SlideShare a Scribd company logo
Art and Intentionality
Author(s): Daniel Kolak
Reviewed work(s):
Source: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring, 1990), pp. 158-162
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/430907 .
Accessed: 11/03/2012 11:25

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.




                Blackwell Publishing and The American Society for Aesthetics are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize,
                preserve and extend access to The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.




http://www.jstor.org
158                                                              The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

definition may rely too heavily on the motion of              Franz Kafka left instructions to his literary exec-
"intentionfor regard." Something can be "intended             utor, Max Brod, to burn all his unpublishedmanu-
for regard"as a work of art and fail to be a work of          scripts, including The Trial and The Castle. This
art, as this case shows. If the way an item is "intended      suggests that the creatorof what we regardto be art
for regard"is deceptive, if the item is not intendedto        of the highest caliber did not intend these creations
be a workof art thoughit is intendedto be regardedas          "for regard-as-a-work-of-art a way that preexist-
                                                                                            in
one, it stands as a counter-exampleto Levinson's              ing art-works are or were correctly regarded." In-
theory.                                                       deed, it seems Kafka did not intend them to be
                                                              regarded in any way whatsoever: by ordering their
CRISPIN    SARTWELL                                           destruction, Kafkaapparentlywished no one to ever
Vanderbilt
         University                                           experience these objects. So we must choose be-
                                                              tween the following: either a creator's intending a
                                                              thing for regard-as-a-work-of-art not a necessary
                                                                                                 is
  1. Jerrold Levinson, "Refining Art Historically,"Jour-
                                                              condition for that thing to be art and therefore
nal of Aestheticsand Art Criticism47 (1988): 2 1-33.          Levinson's theory is wrong, or The Trial and The
  2. See in this regardcertain worksof SherrieLevine.         Castle are not art.
                                                                 The first of Levinson's responses to my counter-
                                                              example is as follows:
Art and Intentionality
                                                              Firstly, it can be observed that there undoubtedlywas art-
I believe all relational theories of art are fundamen-        intent at many points prior to, during, and perhaps even
tally mistaken. Certainobjects, due to their intrinsic        after the period of composition; one might ask whether
exhibited qualities, are art-regardless     of their cre-     final expressed intentions are automatically to be given
ators' intentions.I When defining what art is, it is          priority in deciding art status.8
the artist's effect that matters, not the cause.2
   In a recent article Jerrold Levinson3 reasserts his        This does not addressthe objection. The force of the
relational theory of art originally presented in "De-         counter-exampleis based on a case where the creator
fining Art Historically."4 Levinson, inspired by              has no art-intent and yet has produced a thing we
institutional definitions, such as George Dickie's,           regardto be art even thoughit was not intendedby its
introduces some important qualifications.5 For ex-            creatorto be so regarded.Unless the Kafkaexample
ample, the requiredrelationdoes not consist in some           is a conceptual impossibility-and it is not-Lev-
"overt act" performed in an "institutional setting"           inson must address the example as a possibility
within the "artworld," as in Dickie's definition.             against which to test his theory. Trying to dismiss
Rather, it consists in the "intention" of the "inde-          the objection on groundsthatone can suppose Kafka
pendentindividual or individuals"with regardto the            to have had art-intentdoes not diminish the force of
"history of art." Both views maintain that "art-              the counter-example. If we take Kafka'sdeclaration
workhood is not an intrinsic exhibited quality of a           to mean that there was no art intent on his part prior
thing but, rather,a matterof an object's being related        to, during, or after his writing of The Trial, is The
in the right way to human activity of thought."               Trial art? Levinson's theory implies that it is not.
Levinson refines his original definition of art as            This, given the intrinsic exhibited qualities of The
follows:                                                      Trial,is unsatisfactory.
                                                                 Levinson might respond that by supposing Kafka
an artwork is a thing (item, object, entity) that has been    to have had no art intent prior, during, or after the
seriously intendedfor regard-as-a-work-of-art,i.e., regard    creation of his work I have extrapolated from my
in any way preexisting artworks are or were correctly re-     original counter-examplehypotheticallyand so it no
garded.6                                                      longer carries the weight of an unqualified actual
                                                              case. However, I am restatingthe example in some-
Some years ago I posed a challenge to his theory              what hypotheticalterms not to provide a force miss-
which, writes Levinson,                                       ing in the actual example but to defend an actual
                                                              example against a hypothetical defense that, in
is in many ways the most interesting. It consists in the      effect, supposes the actual example not to be an
criticism that all relational theories of art are fundamen-   actual one. In saying, "it can be observed that there
tally mistaken, at least insofar as they attempt to furnish   undoubtedlywas art-intent," Levinson implies that
necessary conditions of arthood, because certain intrinsic    his response is not a hypothetical one, that Kafka
qualities of objects indeed suffice to make them artworks,    did, in reality, have "art-intentat many points prior
regardless of the intentional context or purposive back-      to, during, and perhaps even after the period of
ground of the object. Case in point: Kafka'snovels.7          composition." But Levinson is merely supposing, or
Discussion                                                                                                        159

