Failed-Art and Failed Art-Theory

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):381-400 (2010)
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Abstract
An object being non-art appears only trivially informative. Some non-art objects, however, could be saliently 'almost' art, and therefore objects for which being non-art is non-trivially informative. I call these kinds of non-art objects 'failed-art' objects—non-art objects aetiologically similar to art-objects, diverging only in virtue of some relevant failure. I take failed-art to be the right sort of thing, to result from the right sort of action, and to have the right sort of history required to be art, but to be non-art by having failure where being art requires success. I assume that for something to be art that thing must be the product of intention-directed action. I then offer an account of attempts that captures the success conditions governing the relationship between intention-directed actions and their products. From this, I claim that to be failed-art is to be the product of a failed art-attempt, i.e., to be non-art as the result of the particular way in which that art-attempt failed. An art-attempt I take to be an attempt with success conditions, that, if satisfied, entail the satisfaction of the conditions for being art—whatever those may be. To be art, then, is to be the product of a successful art-attempt. As such, any art theory incompatible with my account of failed-art is an art theory for which the notions of success and failure do not matter, and therefore an art theory for which being art needn't be substantively intention-dependent. So, any theory of art unable to accommodate my account of failed-art is _ipso facto_ false
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