Kendall Walton's 'categories of art': A critical commentary

British Journal of Aesthetics 50 (3):287-306 (2010)
Abstract
most famous and, arguably, most important papers in modern aesthetics. Despite this, and the various references to it and discussions of it within the literature, there are no general commentaries on this essay. In addition to outlining a general framework for approaching the article, I identify and explicate the two main exegetical issues regarding it. The first concerns how to understand Walton's main thesis that the aesthetic character of artworks is determined, in part, by their ‘correct category’. I suggest that the traditional interpretation of Walton's proposal is mistaken, and defend an alternative view at length. The second issue concerns the relationship between Walton's view and competing accounts of the aesthetics of artworks. Here I suggest that Walton's position is unique, contrasting the views of both typical formalists, on the one hand, and ordinary contextualists, on the other, in philosophically significant ways. Careful reflection on this particular issue helps reveal some very important distinctions among aesthetic theories, which have not been previously drawn or emphasized. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayq017
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