Dickie’s Institutional Theory And The “Openness” Of The Concept Of Art

Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 3 (3):110-117 (2006)
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In this paper, I will look at the relationship between Weitz’s claim that art is an “open” concept and Dickie’s institutional theory of art, in its most recent form. Dickie’s theory has been extensively discussed, and often criticized, in the literature on aesthetics, yet it has rarely been observed – to my knowledge at least – that the fact that his theory actually incorporates, at least to some extent, Weitz’s claim about the “openness” of the concept of art, precisely accounts for what I take to be the main flaws in the theory. In what follows I present arguments for that claim, looking briefly at the position of both authors with respect to the concept of art, then showing how they relate to each other, and what implications this has for Dickie’s institutional theory, and more generally for the traditional project of characterising art.
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