Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
Debora Pazetto Ferreira
Art or Works of Art
An Ontological Approach of Arthur Danto and Vilém Flusser
When we investigate what are the philosophical meanings of art or works of art, it is advisable to search for the background conceptions inherent to the practice and common language concerning art. In this paper, I suggest that there are, generally speaking, at least two basic conceptions used to approach art: one, more rigorous and more restricted, considers art as a series of works of art circumscribed in the history of art, made by individuals known as artists, and frequently located in artistic institutions. The other, vaguer, but more comprehensive, considers art as the innovative or creative element existent in every culture. The philosophy of art of Arthur Danto is presented as an example of ontological definition based on the first conception. The philosophy of Vilém Flusser, on the other hand, is a competent conceptual development representing the second approach. Nevertheless, both of them are grounded in common language and practice, which includes both meanings of the word art. I propose that clarifying these different meanings, comprised by the same word “art”, is an interesting way to start a philosophical investigation on art.