Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Art, value of

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M010-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Art has as many kinds of value as there are points of view from which it can be evaluated. Moreover, the benefits of art vary with the role of the participant, for there are benefits that are specific to the creation, the performance and the mere appreciation of art. But in the philosophy of art one value is basic, namely the distinctive value of a work of art, its value as a work of art, which can be called its ‘artistic value’. This value is intrinsic to a work in that it is determined by the intrinsic, rather than the instrumental, value of an informed experience of it, an experience of it in which it is understood. Artistic value is a matter of degree, but it is not a measurable quantity, and whether one work is better than another may be an indeterminate issue. A judgment about a work’s artistic value claims validity, rightly or wrongly, not merely for the person who makes the judgment but for everyone. Both David Hume and Immanuel Kant tried to show how such a claim could be well-founded, but their attempts are usually considered failures, and there is no accepted solution to the problem they addressed. Many philosophers have been concerned with the relation between artistic value and other values. The most famous attack on art, founded on its supposed relation to other values, was made by Plato, who claimed that nearly all art has undesirable social consequences and so should be excluded from a decent society. Plato overlooked many possibilities, however, and the question of art’s beneficial or harmful influence is a much more complex issue than he recognized.

Citing this article:
Budd, Malcolm. Art, value of, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M010-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles