The Monist 73 (2):222-232 (1990)

This article arises from selected issues on interpretation raised in a session entitled ‘Danto on Margolis/margolis on Danto’ at the Eastern Division meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics, April 25, 1989, at the University of Arts, Philadelphia. In Part I, principally for dialectical purposes, I recapitulate some of Arthur Danto’s and Joseph Margolis’s points in an attempt to idealize two opposing views: constructionist and realist. It should be said at the outset that the constructionist and realist positions need not be opposed, as Margolis ramifies the matter in his extensive writings. Also, as Danto expounds in numerous places, his theory of art is anti-realist. Nevertheless, as regards the practice of art history and art criticism he is realist—at least as represented in the present exchange. So the idealizations of constructionism and realism here presented should be understood to range over designated concerns and should not be read as idealizations of these authors’ more developed positions as presented elsewhere. In Part II, I adjust the initial characterizations, offer some criticisms of each of these positions, and indicate some points at which there might be some promise for reconciliation between them. In Part III, I shall make some strategic suggestions to advance the discussion.
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI monist199073226
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