Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The project of defining art most commonly consists in the attempt to find necessary conditions and sufficient conditions for the truth of the statement that an item is an artwork. That is, the goal is normally to find a principle for classifying all artworks together while distinguishing them from all non-artworks. Sometimes the goal is set higher. Some look for a ‘real’ definition: that is, one in terms of necessary conditions that are jointly sufficient for being an artwork. Sometimes the aim is to identify a metaphysical essence that all artworks have in common. This article surveys the main trends that mark the history of the project of defining art in the twentieth century before discussing the most important efforts in the past thirty years.

Keywords: artwork, defining art, metaphysical essence, twentieth century, non-artworks, real definition

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.