Personal Style and Artistic Style

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):711-731 (2015)
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Abstract
What is it for a person to have style? Philosophers working in action theory, ethics, and aesthetics are surprisingly quiet on this question. I begin by considering whether theories of artistic style shed any light on it. Many philosophers, artists, and art historians are attracted to some version of the view that artistic style is the expression of personality. I clarify this view and argue that it is implausible for both artistic style and, suitably modified, personal style. In fact, both theories of style crack along the same line, which suggests that they can indeed be mutually illuminating. I articulate and defend a view of personal style according to which, roughly, having style is a matter of expressing one’s ideals. I show how this illuminates the widely neglected value of personal style and propose a new, analogous theory of individual artistic style: artistic style is the expression of the ideals the artist has for her art.
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Archival date: 2020-02-08
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