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Philosophical Perspectives on Art$
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Stephen Davies

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202423.001.0001

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The Cluster Theory of Art

The Cluster Theory of Art

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 The Cluster Theory of Art
Source:
Philosophical Perspectives on Art
Author(s):

Stephen Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202423.003.0003

Berys Gaut has defended a cluster account of art, according to which no one property is necessary for something's being art, and various different combinations of properties from a fairly long list can each be sufficient for something's being art. He proposes this view as a superior form of anti-essentialism, but this chapter argues that the cluster theory is not inherently anti-essentialist in conception. It generates a disjunctive catalogue of sufficient conditions that, because it is exhaustive, allows for a necessary condition; viz., that something is art only if it satisfies at least one of the disjuncts on the list. The result may be long and messy, but no less a definition on that account.

Keywords:   art, cluster, Berys Gaut

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