phil of art midterm

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What are the two general constraints on definitions?

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What are the two general constraints on definitions?

1) list-like/enumerative definitions are to be avoided

2) definitions that take the class of artworks to have borderline cases are preferable to those that don't

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Example of a representational/mimetic definition of art

In Plato’s Republic he describes art as being imitations of the real world, and are therefore inferior, just as the real world objects are inferior to the Forms

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What is Hegel’s definition of art?

It incorporates his view of beauty; he defines beauty as the sensuous/perceptual appearance or expression of absolute truth. The best artworks convey, by sensory/perceptual means, the deepest metaphysical truth.

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What are family resemblance accounts of art, and what are the two main ones?

They are non-definitions used to identify art without defining it. Resemblance-to-paradigm version and cluster version

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What is a conventionalist definition of art?

A definition of art that takes art’s contingent cultural features to be explanatorily fundamental, and aim to capture the phenomena in social/historical terms. It denies that art has essential connection to aesthetic properties, or to any properties taken by traditional definitions to be essential to art. This view supports avant-garde works as art.

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What is institutional conventionalism?

A synchronic view, typically hold that to be a work of art is to be an artifact of a kind created, by an artist, to be presented to an art-world public

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What is historical conventionalism?

a diachronic view, holds that artworks necessarily stand in an art-historical relation to some set of earlier artworks

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What is strong institutionalism?

It holds that there is some single reason that is always the reason the art institution has for saying that something is a work of art

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What is weak institutionalism?

 It holds that there is some reason or other that is the reason the art institution has when saying that something is a work of art. This denies any unity of art

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What is a historical definition of art?

Historical definitions hold that what characterizes artworks is standing in some specified art-historical relation to some specified earlier artworks, and disavow any commitment to a trans-historical concept of art. Basically, the definition changes with time.

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What is the distinction between aesthetic properties and artistic properties?

Aesthetic properties are perceptually striking qualities that can be directly perceived in works without prior knowledge. Artistic properties are the properties a work possesses in virtue of their relations to art history, art genre, etc.

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Why are traditional definitions held to be too narrow?

Because they are unable to cover influential modern works that happen to lack aesthetic properties at all, but are still widely considered art

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What is rationalism on beauty?

The view that judgments of beauty are judgments of reason; we judge things to be beautiful by reasoning it out, which involves inferring from principles or applying concepts

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What is the immediacy thesis?

judgments of beauty are not made by inferences from principles or applications of concepts, but rather have the immediacy of straightforwardly sensory judgments. In other words, we do not reason to the conclusion that things are beautiful, but rather “taste” that they are

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Why is reason needed for the first half of passing judgments of taste on some objects?

Because of the highly complex natures or structures of many beautiful objects. However, perceiving the nature or structure of an object is one thing. Perceiving its beauty is another

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What do Kant, Hutcheson, and Hume believe about the existence of principles of beauty?

Kant denies there are any such principles. Hutcheson and Hume believe there are -- judgements of beauty are judgments of taste, not reason, but operate according to general principles discoverable through empirical investigation

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What differences are there between the exercise of taste and the use of the five senses?

Central among them are that we offer reasons in support of our aesthetic judgments that bring others to see what we have seen. The justifications behind our judgments of taste are not immediate and so do not just rely on the use of the five senses

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What is Schopenhauer’s theory of disinterested attention?

That in order to bear a true aesthetic attitude toward an object you must 1) attend to it disinterestedly (with no motive other than merely attending to it) and 2) attend to it sympathetically (accept it on its own, and only its own, terms)

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What are the two kinds of aesthetic experience theories and what differentiates them?

Internalist and externalist. Internalist theories appeal to features internal to experience, like phenomenological features, whereas externalist theories appeal to features external to the experience, such as features of the object experienced

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What is the basic issue in the theory of beauty?

Whether beauty is subjective or objective

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How did ancient and medieval theories majorly account for beauty?