hypothesizing,that Kafka did have such art-intent.           Thus, in supposing-not observing or noting-that
This is questionablefor three reasons. First, there is       Kafka had art-intentprior to, during, or after The
Kafka's expressed wish that The Trial not be re-             Trial,Levinson makes hypotheticalresponses to an
garded by anyone in any way whatsoever. Any                  actual example. Third, how is one to evaluate the
extrapolation from this fact will be hypothetical.           purportedintent-claimsand intent-denials artists
                                                                                                       of
Second, it is not clear how art-intent-in this or any        who, like Kafka, are often deeply confused, un-
other case-can be observed. This is a flaw in                clear, or unawareof what their intentionsare, much
Levinson's theory, for it suggests we can never              less of whetherthey even have any?12 The problems
know, with any certainty,whethersomething is art.            raised for Levinson are whether-and how-we can
We would have to know the "true" intent of the               know artists' intentions, and whether-and how-
creator which, usually, is merely implied, rarely            the artists themselvescan know theirown intentions.
stated, and often ambiguous. Levinson might claim               Moreover, Levinson over-states his case. The
that his phrase, "it can be observed" is meant only          presenceof Kafka'sart-intentis not "undoubtable."
rhetorically, and means something like "I note               One can picture Kafka workingout his neuroses on
that." But what could Levinson be "noting"?                  paper and then Brod later stealthily retrieving the
Kafka'sdiaries suggest he often wrote not with the           pages from Kafka'swastepaper   basket. (Brodadmits
intent of producing something to be regarded in a            to having taken, more than once, Kafka'sdiscarded
way that pre-existing literature was regarded.               scribbling and later publishing them!) And even if
Rather, he wrote with the intent of giving himself           we merely supposed that Kafka lacked any art in-
peace of mind from an existential terror, an                 tent-that is, even if the example were merely hypo-
objectless dread, an angst, that by Kafka's own              thetical, which it is not-it would be enough to
accountmust havebeen excruciating:                           throw Levinson'sformulaintojeopardy.
                                                                Indeed, Levinson recognizes that we already re-
a bullet would be the best solution. I shall simply shoot    gard The Trialas greatart: "these writingsof Kafka
myself and vacatethis spot where I fail to exist.9           which, fortunately, have survived ... clearly are
                                                             literaryart, and of a very high order." Findingout
                                                                                                    13

