Art, Meaning and Occasion-Sensitivity

  • Graham McFee
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 115)


In Chapter 1, the contrast between the artistic and the aesthetic was assumed, while trying to motivate it. But could that contrast plausibly be denied? To be clear, my argument (repeated in various forms throughout this work) is that denying the contrast must involve denying the concept art (at least, on more than a sociological understanding of that concept), because the artistic/aesthetic contrast brings out the distinctiveness of the concept art. At the least, philosophical aesthetics can reject neither the concept art tout court nor the distinctiveness of artworks (compared with other objects of aesthetic interest), although it is granted on all sides that objects other than artworks can be beautiful, can reflect their authors’ ideas, can be expressive in some sense (see Lyas, 1997: 103–105), and so on. That is, at first sight no list of properties seems uniquely applicable to artworks. But this conflicts with our sense of the distinctiveness of the artwork (compared with, say, wallpaper: see Section 1.1); in particular, with our sense of the artwork as valuable (in a non-monetary fashion) in ways not available to, for instance, that wallpaper.


Musical Work Artistic Property Artistic Feature Swan Lake Aesthetic Object 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EastbourneUK

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