Art concept pluralism

Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):83-97 (2011)
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Abstract
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and argues that they obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts
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