Beauty is outside of anyone’s particular experience; it is objective

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What are the consequences of purely subjective accounts?

Beauty has no meaning, we communicate nothing through the word, and when we call something beautiful it merely expresses an approving personal attitude

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What are the consequences of purely objective accounts?

A world without perceivers could be beautiful or ugly, and beauty could (possibly) be detected by scientific instruments

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How does St. Augustine view the relationship between beauty and delight?

An object gives delights because it is beautiful, not vice versa

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What is ‘the antinomy of taste’? >> How is taste subjective?

Proverbially, one’s taste cannot be disputed or be definitely labeled as incorrect

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How is taste objective?

Matters of taste are frequently disputed, and some persons are held to be exemplars of good taste (e.g. food critics, movie critics, fashion journalists) or of tastelessness

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What is a ‘disinterested judgment’ (Kant)/ ‘aesthetic disinterestedness’ (Shaftesbury)?

The kinds of judgments that are void of human interests (i.e. independent of the normal range of human desires, such as sex and money); judgments passed on an object using purely the mental representation of the object for its own sake, as it is in itself

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What qualifies as a genuine judgment of taste to Kant?

When the observer is wholly unprejudiced in their judgement

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What is free or absolute beauty?

Beauty that is independent from a thing’s practical purposes or functions, and is without reference to a group or ‘concept’. It is found in the form or design of the object. For example, a flower can be beautiful without considering other flowers or referring to its reproductive functions

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Why was beauty largely abandoned as the goal of the arts in the twentieth century?

The literature surrounding the topic led to widespread credence of a subjective account of beauty. This caused the trivialization of beauty and caused artists to pursue ‘deeper’ goals

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How does the classical conception view parts and wholes in terms of beauty?

That beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, symmetry, and similar notions

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How do classical theorists understand symmetry?

Symmetry refers precisely to the sort of harmonious and measurable proportions among the parts characteristic of objects that are beautiful (they do not mean bilateral mirroring)

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How does Plotinus view beauty?

Beauty is the source of unity among disparate things. It is itself perfect unity

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What are Shaftesbury’s ‘three orders of beauty’?

What God makes (i.e. nature), what humans make from what God makes/what is transformed by human intelligence (e.g. art), and what makes the makers of such things (i.e. God)

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How does Schiller view beauty?

Beauty/art performs the integration of the natural and spiritual, or the sensuous and the rational. Only in the integration of the two are humans (who exist simultaneously on both levels) free

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How does Hegel view beauty?

Similarly to Schiller, Hegel believes beauty reconciles both extremes [the ideal and the empirical] because it unites metaphysical universality with real particularity

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How do Hegel and Shaftesbury view beauty of art and beauty of nature?

Since art transforms the material of nature with the spirit of the artist, they view the beauty of art as superior to the beauty of nature

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What is beauty grounded in according to Hutcheson?

He insists that beauty is centered in the human experience of pleasure. In other words, it is entirely subjective

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How does Hume define beauty?

Beauty is such an order and construction of parts as is fitted to give pleasure and satisfaction to the soul

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What is Hume’s ‘sentiment of beauty’?

Sentiment is a pleasurable or painful response to impressions or ideas. Beauty is when sentiment yields pleasurable responses

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What is the definition of ìwà?

“the essential nature of a person or thing”

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Who can possess ewà according to the Yoruba concept?

All the òrìsà (deities), human beings, and everything in existence can possess ewà as long as that ewà reflects their ìwà, their essential nature or character

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Some Yoruba criticism rules are?

calmness, teachableness, sensitivity, and steadfastness/dutifully unwavering

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How is ewa an aesthetic?

Can be seen (sculptures), heard (vocals), and felt (dancing)

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What is the ìwà of a Yoruban critic?

Recognition of the èwà

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What is ìwàpèlè?

“imperturbability (i.e. steadiness, calmness, impassivity)”

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What are aspects of ìwàpèlè?