His writing often seems prompted by exorcism-                that Kafkaneverintendedit to be so regardedwould
intending,not art-intending:                                 move few-if any-of us to cease regarding it as
                                                             such. Perhaps Levinson would claim that, if it
                                                             turned out that Kafka had no art intent whatsoever,
Each of us has his own way of emerging from the              we should recognize that the reason we were moved
underworld,mine is by writing. That'swhy the only way I
                                                             to (falsely) regardThe Trialas art was because it had
can keep going, if at all, is by writing ... I am far more
                                                             been presented to us (falsely) within a particular
likely to achieve peace of mind through writing than the
                                                             historical and purposive context, and that had we
capacity to write throughpeace.'0                            known that Kafka neverintended The Trialto be so
                                                             regarded,we would not have regardedit as art. But
And Gustav Janouch wrote down the following con-             Levinson would probablynot wish to avail himself
versation he had with Kafka:                                 of the counterexample way. By his own criteria,
                                                                                     this
                                                             Levinson'stheory achievesits force on two grounds:
"I havebeen reading'The Judgment.                            "extensionaladequacyand insight into the natureof
"Did you like it?"                                           art today," that is, by covering obvious classical
"Like it? The book is horrifying!"                           examples-paintings, novels, poetry, music-and
"Youare perfectly right."                                    more recent forms such as Conceptualart, Minimal
"I should like to know how you came to write it. The         art, and Performanceart. 14 If it turns out that his
dedication, For F., is certainly not merely formal. Surely   theory fails to include a paradigmof "literaryart,
you wantedthe book to say somethingto someone. I should      and of a very high order," it would, on his own
like to know the context."                                   criteria of success, be deeply suspect. Levinson
F.K. smiled, embarrassed.                                    must addressthe issue by telling us what to do with
LJanouch:] am being impertinent.Forgiveme."
           "I                                                The Trial if we find that Kafka had no art intent
"You mustn't apologize. One reads in order to ask            whatsoever.
questions. 'The Judgment'is the ghost of a night."              Levinson'ssecond response comes no closer than
"Whatdo you mean?"                                           the first to addressingthe difficulty with his theory:
"It is a ghost," he repeated, with a hard look into the
distance.                                                    it could be questioned whether the direction to burn the
"Andyet you wrote it."                                       manuscriptsis absolutely inconsistentwith the persistence
"Thatis merely the verification,and so the complete exor-    of art-intenton Kafka'spart. Kafkamay havebeen deeply
cism, of the ghost." '                                       conflicted, harboringcontradictoryintentionsor wishes,
160                                                              The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism

