Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

AFB’s Terms of Art #2: Philosophy of Art


Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here.

Term of the Day #2:
philosophy of art

Pronunciation: nothing special here


Adolf Bierbrauer, Case F III, (1953) [source]

Definition: Philosophy of art focuses on philosophical questions about, um, art (duh). For instance:

  • What is art?
  • What is good art?
  • How do we determine meaning in art?
  • How much do artists’ intentions matter?
  • How does art represent the world or reflect our experience?
  • How does art communicate anything its audience?
  • Do different artistic forms do this differently?
  • Is morally better art better?
  • What role does art have to play in society?
  • Why do we care so much about art?
  • And on and on and on.

Not to be confused with:
(1) aesthetics – about things like beauty (taste, etc.) in general, rather than as it specifically pertains to art; e.g., you can ask questions about our aesthetic experience of nature (from sunsets to human bodies), but those wouldn’t technically be philosophy of art questions

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