British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (1):37-51 (2002)

James Shelley
Auburn University
, George Dickie offers an account of artistic principles comprising both a description of their character and a description of the role they play in the evaluation of artworks. According to the former, artistic principles state that certain individual properties of artworks, in isolation from other properties, are always artistic merits; according to the latter, artistic principles serve as premises from which we infer that artworks have artistic merit. I argue not merely that Dickie 's account fails, but that any account comprising either component of Dickie's account fails. Because not every account of artistic principles need comprise either of Dickie's components, the success of my argument will not rule out every possible account. But it will rule out many, and it will place tight constraints on the rest—tight enough, I believe, to raise worries about whether principles play any role in the evaluation of art.
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DOI 10.1093/bjaesthetics/42.1.37
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