in which a need for communicationvied with an anxious          exhibited qualities, recognized by observers when
perfectionism.Or else he may have intentionallyprojected       they identify the object as art, exist as intrinsic
his workfor certainideal readers... but believing them not     exhibitedqualitiesof the objectindependently the  of
to exist among his likely readers,and not likely to exist in   artist's intent. By adding the qualification, "poten-
nearfuture, was resignedto having the workconsigned to         tial" literary value, Levinson tries to avoid the
the flames. 15                                                 implicationthat he is inadvertentlyadmittingwhat
                                                               his theory will not allow. It is as if we are to regard
This fails as a response for reasons already dis-              the literary value of The Trialas only "potential"
cussed. By second-guessing Kafka'sstates of mind               until someone's intent is introduced.But this is not
and then inventing elaborateways Kafka may have                how the value of The Trialwould be regarded.No
had art-intent, Levinson alters the example to suit            one would say, "What I am reading is potentially
his theory. Suppose Tom believes, "Causing harm                quite disturbing,potentiallyquite funny,potentially
intentionallyis a necessary conditionfor an actionto           quite evocative, etc., in a profoundway. PerhapsI
be morally wrong." We provide Tom with the fol-                can take it to the appropriateaesthetic authorities
lowing example: Joe, driving home drunk, fell                  and together we can decide to allow ourselves, and
asleep at the wheel of his car and ran over a child.           others, to become actually disturbed, actually
Tom responds: "Well, suppose Joe secretly wanted               amused, etc., by it." Potentiallyfunnythingsdo not
to kill the child all along!" Of course intendingto            make us laugh, actual ones do. In the example of
cause harm is no counterexampleto the principle,               The Trial it is too late for potential effects. The
"intentionalwrong-doing is a necessary condition               actual effect has alreadytranspired.It is not there-
of an action being wrong." Of course if Kafkahad a             fore a potential effect but an actual one.
hidden art-intenthe would not be a counterexample                 Thus Levinson's last response fails, for three
to Levinson's theory which takes art-intent as a               reasons. First, it puts the cart before the horse. If it
necessaryconditionof arthood.Butthese are the not              is art-intent that makes something art, and the
the problemsposed. One cannot dismiss a counter-               creatorof the objectdid not haveart-intent,then the
example by hypothesizingthat it is not an actual               object is not art until art-intent happens, some-
counter-example.                                               where, sometime, (in this modified example) in the
   Levinson's third response comes closest to ad-              mind of an audience. But why in the Kafkaexample
dressingthe difficulties:                                      should art-intenthappenin the mind of an audience
                                                               toward an object that-when they first apprehend
we might choose to view the case as one of those               it-is, by Levinson'sdefinition, not art?Isn't on his
anomalousones where, owing to the exceptionalpotential         view the audience simply mistaken?For on Levin-
literaryvalue at stake, we recognize thatthe communityof       son's (modified) view, an object is not art until
readers and critics can in effect justifiably appropriate      someone's art intent makes it so. Once the art-
certain texts and project them for literary regard, thus       intending happens there may be justification in
overruling, unusually, a creator'sconsidered intent. The       regardingthe object as art. But when and how does
text becomes literature,as it were, "willy-nilly."16           this intending happen? If by accident, arthood is
                                                               arbitrary.If by reason, what kind of reason? The
The idea is that if Kafkaactuallyhad no art intentat           only reason Levinson allows is that of art-intent.
all in writing The Trial its audience could, if so             Such a reason, however, is not availableuntil after
moved, choose to make The Trialart. Facedwith the              the fact.
dilemma of either dismissing his theory as unsatis-               Second, in evokingthe pejorativephrase, "willy-
factory or dismissing The Trialas non-art, Levin-              nilly," the question of whetherit is the creator'sor
son-correctly-does not take the latteroption. He               the observer'sstate of mind that mattersis begged.
seeks to avoid the first horn of the dilemma by                Why does the power of an observerto bestow the
offering a thirdchoice. Takingthe Kafkacounterex-              statusof arthoodupon a particularobject make that
ample case as an anomalysaves his theory by allow-             object's statusas art "willy-nilly?"We are asked to
ing, in certain cases, the intent of an audience to            assume that when such power resides in the creator
regard a particularobject as a work of art "in the             the art status of the created object is not "willy-
way preexisting artworks are or were correctly                 nilly." But if in one case, why not the other?Indeed,
regarded" as a sort of substitute for the creator's            taking into account the often eccentric nature of
original (lack of ) art-intent.                                many artists, do we even wantto give them proprie-
   In takingthis option, however,Levinson seems to             tary rights over their pieces? The well known self-
admit that some objects can have qualities which,              doubts, self-deprecations, and self-deceptions of
regardlessof their creator'sintent, make those ob-             many great artists should give us pause.17 Further-
jects art. The phrase "owing to the exceptional                more, Levinson'sown example, thatof Jaspersask-
potentialliterary value" implies that some intrinsic            ing us to attendto a pile of wood shavings scattered
Discussion                                                                                                              161

