Not all works of art represent something, but some do, and their doing so is relevant to our aesthetic experience of ...

Nathan on November 21, 2013

Map

I did not map this out effectively. Can I have some help?

1 Reply

Melody on November 25, 2013

Nothing really to map out here. The conclusion of this argument is, "there cannot be any clear criteria for determining whether an object qualifies as art." WHY? For the works of art that represent something, this representation is relevant to our aesthetic experience of them and representation is an aesthetically relevant property. We know that whether a work of art possesses this property is dependent upon context. However, there are no clear criteria for determining whether context-dependent properties are present in an object.

We are being asked to identify the Error in Reasoning in this argument, so let's take a closer look at the answer choices:

(A) is incorrect because the author failing to exclude the possibility that because some works of art are nonrepresentational, there is no way of judging our aesthetic experience of them, is not why the reasoning in the argument is questionable. The ability to judge our aesthetic experience of works of art is irrelevant to the argument.

(B) is incorrect because the author failing to exclude the possibility that an object may have some aesthetic properties and not be a work of art is not why the reasoning in the argument is questionable. We are concerned with determining whether an object IS a work of art. We do not care about objects with aesthetic properties that are not works of art.

(C) is the CORRECT answer because failing to exclude this possibility makes the reasoning of the argument questionable. The author argues that there cannot be any clear criteria for determining whether an object qualifies as art because we cannot determine whether a work of art has the aesthetically relevant property of representation. But what if other aesthetically relevant properties CAN determine whether an object is a work of art? The author overlooks this possibility and this is why the reasoning in the stimulus is questionable.

(D) is incorrect because failing to exclude the possibility that some works of art may have properties that are not relevant to our aesthetic experience of them is not why the reasoning in the argument is questionable. Remember, the argument has to do with being able to determine whether an object is a work of art, not whether that object has properties relevant to our aesthetic experience of them.

(E) is incorrect because failing to exclude the possibility that some objects that represent things other than themselves are not works of art is not why the reasoning in the argument is questionable. Again, remember that we are concerned with determining whether an object qualifies as art, rather than objects that are not works of art.

Hope that was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.