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Sherri Irvin
University of Oklahoma
  1. The Pervasiveness of the Aesthetic in Ordinary Experience.Sherri Irvin - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (1):29-44.
    I argue that the experiences of everyday life are replete with aesthetic character, though this fact has been largely neglected within contemporary aesthetics. As against Dewey's account of aesthetic experience, I suggest that the fact that many everyday experiences are simple, lacking in unity or closure, and characterized by limited or fragmented awareness does not disqualify them from aesthetic consideration. Aesthetic attention to the domain of everyday experience may provide for lives of greater satisfaction and contribute to our ability to (...)
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  2. Resisting Body Oppression: An Aesthetic Approach.Sherri Irvin - 2017 - Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 (4):1-26.
    Open Access: This article argues for an aesthetic approach to resisting oppression based on judgments of bodily unattractiveness. Philosophical theories have often suggested that appropriate aesthetic judgments should converge on sets of objects consensually found to be beautiful or ugly. The convergence of judgments about human bodies, however, is a significant source of injustice, because people judged to be unattractive pay substantial social and economic penalties in domains such as education, employment and criminal justice. The injustice is compounded by the (...)
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  3.  36
    Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Feminist Reclamation of Sexiness.Sheila Lintott & Sherri Irvin - 2016 - In Sherri Irvin (ed.), Body Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. pp. 299-317.
    Though feminists are correct to note that conventional standards of sexiness are oppressive, we argue that feminism should reclaim sexiness rather than reject it. We argue for an aesthetic and ethical practice of working to shift from conventional attributions of sexiness to respectful attributions, in which embodied sexual subjects are appreciated in their full individual magnificence. We argue that undertaking this practice is an ethical obligation, since it contributes to the full recognition of others’ humanity. We discuss the relationship of (...)
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  4.  12
    Body Aesthetics.Sherri Irvin (ed.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    The body is a rich object for aesthetic inquiry. We aesthetically assess both our own bodies and those of others, and our felt bodily experiences have aesthetic qualities. The body features centrally in aesthetic experiences of visual art, theatre, dance and sports. It is also deeply intertwined with one's identity and sense of self. Artistic and media representations shape how we see and engage with bodies, with consequences both personal and political. This volume contains sixteen original essays by contributors in (...)
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  5.  60
    Is Aesthetic Experience Possible?Sherri Irvin - 2014 - In Greg Currie Nj, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & Jon Robson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 37-56.
    On several current views, including those of Matthew Kieran, Gary Iseminger, Jerrold Levinson, and Noël Carroll, aesthetic appreciation or experience involves second-order awareness of one’s own mental processes. But what if it turns out that we don’t have introspective access to the processes by which our aesthetic responses are produced? I summarize several problems for introspective accounts that emerge from the psychological literature: aesthetic responses are affected by irrelevant conditions; they fail to be affected by relevant conditions; we are ignorant (...)
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  6.  44
    The Ontological Diversity of Visual Artworks.Sherri Irvin - 2008 - In Kathleen Stock & Katherine Thomson-Jones (eds.), New Waves in Aesthetics. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-19.
    Virtually everyone who has advanced an ontology of art has accepted a constraint to the effect that claims about ontology should cohere with the sort of appreciative claims made about artworks within a mature and reflective version of critical practice. I argue that such a constraint, which I agree is appropriate, rules out a one-size-fits-all ontology of contemporary visual art (and thus of visual art in general). Mature critical practice with respect to contemporary art accords artists a significant degree of (...)
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  7. Scratching an Itch.Sherri Irvin - 2008 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (1):25-35.
    I argue that there can be appropriate aesthetic experiences even of basic somatic experiences like itches and scratches. I show, in relation to accounts of aesthetic experience offered by Carroll and Stecker, that experiences of itches and scratches can be aesthetic; I show that itches can be objects of attention in the way that normative accounts of the aesthetic often require; and I show, in relation to accounts of the aesthetic appreciation of nature offered by Carlson and Carroll, that aesthetic (...)
