The Dilemma of (Un)definability of Art

Lukáš Makky


The current form and transformation of artistic practice in the 20th and 21st century caused some estrangement of the recipient and the art. The current discourse is therefore dominated by some distrust in defining the criteria of (not only) contemporary art, or even the dilemma of whether or not art has to be defined at all, mostly under the influence of Morris Weitz. Arthur Danto very aptly reminds that there is currently no way to distinguish art from objects that are not art, even though many theorists have tried to come up with a (normative) solution. The need to distinguish different objects in order to carry out the theoretical examination or to have a functional defining apparatus for criticism, or the exhibition practice is not necessary only on the semantic level. The aim of the submitted paper is therefore to offer a brief cross-section of theories, which, over the past sixty years, dealt with the problem of the definition of art and (re)appreciate/re-think the need for a functional definition of art as the determinant of adequate aesthetic theory.


fine art;definition;necessary and sufficient criteria;analytical aesthetics;cluster definition

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia

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