Do the artist's intentions have anything to do with the making and appreciation of works of art? In Art and Intention Paisley Livingston develops a broad and balanced perspective on perennial disputes between intentionalists and anti-intentionalists in philosophical aesthetics and critical theory. He surveys and assesses a wide range of rival assumptions about the nature of intentions and the status of intentionalist psychology. With detailed reference to
examples from diverse media, art forms, and traditions, he demonstrates that insights into the multiple functions of intentions have important implications for our understanding of artistic creation and authorship, the ontology of art, conceptions of texts, works, and versions, basic issues pertaining to the
nature of fiction and fictional truth, and the theory of art interpretation and appreciation.
Livingston argues that neither the inspirationist nor rationalistic conceptions can capture the blending of deliberate and intentional, spontaneous and unintentional processes in the creation of art. Texts, works, and artistic structures and performances cannot be adequately individuated in the absence of a recognition of the relevant makers intentions. The distinction between complete and incomplete works receives an action-theoretic analysis that makes possible an elucidation of several
different senses of 'fragment' in critical discourse. Livingston develops an account of authorship, contending that the recognition of intentions is in fact crucial to our understanding of diverse forms of collective art-making. An artist's short-term intentions and long-term plans and policies interact
in complex ways in the emergence of an artistic oeuvre, and our uptake of such attitudes makes an important difference to our appreciation of the relations between items belonging to a single life-work.
The intentionalism Livingston advocates is, however, a partial one, and accomodates a number of important anti-intentionalist contentions. Intentions are fallible, and works of art, like other artefacts, can be put to a bewildering diversity of uses. Yet some important aspects of art's meaning and value are linked to the artists aims and activities.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 270
Weight: 421 g
Dimensions: 240 x 160 x 15 mm
A thoughtful and provoking discussion of art and intention - probably the most seriously engaged book to date written on the endlessly challenging subject of an artist's intentions and how it is possible, if at all, to interpret them. * Laura Upperton, Philosophical Writings Journal *
A rich and ambitious book, one which...produces abundant food for thought for the most discerning philosophical palates. * Anna Christina Ribeiro, Mind Journal *