Edited by Clotilde Torregrossa (University of St. Andrews)
|Summary||Medium specificity is a theory, or rather a cluster of arguments, that traditionally rests on the idea that media are the physical material that makes up artworks, and that this material contains specific and unique features capable of 1) differentiating media from one another, and 2) determining the aesthetic potential and goals of each medium. As such, medium specificity is essential for aestheticians interested in matters of aesthetic ontology and value. G. E. Lessing is traditionally credited with making the first medium specificity claims when he compared the aesthetic form and aims of painting to that of poetry. Medium specificity then made a reappearance in the twentieth century, in the writings of the early film theorists, most famously Rudolph Arnheim. In that context, medium specificity served the purpose of establishing film as an artform of its own, unlike theatre or photography, with unique aesthetic potential. In the second half of the twentieth century, medium specificity arguments are once again used by film theorists like André Bazin to re-establish the aesthetic potential of film in light of technological advancements. In contemporary aesthetics, Noël Carroll is considered one of the main actors of the debate surrounding medium specificity. Carroll formulated important objections to the notion, especially regarding its essentialism and purism. But nonetheless medium specificity has undergone a recent resurgence, most notably through works by Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes.|
|Key works||Arnheim 1957 Carroll 2007 Gaut 2010 Lopes 2014|
|Introductions||Carroll 2019 Torregrossa 2020|
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