An Institutional Theory of Art Categories

Debates in Aesthetics 18 (1):31-43 (2022)
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It is widely acknowledged that categories play significant roles in the appreciation of artworks. This paper argues that the correct categories of artworks are institutionally established through social processes. Section 1 examines the candidates for determining correct categories and proposes that this question should shift the focus from category membership to appreciative behaviour associated with categories. Section 2 draws on Francesco Guala’s theory of institutions to show that categories of artworks are established as rules-in-equilibrium. Section 3 reviews the explanatory benefits of this institutional theory of the correct category. [Winner of the 2022 Debates in Aesthetics Essay Prize]

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Kiyohiro Sen
Sagami Women's University


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