International Conference

Ghent, Belgium

19th-20th May 2014


The Ghent Aesthetics Research Group (GARG), in association with the FWO (Research Foundation Flanders) and DAA (The Dutch Association of Aesthetics), is proud to host an international conference on:


‘I know what art is when I see it.’
Reasons (not) to define art


This conference will examine the motivations behind the project of defining art. Recent voices in the philosophy of art have argued that the project has been wrongheaded and irrelevant. The most plausible of the contemporary attempts to define art provide us with no guidance with respect to the interpretation, evaluation, and appreciation of works of art, so it is argued. Moreover, the obsession with extensional adequacy has led astray the whole field of aesthetics, ignoring the core values of art and alienating other participants in the field of the arts from analytic aesthetics. Notwithstanding this skepticism regarding the project of defining art, there is still much work written on definitions of art and many questions in aesthetics and even in the broader field of the arts seem to hinge on how art is defined.

The main aim of this conference is to shed light on the question whether or not we have adequate reasons to define art, a question that is often passed over in silence. This conference does not wish to add new definitions of art to the already existing bunch, but wants to reflect on the significance of actual or possible definitions of art. In this way, we aim to help reorient the project of defining art and make it more worthwhile for the artistic and philosophical community.

For those interested, there is a workshop in Ghent hosted by GARG and Centre for Philsophical Psychology on the 21st of May 2014 shortly after this conference. The workshop theme is on music and emotion entitled 'For or against emotion in music?', and is coutesty of FWO and DAA. For more information including venue and directions please click here.