essential reading for anyone interested in social and political justice.
This book examines the little understood end-of-art theses of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Danto. The end-of-art claim is often associated with the end of a certain standard of taste or skill. However, at a deeper level, it relates to a transformation in how we philosophically understand our relation to the ‘world’. Hegel, Nietzsche, and Danto each strive philosophically to overcome Cartesian dualism, redrawing the traditional lines between mind and matter. Hegel sees the overcoming of the material in the ideal, Nietzsche levels (...) the two worlds into one, and Danto divides the world into representing and non-representing material. These attempts to overcome dualism necessitate notions of the self that differ significantly from traditional accounts; the redrawn boundaries show that art and philosophy grasp essential but different aspects of human existence. Neither perspective, however, fully grasps the duality. The appearance of art’s end occurs when one aspect is given priority: for Hegel and Danto, it is the essentialist lens of philosophy, and, in Nietzsche’s case, the transformative power of artistic creativity. Thus, the book makes the case that the end-of-art claim is avoided if a theory of art links the internal practice of artistic creation to all of art’s historical forms. (shrink)
Is evil evidence against the existence of God? Even if God and evil are compatible, it remains hotly contested whether evil renders belief in God unreasonable. The Evidential Argument from Evil presents five classic statements on this issue by eminent philosophers and theologians and places them in dialogue with eleven original essays reflecting new thinking by these and other scholars. The volume focuses on two versions of the argument. The first affirms that there is no reason for God to permit (...) either certain specific horrors or the variety and profusion of undeserved suffering. The second asserts that pleasure and pain, given their biological role, are better explained by hypotheses other than theism. -/- Contributors include William P. Alston, Paul Draper, Richard M. Gale, Daniel Howard-Snyder, Alvin Plantinga, William L. Rowe, Bruce Russell, Eleonore Stump, Richard G. Swinburne, Peter van Inwagen, and Stephen John Wykstra. (shrink)
Nietzsche, I once read, used to have nightmares about not being able to speak. My son has nightmares about tornadoes. I have nightmares about issues that can only be resolved by appeal to Hegel’s speculative logic. StephenSnyder might indeed present us with several such issues, but fortunately his presentation is complex enough that I should be able to distract you by focusing on other things. First, let me review what I take to me the structure of (...) class='Hi'>Snyder’s argument. Snyder’s argument, as I understand it, is (1) Danto offers an (essentialist) “definition” of art, where “definition” of course means something like “ontological account.” (2) That definition is borrowed (“directly”) from Hegel. (3) Because it is borrowed from Hegel, Danto’s definition is inherently problematic. (3a) The problem with the definition is that it is the same as Hegel’s. (3b) The problem with the definition is that it is different from Hegel’s. This diagnosis is no dialectical kettle logic, however. Snyder’s claim, rather, is that Hegel’s account comes with difficulties that could only be resolved through some grand “metaphysical” gesture. So Danto, in effect, offers us the cream cheese without the bagel. It’s not clear where Snyder thinks that this leaves us: we could metaphysicalize Danto or get rid of embodied meaning or do something else entirely. The distinctive part of Snyder’s account is accordingly the diagnosis: Danto’s definition of art is troubled because he adopts elements of Hegel’s account without the systematic context, leaving him without the resources to solve its inherent problems. I can therefore grant myself leave to skip over some Hegel and Danto, and focus on the problematic. As far as I can tell, Snyder identifies two problems – alternately called “oppositions”(5) or “contradictions”(1) or “dualisms”(4) or possibly “antinomies”(8) – within the Hegel/Danto complex of art theory. The first is that of Particular and Universal. According to Snyder, the Hegel-Danto theory requires the artwork to be a weird kind of thing, namely: “a particular universal, an impossible object”(1).. (shrink)
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists---Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking---and philosophers of science---Adolf Grunbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, iII-conceived, and based on misunderstanding.” I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hawking is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grunbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological arguments.
Though scholarship has explored Karin Costelloe-Stephen’s contributions to the history of psychoanalysis, as well as her relations to the Bloomsbury Group, her philosophical work has been almost completely ignored. This paper will examine her debate with Bertrand Russell over his criticism of Bergson. Costelloe-Stephen had employed the terminology of early analytic philosophy in presenting a number of arguments in defence of Bergson’s views. Costelloe-Stephen would object, among other things, to Russell’s use of an experiment which, as she (...) points out, was first conducted by Carl Stumpf. Russell appeals to Stumpf's experiment in his attempt to prove that sense data are terms in logical relations, a thesis presupposed by the project of logical analysis outlined in Our Knowledge of the External World. A reformulated version of Costelloe-Stephen's argument put forth by this paper shows that Russell's argument fails to provide adequate proof for his thesis. Further modifications of the argument can also address a reconstruction (based on contemporary reports) of Russell's reply to Costelloe-Stephen. In his reply, Russell would use, already in 1914, the term ‘analytic philosophy’ in contrasting his and Moore’s approach to a continental one, exemplified by Bergson and Costelloe-Stephen. (shrink)
Stephen Morse seems to have adopted a controversial position regarding the mindbody relationship: John Searle’s non-reductivism, which claims that conscious mental states are causal yet not reducible to their underlying brain states. Searle’s position has been roundly criticized, with some arguing the theory taken as a whole is incoherent. In this paper I review these criticisms and add my own, concluding that Searle’s position is indeed contradictory, both internally and with regard to Morse's other views. Thus I argue that (...) Morse ought to abandon Searle’s non-reductive theory. Instead, I claim Morse ought to adopt a non-eliminative reductive account that can more easily support his realism about folk psychological states, and the existence of causally effective mental states in a purely physical world. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism argues that the probability of our possessing reliable cognitive faculties, given the truth of evolution and naturalism, is low, and that this provides a defeater for naturalism, if the naturalist in question holds to the general truths of evolutionary biology. Stephen Law has recently objected to Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism by suggesting that there exist conceptual constraints governing the content a belief can have given its relationships to other things, including behaviour . (...) I show that Law’s objection fails, since it offers an auxiliary hypothesis to naturalism which is itself improbable. I consider multiple variants of the CC thesis, demonstrating that each is improbable, and that any weaker version with greater prior probability is compromised by a failure to render the relevant datum – the reliability of our cognitive faculties – probable. Thus, Law’s objection to Plantinga’s argument fails. (shrink)
According to Stephen Finlay, ‘A ought to X’ means that X-ing is more conducive to contextually salient ends than relevant alternatives. This in turn is analysed in terms of probability. I show why this theory of ‘ought’ is hard to square with a theory of a reason’s weight which could explain why ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es. I develop two theories of weight to illustrate my point. I first look (...) at the prospects of a theory of weight based on expected utility theory. I then suggest a simpler theory. Although neither allows that ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es, this price may be accepted. For there remains a strong pragmatic relation between these claims. (shrink)
Stephen Davis has argued that the second ontological argument fails as a theistic proof because it ignores the logical possibility of what he calls an ontologically impossible being. By an “ontologically impossible being” he means a being that does not exist, logically-possibly exists, and would exist necessarily if it existed. In this brief essay, I argue, first, that even if an OIB is logically possible, its logical possibility is irrelevant to the OA at issue; and second, that an OIB (...) is in fact logically impossible, because the predicates which define it are inconsistent. The concept of an OIB may be coherent if necessity is understood as ontological self-sufficiency, but even so the OIB is irrelevant to the OA. (shrink)
This review commemorates the 20th anniversary of Stephen Clark’s explication of ecological thought. After appraising both philosophical and theological perspectives, Clark argues that society must awaken to Earth’s “Otherness.” I describe Clark’s ecological consciousness and highlight the significance of his book for 21st-century readers.
Stephen Mulhall has distinguished himself as one of the most rigorous and constructive contemporary thinkers on European philosophy and its complicated relationship to Christian theology. A prominent locus of that relationship in his work is the Christian doctrine of original sin, and its criticism but also structural recapitulation in the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and others. This article begins with an overview of relevant themes and their development in Mulhall's writings. I then offer an account of the internal (...) tensions Mulhall identifies in Heidegger et al's ambivalent contestation of original sin, and of his own response. The centre of this response is a reconfiguration of the character of the divine, and of human participation in that divine, as radical self-abnegation. I conclude with an appreciative critique of Mulhall's proposal as insufficiently responsive to the eschatological framework within which original sin has its doctrinal and ontological place in Thomist thought. (shrink)
Stephen Hetherington é um dos mais proeminentes epistemólogos a defender que é possível ter conhecimento segundo as condições de crença verdadeira e justificada, apesar dos contraexemplos elaborados por Edmund Gettier. Ele fundamentou sua perspectiva no pressuposto de falibilidade do conhecimento e naquilo que ele chamou de "falácia de contrafactuais epistêmicos", segundo a qual não se deve assumir impossibilidade do conhecimento factual apenas em virtude da sua impossibilidade contrafactual - o que é reiterado por Anthony Booth. As críticas apresentadas por (...) Brent Madison, John Turri e Duncan Prtichard apontaram para a relevância das suas ideias, mas também para o fato de que Hetherington ignorou que há diferentes tipos de sorte que podem interferir no processo de aquisição de conhecimento. Palavras-chave: Falácia de contrafactuais epistêmicos. Falibilismo. Infalibilismo. Sorte epistêmica. Stephen Hetherington. (shrink)
We use Bayesian tools to assess Law’s skeptical argument against the historicity of Jesus. We clarify and endorse his sub-argument for the conclusion that there is good reason to be skeptical about the miracle claims of the New Testament. However, we dispute Law’s contamination principle that he claims entails that we should be skeptical about the existence of Jesus. There are problems with Law’s defense of his principle, and we show, more importantly, that it is not supported by Bayesian considerations. (...) Finally, we show that Law’s principle is false in the specific case of Jesus and thereby show, contrary to the main conclusion of Law’s argument, that biblical historians are entitled to remain confident that Jesus existed. (shrink)
Stephen Houlgate is one of the leading Hegel scholars of the English-speaking world. In this interview he explains how he became a “Hegelian” while studying in Cambridge, and he offers a fundamental profile of his account of Hegel. The interview addresses the following questions: Why does Houlgate consider Hegel’s philosophy to be the “consummate critical philosophy”? What are the main barriers to a proper access to Hegel’s thought? Why is logic as dialectical logic still indispensable for philosophical thought? And (...) finally, what can both analytical and “continental” philosophers learn from Hegel? (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations (...) of Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
The fundamental question of political reparation is: why should a state provide redress for an injustice? The predominant answer justifies redress in terms of debts—the perpetration of an injustice creates a debt, and a state is required to make redress for the same reasons that it is required to repay its debts . Other approaches justify redress on the grounds that it will facilitate the achievement of some broader political goal, like the fair distribution of social resources or political reconciliation.In (...) Transitional Justice in Established Democracies, Stephen Winter provides a novel answer to this fundamental question in terms of political legitimacy. On Winter’s “legitimating account,” the state’s perpetuation of certain injustices compromises its political legitimacy. Redress is a required for a (liberal, democratic) state to bolster its legitimacy and to live up to its political commitments.Winter’s book makes a number of contributions to thinking about redress and transitional .. (shrink)
Is there a contradiction in Stephen Colbert’s attitudes towards race? How can he consistently claim to be colorblind and yet hold a national search for a new "black friend"? I argue that Stephen is trying to claim rights and shirk responsibilities on matters of race relations in America, and that his famous notion of "truthiness" is an extension of this attitude to other areas of social and political discourse.