The Meaning of the Word Art

Abstract
In this paper I investigate how works of fine art differ from products of craft. I argue that historical and institutional definitions are incomplete becausethey fail to explain what is common to everything we call art. I then consider the way in which Francis J. Kovach and Jacques Maritain define art. I argue thatKovach’s four-fold division fails on logical grounds. Maritain’s division, however, makes the distinction between fine and useful art a matter of degree, not a division into separate species. This does reflect our use of the word art, and means that, when we call something a work of fine art, we are not designating it as part of a species. Rather we signify that it possesses a particular attribute which, in some way, belongs to every product of human making, but is more clearly present, or more attended to, in works of fine art
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Conference Proceedings  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0065-7638
DOI 10.5840/acpaproc20108421
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