“poise”, avoidance to “brute force”, “composed gait”, “grace”, “thoroughness”, “calmness”, “calculated patience”, “insight”, “endurance”, and “fulfillment”

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What are the fundamental concepts of ìwàpèlè?

ojú-inú (“inner eye”); ojú-onà (“eye for design”); ìfarabalè (letting reason rather than emotion control a man/control over the body); ìlutí (“good hearing (i.e. teachableness and ease to learn an artistic talent”)

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Where does Yoruba art differ with Italian Renaissance art?

Yoruba art focuses on the orí (head) and how its physiological and spiritual senses rule the rest of the body both physically and metaphorically, but Italian Renaissance art focuses on a faithful rendering of anatomical details.

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What is Tító?

Durability; the property of a work of art to be immortal

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Why do Yoruba artists carve artwork out of wood, stone, or metal?

Durable materials are consciously used as a means of making their work “compact, strong, and long-lasting”

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When is artwork considered “ugly” by the Yoruba?

When it is broken or unfinished, as it therefore lacks its iwà

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What is Haitian “vodun”?

a synthesis of the traditional religions of Dahomey, Yorubaland, and Kongo with an infusion of Roman Catholicism originating in Haiti

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Describe the “Africa of the West Indies”

the area in Haiti majorly made up by those of African descent causing the area to develop a similarity to coastal west Africa (from Liberia to Benin). Their religion was Vodun

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The Dahomean originally had vodun. What did west Yoruba and Kongo originally have?

orisha and minkisi, respectively

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What is the Danse à Dom Pèdre?

The Haitian dance similar to the Vaudoux, but to give it more effect, ground gunpowder was mixed with cheap rum

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What does the Kongo culture believe about the central pillar at Petro alters?

A fundamental belief of Kongo culture is that a tree stands in the center of earth as a witness to the people.

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What is in the Port-au-Prince area of the Petro rooms?

Torches and sometimes deliberate horrors meant to suggest the terror of the earthly side of vodun

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From whom is the art of the Petro table altars derived?

While the history still remains to be completed, there is a strong Kongo inspiration in the visual structure and design

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What is the purpose of a Vodun flag?

To stand at boundaries “between two worlds” and convey messages, specifically “respé” or respect and to greet deities or “saluer mystères”

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What are the origins of Vodun flags?

They are creole variations of the Kongo theme “Nikusa Minpa”; the “ritual unfurling” or “dancing” of squares of cloth to “open the door to the other world”

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What is critical racialism?

This is the theory and entry point into race that examines the complexities and ethical issues that are determined by race.

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What is the black in black aesthetics?

According to the proponents in both race theories, it is the cultural elements unique to those who have been socially positioned as black

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What does the first phase in the development of the black aesthetic tradition as a modern phenomenon begin with?

creolization, or the emergence of new cultural forms from the collision of preexisting traditions

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When does this process occur?

whenever different societies or cultures are forced together or merge together over time and create a new society or culture

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What's the most familiar version of this process?

the transatlantic slave trade that shaped the African‐descended cultures that we find throughout the Americas

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What does Taylor call the connection between racialization and aesthetic phenomena?

The race-aesthetic nexus

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Give an example of racialized aestheticization Taylor mentions in this section

Training mechanisms of European classical dance systematically weed out Black women in its preference to “hegemonic visions of white femininity”. Preference of museum curators and collectors to select “anonymous ‘tribal’ art [over] the work of contemporary African artists” due to “deeply ingrained ideas about ‘the Dark Continent’”

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How do black aestheticians see the concept of art of the western philosophical sense?

They argue that the concept of art was an expression of western narrow-mindedness and are more concerned with trying to define art through aesthetic judgements and criticisms

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What is descriptive aesthetics?

Some particular set of norms regulates the production, reception, and evaluation of expressive objects

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What are normative aesthetics?