about the floor, a green index card tacked on the              The Trialwhich-based on its internal relations and
wall, and the fact that Montgomery is the capital of           independentlyof the judgments of any or all observ-
Alabama-a set of things Jaspers calls "John"-is                ers-is art of the very highest caliber, they would be
about as willy-nilly a way of something being art as           blinding themselves aesthetically to what is true and
one can imagine. To evoke the phrase, "willy-nilly,"           absolute as only the greatest art can express, and as
in the case of someone declaring The Trial to be a             The Trialso greatly expresses.
great novel, but not in the case of Jaspersdeclaring              In the final section of his paper, Levinson boldly
John to be art, begs the question of where the power           states,
to make something art lies. Is it with the creator or
the observer or neither? Indeed, the fact that Levin-          If a would-be artmaker will not himself acknowledge
son must accept John as art, as Jaspersdeclares it to          having the sort of intentI posit-that is, if we ask him point
be, could be taken as a weakness of Levinson's                 blank whether his object is intended, at least initially, to be
theory.                                                        regarded in some way past art was, and he denies it, nor
   Third, Levinson's response fails because it cov-            admits of any other intended regardthat we can identify to
ertly acknowledges that which Levinson explicitly              be in the class of past art regards-and if we can see no
wishes to deny: namely, that certain objects, due to           grounds for attributingsuch intent on his behalf, then my
their intrinsic exhibited properties, and completely           account says what he is doing cannot be art. 19
independentlyof their creator's intent, are artworks
solely because they evoke an appropriate response              Here Levinson comes close to addressing the prob-
in an audience. That is, in some cases, it is indeed           lem head-on. He admits the (problematic) conclu-
the artist's effect that matters, not its cause:               sion forced upon him by the Kafka counterexample.
                                                               If Kafka were to arrive in Levinson's office today
for the literary community itself to so override a creator's   and declare that The Trial is not intended to be
sincere disavowal of literary-intentI suggest it would have    regarded as art-or, indeed, as anything whatso-
to at least be the case that the text was (a) inordinately     ever-Levinson would claim that, if no literarycom-
valuable as literature, (b) unsuited to other employment,      munity were preparedto overrule or usurp Kafka's
and (c) something we could scarcely help taking as             prerogative, The Trialis not art. I would claim that
literature.Kafka'spossibly ill-intended (though luckily not    Levinson is seriously mistaken. By responding to
ill-fated) texts do certainly meet these conditions. 18        what in this case matters least-Kafka's intent-
                                                               rather than to what matters most-the intrinsic
What makes The Trial "inordinately valuable as                 exhibited qualities of The Trial-Levinson allows
literature," something "we could scarcely help tak-            his theory about what art might be to blind him to the
ing as literature?" Certainly not Kafka's (lack of)            experience of what is, beyond a doubt, art.20
art-intent, for we are supposing that The Trial was
written without any. It must be something else. But            DANIEL      KOLAK
what?It is, as Levinson admits, our being effected in          The William PatersonCollege of New Jersey
a striking and irresistible way by an object whose
qualities profoundly provoke, befuddle, bemuse,
etc. This amazing aesthetic power, it seems, lies not
in the mind of the creator, nor in the eyes of the                1. I base my locution on Maurice Mandelbaum, who
beholder, nor in the officiating power of institutions         designates as "exhibited" those perceptible qualities that,
but, rather,in the intrinsic exhibited qualities of the        for instance, a particularpainting may have in virtue of its
                                                               havinga triangular   ratherthan, say, a circular,composition,
object itself. In reacting to intrinsic exhibited qual-
                                                               or its being red ratherthanblue; or thata piece of music has
ities in this way Levinson thus (unintentionally)              in virtue of its havinga staccatorather than, say, continuous,
acknowledges that art intent is not a necessary                or smoothand fluid, structure,or its havingorchestralrather
condition of art.                                              than perhaps a chamber or quartet form, and so on. See
   Suppose the Nazis won World War Two and the                 Maurice Mandelbaum,"Family Resemblancesand Gener-
world today was a unified Nazi state whose people              alizations Concerning the Arts," American Philosophical
unanimously regarded The Trial (still written with-            Quarterly 2 (1965): 219-228, reprinted in Problems in
out art-intent)as having no literary value. It is used         Aesthetics, 2d ed., ed. Morris Weitz (London: Macmillan,
as an example of nonsensical ravings produced by                1970), pp. 181-197.
                                                                  2. RaymondMartinand I have arguedthat what matters
Jewish mental illness, to be taken as a work of
                                                               primarilyin identity,even in the case of persons, is not the
depravedlunacy barely above the howling of a sick              cause butthe effect; see Daniel KolakandRaymondMartin,
animal. Three billion Nazis can, and in this case              "Personal Identity and Causality: Becoming Unglued,"
would be, wrong. For by failing to notice, due to              AmericanPhilosophical Quarterly24 (1987): 339-347.
their collective errors of judgment and lack of in-               3. Jerrold Levinson, "Refining Art Historically," The
sight, the profound intrinsic exhibited qualities of           Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism47 (1989): 21-33.
162                                                             The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism

