Aesthetics I. The Nature of Art

Karol Berger

in A Theory of Art

Published in print December 1999 | ISBN: 9780195128604
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785803 | DOI:
 Aesthetics I. The Nature of Art

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The cultural media allow us to objectify and store away our immediate experiences, with the fundamental structure of each medium consisting of the work, the real object produced in the process of encoding an experience in a medium, and the imaginary world so encoded. Media can be either visual (as in sculpture or painting), allowing us to grasp, represent, and explore an outer, spatial, world of experience; or aural (as in music), making it possible to grasp, represent, and explore an inner, temporal world of experiencing. It can be both, as in language, a medium that possesses not only representational but also logical powers, allowing us not only to represent the objects of our desire as well as the desire itself, but also to represent thinking about our aims and means, deliberating on the questions whether our desire is justified, and if so, how can it be realized. A work can be an enduring object or an ephemeral event; a world can be a representation or an argument. Representations subdivide into those of actual and those of fictional objects, while arguments subdivide into those about the world as it is and those about the world as it should be. A place for art results from the superimposition of these classifications: art involves representations of fictional objects. While works in all media, language included, can evoke worlds that are representations, only a linguistic work can also evoke a world that is an argument that consists of general intellectual concepts and logical relations among them.

Keywords: medium; experience; work; world; sculpture; painting; music; language; object; actual

Chapter.  27677 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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