The Shortcomings Of George Dickie's Art And Aesthetic: What Is Art?

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Human beings always have had an innate ability to imagine and create that what lies beyond just a primal, basic understanding of the world around them. It is this nature that overflows with ingenuity and vision that begs to be conveyed through something that has existed since the dawn of humanity. Artistic expression is an undeniable epicenter of the human identity. The arts are such a rooted part of the human identity that every society, culture, civilization, and group emulates some form of it, from pottery in Ancient Egypt to Shakespearean plays in 18th Century England. With this in mind, philosophers have attempted to answer throughout history the burning questions pertaining to this need and appreciation for the arts, to explain what stimulates …show more content…
In George Dickie’s Art and Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis, he sets out to define art by first explaining what it means for art to be part of an institution, part of the “artworld”. For example, the film industry can be viewed as an art institution. What the filmmaker provides is art, and it is art because it exists within that institution of filmmaking, and that institution exists because it is an “established practice” by not only the filmmaker but as well as the actors, film critics, film goers, and the like. So is true for all other art institutions, such as painting, sculpture, theatre, literature, music, etc (all having their own sub-institutions as well), thus making the artworld a direct by-product of that what the individual cultures around the world make it to be. Dickie then proceeds to actually define what a work of art is. “A work of art in the classificatory sense is (1) an artifact (2) a set of the aspects of which has had conferred upon it the status of candidate for appreciation by some person or persons acting on behalf of a certain social institution (the artworld) ” (Dickie). Artifactuality, to Dickie, has two sides. On one hand, artifactuality can be thought of in the traditional sense where something is made by man, through painting, sculpting, crafting, etc., in order to serve in a position within the artworld. On the other hand, artifactuality is also when something that preexists is taken and altered in some way in order to have a purpose. Dickie has often used driftwood as an example. If the driftwood is taken and sharpened and refined by an artist to display its characteristics of a sculpture, then it is an artifact. Furthermore, if the driftwood is taken, unaltered, and used as a tool for something like digging, it is also an artifact because while nothing was physically changed about the

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