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Context, make-believe and expressiveness: how we use art

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dc.contributor.author Harper, Susan Joan
dc.date.accessioned 2011-07-13T21:40:51Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-27T01:41:49Z
dc.date.available 2011-07-13T21:40:51Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-27T01:41:49Z
dc.date.copyright 1995
dc.date.issued 1995
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/25464
dc.description.abstract This thesis builds on Kendall Walton's 1990 book Mimesis as Make-Believe which, upon my first reading, struck me with a sense of rightness. In this thesis I examine Mimesis as Make-Believe and using Walton's idea as yarn weave an account about what we do with art and how we do it. Walton's idea is that we do not stop playing make-believe when we stop talking to teddies or telling our friends that it is their turn to be the law-abiding enemies of the crazed scientists. Instead he thinks that representational art is of the same functional kind as the props in make-believe games, such as soft toys which we pretend are real companions and dressing-gowns which we pretend are lab coats. According to Walton's theory when I read The Lord of the Rings I use the words and maps to help me involve myself in a game in which I pretend that I know that Middle-Earth and all its denizens exist and epic adventures go on there. A pattern in the thesis is the problem posed by the way our interactions with artworks vary with context. The problem is to explain this relativism without degenerating into extreme and unprincipled subjectivism. The warp of my thesis is to say that what we do with different artworks is guided by our knowledge of previous interactions with artworks; we treat similar cases similarly. I claim ranges of alternatives are a principled way of understanding artworks in terms of similarity to each other. This makes my thesis an institutional account because according to it we know what to do with an artwork because we know what the done thing is to do with such objects. We do not come to art empty-minded; our embeddedness in the practice of appreciating and understanding art is what our appreciation and understanding of art is dependent on. The woof of my thesis is my concentration on expressiveness in artworks, because it is one of Walton's most significant omissions in Mimesis as Make-Believe. In general I create a synthesis, making new fabric when required, explaining what we really do with art in accordance with a philosophy of mind that makes sense. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Context, make-believe and expressiveness: how we use art en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline Philosophy en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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