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  8.  68
    On the Wellbeing of Aesthetic Beings.Sherri Irvin - forthcoming - In Helena Fox, Kathleen Galvin, Michael Musalek, Martin Poltrum & Yuriko Saito (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Mental Health and Contemporary Western Aesthetics. Oxford University Press.
    As aesthetic beings, we are receptive to and engaged with the sensuous phenomena of life while also knowing that we are targets of others’ awareness: we are both aesthetic agents and aesthetic objects. Our psychological health, our standing within our communities, and our overall wellbeing can be profoundly affected by our aesthetic surroundings and by whether and how we receive aesthetic recognition from others. Being aware of and responsive to how others aesthetically experience us shapes our sense of self and (...)
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  9. The Artist's Sanction in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (4):315-326.
    I argue that contemporary artists fix the features of their works not only through their actions of making and presenting objects, but also through auxiliary activities such as corresponding with curators and institutions. I refer to such fixing of features as the artist’s sanction: artists sanction features of their work through publicly accessible actions and communications, such as making a physical object with particular features, corresponding with curators and producing artist statements. I show, through an extended example, that in order (...)
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  10. Appropriation and Authorship in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - 2005 - British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (2):123-137.
    Appropriation art has often been thought to support the view that authorship in art is an outmoded or misguided notion. Through a thought experiment comparing appropriation art to a unique case of artistic forgery, I examine and reject a number of candidates for the distinction that makes artists the authors of their work while forgers are not. The crucial difference is seen to lie in the fact that artists bear ultimate responsibility for whatever objectives they choose to pursue through their (...)
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  11. Authors, Intentions and Literary Meaning.Sherri Irvin - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (2):114–128.
    This article discusses the relationship (or lack thereof) between authors’ intentions and the meaning of literary works. It considers the advantages and disadvantages of Extreme and Modest Actual Intentionalism, Conventionalism, and two versions of Hypothetical Intentionalism, and discusses the role that one’s theoretical commitments about the robustness of linguistic conventions and the publicity of literary works should play in determining which view one accepts.
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  12.  38
    Installation Art and Performance: A Shared Ontology.Sherri Irvin - 2013 - In Christy Mag Uidhir (ed.), Art and Abstract Objects. Oxford University Press. pp. 242-262.
    This paper has three objectives. First, I argue that apprehending an installation artwork is similar to apprehending an artwork for performance: in each case, audiences must recognize a relationship between the performance or display one encounters and the parameters expressed in the underlying work. Second, I consider whether realizations are also artworks in their own right. I argue that, in both installation art and performance, a particular realization is sometimes an artwork in its own right (even as it realizes another (...)
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  13.  50
    Unreadable Poems and How They Mean.Sherri Irvin - 2015 - In John Gibson (ed.), The Philosophy of Poetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 88-110.
    Several years ago, the poet & critic Joan Houlihan offered a scathing and hilarious indictment of a lot of postmodern poetry for using words in a way that treats them as meaningless (or, perhaps, renders them meaningless). She suggested that word choice in such poems doesn’t really matter, and that the poet could just as well have substituted in other words without any change in meaning or aesthetic qualities. I argue that she’s wrong about this. I offer an account of (...)
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  14.  35
    The Expressive Import of Degradation and Decay in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - forthcoming - In Peter N. Miller & Soon Kai Poh (eds.), Conserving Active Matter. Bard Graduate Center. pp. 65-79.
    Many contemporary artworks include active matter along with rules for conservation that are designed to either facilitate or prevent that matter’s degradation or decay. I discuss the mechanisms through which actual or potential states of material decay contribute to the work’s expressive import. Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin introduce the concepts of literal and metaphorical exemplification, which are critical to expression: a work literally exemplifies a property when it both possesses and highlights that property, and it metaphorically exemplifies a property (...)
