Summary and Info
What is the purpose of a work of art? What drives us to make art? Why do we value art and consume it? Nick Zangwill argues that we cannot understand the nature of art without first having answers to these fundamental questions. On his view, which he dubs "the Aesthetic Creation Theory", a work of art is something created for a particular aesthetic purpose. More specifically, the function of art is to have certain aesthetic properties in virtue of its non-aesthetic properties, and this function arises because of the artist's insight into the nature of these dependence relations and her intention to bring them about. In defending this view, Zangwill provides an account of aesthetic action and aesthetic creative thought and shows how the Aesthetic Creation Theory can accommodate two kinds of seeming counterexamples to aesthetic theories of art: narrative art and twentieth-century avant-garde art. Aesthetic Creation also contains a detailed exposition and critique of a range of rival views, including Dickie's institutional theory of art, accounts of art that make essential reference to an audience, and sociological theories which purport to explain the nature of art without recourse to the notion of the aesthetic.