What Makes a Kind an Art-kind?

British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (4):471-88 (2020)
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The premise that every work belongs to an art-kind has recently inspired a kind-centred approach to theories of art. Kind-centred analyses posit that we should abandon the project of giving a general theory of art and focus instead on giving theories of the arts. The main difficulty, however, is to explain what makes a given kind an art-kind in the first place. Kind-centred theorists have passed this buck on to appreciative practices, but this move proves unsatisfactory. I argue that the root of this dissatisfaction stems not from the act of kicking the can down the road, but from not kicking it far enough. The missing ingredient, I argue, is a notion of convention which does the work of marking the difference between art and non-art for a given physical medium.

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Michel-Antoine Xhignesse
Capilano University


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