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The Art Question Hardcover – January 24, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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'Invaluable... a sound introduction.... Warburton guides the reader gently and accessibly through some of the most influential theories of the twentieth century... He deftly applies the standard tools of philosophy, such as counter-examples and the detection of circular reasoning, to a field that is prone to vagueness, pretentiousness and sometimes elastic notions of meaning and language.... an excellent introduction to the philosophy of art.' - Think

'Nigel Warburton brings a philosopher's eye to the debate ... to explore with admirable clarity, the factors that might turn a roomful of chocolate into a work of art, and why it matters.' - The Independent

About the Author

Warburton is Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (January 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415174899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415174893
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,427,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contemporary British philosopher Nigel Warburton, host of the podcast series “Philosophy Bites” asks us to consider if the live peacock Belgian artist Francis Alÿs recently sent to the Venice Biennale to be entered as a work of art is, in fact, a true work of art. Curiously, this is the same question my philosophy instructor asked our class nearly fifty years ago when he showed us a slide of Alpha-Pi by Morris Lewis, a white canvas with wavy lines of color painted on the bottom left and bottom right. In other words, different work, same question.

In an attempt to address this question, “What is art?” Warburton has written his engaging little book, approaching this philosophic conundrum from four specific theoretical angles: 1) Clive Bell’s significant form, that is, the work’s line, shape and color possessing the power to produce an aesthetic emotion in the viewer, 2) R.G.Collingwood’s theory of emotional expression and clarity of feeling needed in the process of artistic creation, 3) Ludwig Wittgenstein’s focus on the concept of ‘family resemblance’ along with an overview of the nature of language, 4) the ‘Institutional Theory’ developed by George Dickie, shifting attention from the work itself to the context of how the work is exhibited by museums and galleries and how it is appreciated by an audience. As by way of a wrap-up, in the fifth and final section of his little book, Nigel himself steps forward to share his views on the art question. I wouldn’t want to restate the various facets of his position but let me mention one thing he does say: we should move away from general rules and hone our attention back to the individual works themselves.

After reading Nigel’s book and giving the art question some reflection, I’d like to share a few of my own thoughts.
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Format: Paperback
If you're looking at challenging yourself for your art this is a great book. It's short sweet and to the point but at the same time makes you think about what you're creating. This is a definite must have for any aspiring artist.
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By L. Lu on September 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a textbook for me but it is still interesting to read if you are interested about Aesthetics. :)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a very good book. short but full of key points relevant to the age old question of what is art.
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