Prescribed set of principles for understanding and evaluating expressive objects

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How does John Dewey describe aesthetic experience?

Aesthetic experience has “aesthetic quality.” The felt connection with experiences of the world around us allows us to assign meaning to encountered phenomena and organize our world based on this

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Why is learning about aesthetic racialization important?

It is important to have a deeper understanding of how aesthetic racialization came to happen and the effects it has on society today

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How was art used in Indian literature?

Unlike much of art, art in India was used to achieve an almost spiritual state

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What is nāṭyaśāstra?

poetics focused on nāṭya or plays that blends drama, music and dance

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What are the 4 aspects of nāṭya performances?

āṅgika (pertaining to gestures), vācika (verbal elements), āhārya (make-up and dress), and sāttvika abhinaya (representation of emotions)

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What place in India became a prominent center for Sanskrit literary theories?


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Who was responsible for incorporating socio-political commentary into their art?


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Following Ksemendra in the 11th century, who was an influential artist?


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Who was thought to be more of a traditionalist, yet still provided new insights and breakthroughs?


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What does Kāvya translate to?


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What is the Sanskrit term for drama?


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What is a mahākāvya?

A long poem

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What is a kathā?

A prose story. A story broken into sentences and paragraphs rather than lines and stanzas

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What did Vāmana view as the most important characteristic of kāvya?

Gunas and alaṅkāras characterized kāvya but he claims gunas as the source of beauty in a poem.

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What is the function of alaṅkāras if gunas is more important in kāvya?

alaṅkāra enhances the beauty of kāvya which is already beautified by gunas

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What are the four impediments to the proper actualization of aesthetic

  1. a poet should not bring in aesthetic elements which are contrary to the Rasa under consideration.

  2. A poet should know when and where to stop in his evocation of a Rasa.

  3. If the poet discourses on something completely unrelated to the topic under consideration, Rasa will slowly ebb away.

  4. Inappropriate behavior on the part of the noble characters is another factor that is counterproductive to the Rasa experience.

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What is bhāvanā?

Bhāvanā is the power of revelation

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What is bhoga?

Bhoga is aesthetic relish (elemental human emotion like love, pity, fear, heroism or mystery, which forms the dominant note of a dramatic piece)

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What did Abhinava believe was the difference between sthāyibhāva and rasa?

In characters, sthāyibhāva is stable emotion, and rasa is aesthetic emotion

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What are Doṣas?

A flaw in literature that can also be defined as the absence of guṇa

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What is an example of Doṣa?

Bad grammar

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What are Gunas?

Literary excellences that enhance the literature

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What is an example of Guna?

Poetic genius

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Why are Riti, Guna, and Dosa talked about together?

Because they all run with conjunction and cannot be evaluated without the other

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Who is B.R. Ambedkar?

Launched The Buddhist Movement for Dalits in 1956 when nearly half a million dalits, formerly untouchables – joined him and converted to Navayana Buddhism. It rejected Hinduism, challenged the caste system in India and promoted the rights of the Dalit community.

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What can we see of dalits in traditional Brahmanical temple art?

It lacks Dalits. Or it disguises the beings in the antipodal, stigmatized situation of Dalits, among the dwarfs and fantastic sub-human beings trampled under the feet of the more favored beings

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What is the difference in deity images chosen by households between the castes?

Almost twice as many images of Lakshmi in Rajput households than in those of Dalits

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What does the author mean by saying that the bourgeois estheticism for the elites and everyday imagery for common people?

The bourgeois estheticism resonates with the elites and how they understand reality, but the analysis of everyday imagery is the visual field of the lives of normal people

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What is jati?

A sharp distinction should be made between jati as a limited regional endogamous group of families and varna as a universal all-Indian model of social class. The official Hindu view gives second place to jati as an aberration of varna. Jatis are social groups or communities characterized by common professions, traditions, and often endogamy (marriage within the group). In essence, they are like subcastes or subgroups within the broader caste system

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