Knowing Art pp 67-81 | Cite as

Art and Modal Knowledge

  • Dustin Stokes
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 107)
It has been argued that art cannot give us propositional knowledge. Alternatively, it has been proposed that any knowledge acquired via art is cognitively trivial. Finally, assuming the first two challenges can be met, it has been argued that, while art may provide us with propositional knowledge, it does not do so in any special or effective way. In other words, any knowledge obtained via art can be obtained elsewhere, and more efficiently and reliably to boot (Stolnitz 1992; see also Wilson 1983; Lamarque and Olsen 1994). Thus we have:
  • (K) the knowledge challenge: art cannot provide propositional knowledge.

  • (T) the triviality challenge: even if art can provide propositional knowledge (i.e. even if (K) is false), any knowledge so provided is cognitively trivial.

  • (P) the proficiency challenge: even if art can provide non-trivial propositional knowledge (i.e. even if both (K) and (T) are false), it does so via means which are cognitively or epistemically inferior.

Conjoining (K) through (P) presents us with a strongly non-cognitivist position – a rejection of the view that art is the kind of thing that can have significant cognitive value. Call this position the skeptical position.


Actual World Perceptual Judgment Propositional Knowledge Perceptual Belief Perceptual Knowledge 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dustin Stokes
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SussexUK

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