By James W. Manns

ISBN-10: 1563249545

ISBN-13: 9781563249549

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I deeply appreciate the trust he has shown in me and hope my efforts adequately repay this trust. Thanks also go to Professor Edward Madden for carefully reading the manuscript in various stages of its development and making numerous suggestions that have strengthened it greatly. In addition, his continuing encouragement proved vital to sustaining the effort necessary to bring this work to successful completion. And lastly, I thank Amy Goff-Yates for carefully reading and editing the manuscript.

Instead of thinking of any object as possessing a finite and determinate set of properties such as its size, shape, color, and so on, it is more accurate to see it as qualifiable in innumerable ways, depending on the perspective we bring to it. To be sure, there is a sense in which any such qualities we come to focus on are already present in the objectour eyes do not burn them into its surface! Transfiguration, as Danto intends the term, is still not transformation. And yet in a more important sense, these qualities do lie in a state of potentiality until summoned forth by a particular penchant or purpose.

24 Surely both theories arise out of a concern with the status of emerging works or styles, especially those that emerge without distinct precedent in the artworld. Dickie focuses on the relation such works enjoy with (a) the artists who produce themthat they be intended for acceptance into the artworldand (b) the public that receives them, whether readily or begrudgingly. Danto, as we have seen, emphasizes (a) their theoretical groundingthat new works be welcomed not merely with applause (or chagrin: John Cage once remarked that his favorite form of audience response occurred when people would shake their fists at him), but with a theory that could account for their rightful place within the domain of art; and (b) their historical interpretationthat the theory sanctioning the practice would itself be oriented toward the history of art, both the immediate, recent history out of which a work or event developed, and the longer history, reaching back through styles, perhaps through centuries.

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Aesthetics by James W. Manns


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