British Journal of Aesthetics 40 (4):479-491 (2000)

Kathleen Stock
University of Sussex
The claim that the functions of art liable to change over time appears to suggest that any attempt to define art in terms of a limited set of functions will fail. Robert Stecker has offered a functionalist definition which seeks to accommodate this criticism by making the functions which are relevant to an artwork's status those which are 'standard or correctly recognized' for some art form. I argue that Stecker does not offer a clear enough distinction between the 'standard or correctly recognized' and the accidental functions of an art form; that his account of the 'standard or correctly recognized' functions of an art form does not exhaust important artistic functions; and that his proposed definition is neither necessary nor sufficient for an object to count as an artwork. For these reasons I suggest that Stecker's functionalist account of art should be rejected.
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DOI 10.1093/bjaesthetics/40.4.479
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