Using Things as Art

Grazer Philosophische Studien 96 (1):56-80 (2019)
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Secured to a table in my living room is an antique apple peeler—a cast iron 19th century mechanical contrivance that I gave my wife for her birthday some years ago. This thing is not art. At the very least, I do not believe it is art. Yet my wife and I do not use it as an apple peeler; we use it as art. Indeed, my living room is filled with things that we are using as art—some artifacts, some natural objects—but my living room is not filled with art. This is not, I think, all that unusual a phenomenon. Indeed, I believe this is a widespread phenomenon occurring at the blurry line between art and non-art, especially in the home. However, exactly what it means to use a thing as art without thus believing it is art, and without it being art, is not a straightforward matter, especially given the many functions of art today, and their functional overlap with non-art. In this essay, I investigate the notion of using a thing—specifically a non-art thing, whether an artifact or otherwise—as art, and the importance of this notion both inside and outside of philosophy..



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Darren Hick
Susquehanna University

Citations of this work

Artifactualization without Physical Modification.Tim Juvshik - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (4):545-572.
A Metaphysics of Artifacts: Essence and Mind-Dependence.Tim Juvshik - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Works of Art and Mere Real Things—Again.Ivan Gaskell - 2020 - British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (2):131-149.

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