Introduction

Abstract

Museums have traditionally been understood as places where carefully selected objects are categorized and put on display so that they can be known through observation. So-called ‘world-museums’, such as the British Museum, were designed to provide the public with access to the wider world through the knowledge they could acquire simply by observing the objects put forward for their inspection. This understanding of what museums do has been increasingly called into question due to changing views of knowledge-acquisition. New understandings of museums are emerging that seek to be responsive to more complex epistemological theories, and philosophers, as evidenced by the essays in this volume, are taking a lively interest in this development. As the essays in this volume further show, specific aspects of museum practices—especially concerning collection and curation, as well as exhibition—also invite philosophical scrutiny.

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Victoria S. Harrison
University of Macau

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