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  15. Forgery and the Corruption of Aesthetic Understanding.Sherri Irvin - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37 (2):283-304.
    Prominent philosophical accounts of artistic forgery have neglected a central aspect of the aesthetic harm it perpetrates. To be properly understood, forgery must be seen in the context of our ongoing attempts to augment our aesthetic understanding in conditions of uncertainty. The bootstrapping necessary under these conditions requires a highly refined comprehension of historical context. By creating artificial associations among aesthetically relevant qualities and misrepresenting historical relationships, undetected forgeries stunt or distort aesthetic understanding. The effect of this may be quite (...)
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  16.  25
    Bodies, Functions, and Imperfections.Sherri Irvin - forthcoming - In Peter Cheyne (ed.), Perfection and Imperfection in Art and Everyday Life. Routledge.
    The culturally pervasive tendency to identify aspects of the body as aesthetically imperfect harms individuals and scaffolds injustice related to disability, race, gender, LGBTQ+ identities, and fatness. But abandoning the notion of imperfection may not respect people’s reasonable understandings of their own bodies. I examine the prospects for a practice of aesthetic assessment grounded in a notion of the body’s function. I argue that functional aesthetic assessment, to be respectful, requires understanding the body’s functions as complex, malleable, and determined by (...)
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  17.  38
    Museums and the Shaping of Contemporary Artworks.Sherri Irvin - 2006 - Museum Management and Curatorship 21:143-156.
    In the museum context, curators and conservators often play a role in shaping the nature of contemporary artworks. Before, during and after the acquisition of an art object, curators and conservators engage in dialogue with the artist about how the object should be exhibited and conserved. As a part of this dialogue, the artist may express specifications for the display and conservation of the object, thereby fixing characteristics of the artwork that were previously left open. This process can make a (...)
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  18.  83
    In Advance of the Broken Theory: Philosophy and Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin & Julian Dodd - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (4):375-386.
    We discuss how analysis of contemporary artworks has shaped philosophical theories about the concept of art, the ontology of art, and artistic media. The rapid expansion, during the contemporary period, of the kinds of things that can count as artworks has prompted a shift toward procedural definitions, which focus on how artworks are selected, and away from definitions that focus exclusively on artworks’ features or effects. Some contemporary artworks challenge the traditional art–ontological dichotomy between physical particulars and repeatable entities whose (...)
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  19.  30
    Repeatable Artworks and the Relevant Similarity Relation.Sherri Irvin - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 52 (2):30.
    Repeatable artworks, such as novels and musical works, have often been construed as universals whose instances are particular printings or performances. In Art and Art-Attempts, Christy Mag Uidhir offers a nominalist account of repeatable artworks, eschewing talk of universals. Mag Uidhir argues that all artworks are concrete, and artworks that we regard as repeatable are simply unified by a relevant similarity relation: we use the name Beloved to refer to two concrete printed novels because they are relevantly similar to each (...)
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  20.  17
    Aesthetics of the Everyday.Sherri Irvin - 2009 - In Stephen Davies, Kathleen J. Higgins, Robert Hopkins, Robert Stecker & David Cooper (eds.), A Companion to Aesthetics. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 136-139.
    This reference essay surveys recent work in the emerging sub-discipline of everyday aesthetics, which builds on the work of John Dewey to resist sharp distinctions between art and non-art domains and argue that aesthetic concepts are properly applied to ordinary domains of experience.
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  21.  64
    The Aesthetics of Everyday Life, Edited by Andrew Light and Jonathan M. Smith. [REVIEW]Sherri Irvin - 2006 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4):489–491.
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  22.  83
    Aesthetics and the Private Realm.Sherri Irvin - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67 (2):226-230.
    I clarify the arguments of my paper “Scratching an Itch” in response to a discussion piece by Brian Soucek. I also offer a new argument that objectivity is possible for aesthetic judgments about private phenomena such as somatic experiences.
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  23.  47
    Materials and Meaning in Contemporary Sculpture.Sherri Irvin - 2020 - In Kristin Gjesdal, Fred Rush & Ingvild Torsen (eds.), Philosophy of Sculpture: Historical Problems, Contemporary Approaches. Routledge. pp. 165-186.
    An extensive literature about pictorial representation discusses what is involved when a two-dimensional image represents some specific object or type of object. A smaller literature addresses parallel issues in sculptural representation. But little has been said about the role played by the sculptural material itself in determining the meanings of the sculptural work. Appealing to Nelson Goodman and Catherine Elgin’s discussions of literal and metaphorical exemplification, I argue that the material of which a sculpture is constituted plays key roles in (...)
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  24.  48
    Motherhood and the Workings of Disgust.Sherri Irvin - 2011 - In Sheila Lintott & Maureen Sander-Staudt (eds.), Philosophical Inquiries into Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Mothering: Maternal Subjects. Routledge. pp. 79-90.
    I discuss two interrelated ways in which disgust functions in motherhood. First, relaxation of the mother’s sense of disgust allows her to nurture her child more effectively. Second, others’ responses of disgust are used to enforce social norms regarding the “good” mother. If the mother acquiesces, she must continually monitor and tidy her child, which may interfere with the child’s exploration of the world. If she does not, she is subject to ongoing signs that she is flawed or failing as (...)
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  25.  30
    Artworks, Objects and Structures.Sherri Irvin - 2012 - In Anna Christina Ribeiro (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics. Continuum. pp. 55-73.
    This essay examines the difficulties faced by the claim that artworks are simple physical objects (or, in the case of non-visual art forms, simple structures of another sort) and examines alternative proposals regarding their ontological nature.
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  26.  21
    Aesthetics as a Guide to Ethics.Sherri Irvin - 2010 - In Robert Stecker & Theodore Gracyk (eds.), Aesthetics Today: A Reader. Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 370-377.
    This paper argues for several claims about the moral relevance of the aesthetic: that attention to aesthetic values may promote moral motivation; that aesthetic values should be regarded as constraining moral demands; and that the pursuit of aesthetic satisfactions may itself have positive moral value. These arguments suggest that moral thinking should be aesthetically informed to a much greater degree than has been typical. The aesthetic is a central dimension of a good life, and a life’s being good for the (...)
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  27.  17
    Body.Sherri Irvin - 2014 - In Michael Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 410-414.
    The body is relevant for aesthetics from two perspectives. We experience and assess bodies aesthetically from the outside; and we have aesthetic experiences of and through our bodies from the inside. In experiences of one’s own body, these perspectives often intersect in interesting ways. From both perspectives, the body is a site where aesthetic and ethical considerations are deeply intertwined. This article includes discussion of Beauty and the Body, Aesthetic Body Practices, Body Aesthetics and Gender Construction, Somatic Dimensions of Aesthetic (...)
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  28.  23
    The Nature of Aesthetic Experience and the Role of the Sciences in Aesthetic Theorizing.Sherri Irvin - 2019 - Estetika 56 (1):100-109.
    Bence Nanay, in Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception, and Murray Smith, in Film, Art, and the Third Culture, have given us a pair of rich and interesting works about the relationships between aesthetics and the sciences of mind. Nanay’s work focuses on perception and attention, while Smith’s addresses the relations among experiential, psychological, and neuroscientific understandings of a wide range of aesthetically relevant phenomena, particularly as they occur in film. These books make a valuable contribution to a project that remains (...)
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  29.  18
    Best Practices for Fostering Diversity in Tenure-Track Searches.Amy Olberding, Sherri Irvin & Steve Ellis - 2014 - Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 13 (2):26-35.
    In this essay, we describe practices developed by the philosophy department at the University of Oklahoma to promote fair and inclusive recruitment, application review, and hiring for faculty positions.
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  30.  13
    Contemporary Art: Ontology.Sherri Irvin - 2014 - In Michael Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 170-172.
