In Anna Christina Ribeiro (ed.), Bloomsbury Companion to Aesthetics. pp. 39-54 (2015)

Thomas Adajian
James Madison University
Overview of the definition of art and its relationship to definitions of the individual art forms, with an eye to clarifying the issues separating dominant institutionalist and skeptical positions from non-skeptical, non-institutional ones. Section 2 indicates some of the key philosophical issues which intersect in discussions of the definition of art, and singles out some important areas of broad agreement and disagreement. Section 3 critically reviews some influential standard versions of institutionalism, and some more recent variations on them. Section 4 discusses some recent reductionist approaches to definitional questions, which advocate a shift of philosophical focus from the macro- to the micro-level —from art to the individual art forms. Section 5 outlines an alternative, non-institutionalist and non-reductionist approach to definitional questions
Keywords art  definition  institutionalism  prototype theory  buck-passing theory  homeostatic property clusters
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Definition of Art.Thomas Adajian - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Genealogical Notion.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2011 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):43-52.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Prototype Theory of Concepts and the Definition of Art.Thomas Adajian - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3):231–236.
Reasons and Value – in Defence of the Buck-Passing Account.Jussi Suikkanen - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7 (5):513 - 535.
The Buck Passing Theory of Art.James O. Young - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (4): 421-433.
Life as a Homeostatic Property Cluster.Antonio Diéguez - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):180-186.
Debating Institutionalism.Jon Pierre, B. Guy Peters & Gerry Stoker (eds.) - 2008 - Distributed in the United States Exlusively by Plagrave Macmillan.
Resisting the Buck-Passing Account of Value.Pekka Vayrynen - 2006 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 1:295-324.
Discursive Institutionalism and Institutional Change.Marija Zurnic - 2014 - Filozofija I Društvo 25 (2):217-234.
A Very Good Reason to Reject the Buck-Passing Account.Alex Gregory - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):287-303.


Added to PP index

Total views
113 ( #102,416 of 2,499,776 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
45 ( #18,871 of 2,499,776 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes