Hello Philosophers. My question regards to the philosophy of art. Were there any other philosophers that outlined essential criteria relating to beauty or other ways of critiquing an artwork like Kant had the 4 criteria for beauty. Thanks Callum, 16.

Hello, Callum; thanks for your question. Before Kant, there was a tradition in Enlightenment thinking about the nature of beauty and how we are able to perceive it. This tradition often referred to what was called the "faculty of taste" to distinguish this form of perception from other so-called faculties. The history runs roughly from Lord Shaftesbury, through Hutcheson, Burke, Hume, and then through Kant to Schopenhauer. A useful overview of this trajectory is in a book by George Dickie called _Evaluating Art_. Yours, Mitch Green

There seem to be two major assertions about how an artwork comes into existence: the first one considers the artist to have some kind of access to the "essence of truth" or something like that; the artist receives the idea in an inspirational moment and consequently creates the artwork on that foundation afterwards. The second assertion considers art to be the product of a huge mental or bodily effort. The second one is undermined by the statements of many artists. But what do you think about the first assertion? I'm not sure about refusing it right away.

Thanks for your question. Your question is at least as much one for psychology as it is for philosophy. The reason is that it is not quite about the definition of art, which is probably a strictly philosophical question; rather it is about the causal conditions under which art is created. In spite of that, it seems to me that the first theory you mention is equally well undermined by the experience of artists and others. For one, many conceptual artists don't think of themselves as being guided by inspiration at all; rather they'd say that's a defunct Romantic obsession. Instead, a conceptual artist might see her work as commenting on the practice of art itself, or getting us to be reflective about some aspect of our lives such as our use of consumer goods or the way that we structure our time. Again, an artist might have an idea, and then might need to put it through many stages and drafts to make something that seems to fly. Do we need to call this an inspiration or some access to an essential...

Is there a difference of aesthetic value between a genuine piece of art and an indistinguishable fake of it? Erez B., Israel

Thanks for your message. Most aestheticians today would, I think, say that there is usually not an aesthetic difference between these two things, but that there may well be other important differences. For instance, a genuine and a fake Vermeer will, by your hypothesis, look exactly the same, and if that is the case then (on the more common definition of "the aesthetic" as having primarily to do with primarily how an object appears to the senses) they will have the same aesthetic properties. On the other hand, the two works will differ drastically in other dimensions, such as historical interest, monetary value, originality, and so on. Above I said 'usually', and here's why: In some cases the aesthetic value of a work does seem to depend on its actual provenance. Imagine a work that literally contains a piece of the artist's flesh, and that was intended to be known to do so. (Supppose he cut off his hand, and preserved it in fluid of some kind in an installation for all to see.) Most...