    The ontology of visual artworks might be thought comparable to the ontology of other sorts of artifacts: a work of painting seems to be materially constituted by a particular canvas with paint on it, just as a spoon is constituted by a particular piece of metal. But recent developments have complicated the situation, requiring a new account of the ontology of contemporary art. These developments also shed light on the ontology of works from earlier historical eras. This article discusses Artworks (...)
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  31.  15
    Wedge: A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration by Janine Antoni and Jill Sigman.Sherri Irvin - 2016 - In Sondra Bacharach, Jeremy Neil Booth & Siv B. Fjærestad (eds.), Collaborative Art in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. pp. 166-178.
    In 2012, choreographer and dancer Jill Sigman of jill sigman/thinkdance and visual artist Janine Antoni collaborated to produce Wedge, a live performance at the Albright-Knox Gallery. In this essay, I describe the collaboration and the resulting work and examine the benefits and challenges of the collaboration. The discussion touches on broader issues pertaining to collaboration, co-authorship, artists' intentions, and interpretation.
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  32.  11
    Sculpture.Sherri Irvin - 2013 - In Berys Gaut & Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, 3rd ed. Routledge. pp. 606-615.
    This reference essay addresses how sculpture may be defined, the nature of sculptural representation and content, the distinctive forms of tactile and bodily experience to which sculpture can give rise, and the ontology of sculpture. It addresses both sculptures whose form is largely fixed and contemporary sculptural practices incorporating found objects and variable presentation.
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  33.  12
    Does Contemporary Art Have Cognitive Value?Sherri Irvin - 2003 - AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal 8.
    In his book Art and Knowledge, James O. Young suggests that avant-garde and contemporary art, because it tends to eschew the resources of illustrative representation, lacks cognitive value. Because he regards cognitive value as a necessary condition for a high degree of aesthetic value, he concludes that contemporary works tend to have little aesthetic value and thus do not deserve to be regarded as valuable artworks (or, in many cases, as artworks at all). In this paper, I mount a defense (...)
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  34.  20
    Interprétation et description d’une oeuvre d’art.Sherri Irvin - 2005 - Philosophiques 32 (1):135-148.
    According to Arthur Danto, it is illegitimate to seek a neutral, or pre-interpretative, description of an artwork, since such descriptions necessarily fail to respect the artwork as such. Instead, we must begin by interpreting, so as to constitute the work : interpretation is what distinguishes artworks from mere physical objects. In this paper, I argue that, while Danto is right to distance artworks from mere things, this can be done without suggesting that artworks are constituted by interpretation. Moreover, Danto’s view (...)
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  35.  39
    Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?Sherri Irvin, Bence Nanay, Elisabeth Schellekens & Murray Smith - 2019 - Estetika 56 (1).
    A symposium on Bence Nanay, Aesthetics as Philosophy of Art and Murray Smith, Film, Art, and the Third Culture. Commentaries on the two books by two critics, followed by responses by the two book authors.
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  36.  35
    Authenticity, Misunderstanding, and Institutional Responsibility in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (3):273-288.
    This paper addresses two questions about audience misunderstandings of contemporary art. First, what is the institution’s responsibility to prevent predictable misunderstandings about the nature of a contemporary artwork, and how should this responsibility be balanced against other considerations? Second, can an institution ever be justified in intentionally mounting an inauthentic display of an artwork, given that such displays are likely to mislead? I will argue that while the institution has a defeasible responsibility to mount authentic displays, this is not always (...)
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  37. Teaching and Learning Guide For: Authors, Intentions and Literary Meaning.Sherri Irvin - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):287-291.
    The relationship of the author’s intention to the meaning of a literary work has been a persistently controversial topic in aesthetics. Anti-intentionalists Wimsatt and Beardsley, in the 1946 paper that launched the debate, accused critics who fueled their interpretative activity by poring over the author’s private diaries and life story of committing the ‘fallacy’ of equating the work’s meaning, properly determined by context and linguistic convention, with the meaning intended by the author. Hirsch responded that context and convention are not (...)
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  38.  23
    Introduction to the Symposium on Christy Mag Uidhir's Art and Art-Attempts.Sherri Irvin - 2018 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 52 (2):1.
    Christy Mag Uidhir’s Art and Art-Attempts begins from two deceptively simple observations: artworks are the product of intentions, and intentions are the kinds of things that can fail to be realized successfully. Drawing on these observations, he argues that most contemporary theories of art must be rejected because they are not substantively intention-dependent: that is, they do not account for the fact that an attempt to make an artwork can fail. From his view that artworks must be the product of (...)
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  39.  18
    Immaterial: Rules in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - 2022 - Oxford University Press.
    Contemporary art can seem chaotic: it may be made of toilet paper, candies you can eat, or meat that is thrown out after each exhibition. Some works fill a room with obsessively fabricated objects, while others purport to include only concepts, thoughts, or language. Immaterial argues that, despite these unruly appearances, making rules is a key part of what many contemporary artists do when they make their works, and these rules can explain disparate developments in installation art, conceptual art, time-based (...)
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  40.  4
    Work and Object: The Artist's Sanction in Contemporary Art.Sherri Irvin - 2003 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    Is an artwork simply identical to some physical object? While clearly not viable for art forms like literature and music, the view that artworks are physical objects is appealing for the singular visual arts , since it accords with our intuitions about the nature of visual artworks. A traditional challenge to the view holds that physical objects cannot possess representational properties, and thus visual artworks, most of which do have such properties, cannot be identical to physical objects. -/- In chapter (...)
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  41.  51
    Artworks and Representational Properties.Sherri Irvin - 2004 - Dialogue 43 (4):627-644.
    A sustained challenge to the view that artworks are physical objects relates to the alleged inability of physical objects to possess representational properties, which some artworks clearly do possess. I argue that the challenge is subject to confusions about representational properties and aesthetic experience. I show that a challenge to artwork-object identity put forward by Danto is vulnerable to a similar criticism. I conclude by noting that the identity of artworks and physical objects is consistent with the insight that attending (...)
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  42.  39
    Artwork and Document in the Photography of Louise Lawler.Sherri Irvin - 2012 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 70 (1):79-90.
    What makes a photograph an artwork, as opposed to a mere document? I defend a cluster account such that aesthetic value, aptness to interpretation, the artist’s intention and institutional uptake may contribute to the arthood of a body of photographs, with no single condition being necessary. With regard to Lawler’s works, I suggest that Lawler’s intention that they be art plays a definitive role because of the works’ resemblance to non-art photography. For some of her photographs, however, it appears that (...)
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  43.  66
    Capacities, Context and the Moral Status of Animals.Sherri Irvin - 2004 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (1):61–76.
    According to a widely shared intuition, normal adult humans require greater moral concern than normal, adult animals in at least some circumstances. Even the most steadfast defenders of animals' moral status attempt to accommodate this intuition, often by holding that humans' higher-level capacities (intellect, linguistic ability, and so on) give rise to a greater number of interests, and thus the likelihood of greater satisfaction, thereby making their lives more valuable. However, the moves from capacities to interests, and from interests to (...)
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  44.  28
    Theatrical Performances and the Works Performed.Sherri Irvin - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (3):pp. 37-50.
    I consider James Hamilton’s discussion of what I term the complete autonomy thesis, according to which no theatrical performance is a performance of some other work. While agreeing with Hamilton that theatrical performances are often artworks in their own right and that theatrical performance is not a derivative or subsidiary art form, I argue that the complete autonomy thesis overshoots the evidence. Some theatrical performances are autonomous, but many belong to an established tradition of close adherence to the texts of (...)
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  45.  22
    Introduction: Symposium on James Hamilton’s The Art of Theater.Sherri Irvin - 2009 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 43 (3):1-3.
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