  4. For the original statementof Levinson's position, see      13. Levinson, "RefiningArt Historically,"p. 29.
JerroldLevinson, "DefiningArt Historically,"BritishJour-        14. Ibid., p. 21.
nal of Aesthetics 19 (1979): 232-250.                           15. Ibid., pp. 29-30.
   5. See, for instance, George Dickie, "Whatis Art?: An        16. Ibid., p. 30.
InstitutionalAnalysis," in ed. W.E. Kennick, Art and Phi-       17. Indeed, thereis a strongbody of literature throws
                                                                                                              that
losophy, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979),       into doubt whether our most fundamental beliefs about
pp. 82-94; Timothy Bartel, "Appreciation and Dickie's        ourselves-our motives, our desires, our intentions-are
Definition of Art," BritishJournalof Aesthetics 19 (1979):   true, or even, if we have just one self, or many (possibly
44-52; George Dickie, The Art Circle (New York:Haven,        disagreeing) selves, or no selves at all. See, for instance,
1985), and Jerrold Levinson's review of The Art Circle in    Daniel Kolak and RaymondMartin, eds., Self And Identity
Philosophical Review96 (1987): 141-146; also, for a view     (New York:Macmillan, 1990). Fora literaryexplorationof
similarto Levinson's see Noel Carroll, "Art, Practice, and   this theme, see Milan Kundera's shortstory, "TheHitchhik-
Narrative,"TheMonist 71 (April 1988): 140-156.               ing Game," in LaughableLoves, trans. SuzanneRappaport
   6. JerroldLevinson, "Refining Art Historically,"p. 21.    (New York: Knopf, 1974), pp. 65-87; reprinted in The
   7. Ibid., p. 29.                                          Experienceof Philosophy,eds. Daniel Kolak and Raymond
   8. Ibid.                                                  Martin(Belmont:Wadsworth,1990), pp. 116-127.
   9. Nahum N. Glatzer, ed., I Am a Memory Come Alive:          18. Levinson, "RefiningArt Historically,"p. 30.
Autobiographical Writingsby Franz Kafka (New York:              19. Ibid., p. 30.
SchockenBooks, 1974), p. 175.                                   20. I deliveredan earlierversionof this paperat the New
   10. Ibid., pp. 110-111.                                   Jersey Regional PhilosophicalAssociation Meeting at Rut-
   11. Ibid., p. 53.                                         gers Universityon November18, 1989. I thankall those who
   12. Many artistshaveclaimed thattheirgreatestandmost      participated, especially Shaun Nichols, Peter Kivy, John
meaningful works are created without intention. For a dis-   O'Connor,JohnPeterman,andVictorTejera.JerroldLevin-
cussion of how and why objects created as ends in them-      son and RaymondMartinread an early rough draft and, as
selves might be more meaningful than objects created with    usual, gave me superb and helpful advice. Also, thanksto
the intentionthatthey be put to some use, see "Meaning"in    Donald W. Crawford and Eileen Palmer for their many
Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin, WisdomWithoutAn-            helpful editing suggestions.
swers (Belmont:Wadsworth,1989), pp. 80-90.

More Related Content

Similar to Art and intentionality

The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docxThe Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
arnoldmeredith47041
 
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
KeziahRezaey
 
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
VincentKwunLeungLee
 
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of artArthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
sirrhouge
 
Subject and Content
 Subject and Content Subject and Content
Subject and Content
AngelieArgota
 
Art And Pornography Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
Art And Pornography  Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating ArtArt And Pornography  Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
Art And Pornography Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
Amy Roman
 
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the KnivesCharacteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
ijtsrd
 
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On KnivesCharacteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
ijtsrd
 
Art508
Art508Art508
Art508
julesobart
 
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
VincentKwunLeungLee
 
Context of art
Context of artContext of art
Context of art
arminda villamin
 
SUMMER15UVC4
SUMMER15UVC4SUMMER15UVC4
SUMMER15UVC4
Jennifer Burns
 
Difference between Criticism and Creativity
Difference between Criticism and CreativityDifference between Criticism and Creativity
Difference between Criticism and Creativity
jaysarvaiya00005
 
Fall15Module2.2
Fall15Module2.2Fall15Module2.2
Fall15Module2.2
Jennifer Burns
 
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
Invisible Architect
 
Art History As Ekphrasis
Art History As EkphrasisArt History As Ekphrasis
Art History As Ekphrasis
Todd Turner
 
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
Melissa Hall
 
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL GALLERY REVIEW Paint.docx
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL  GALLERY REVIEW  Paint.docxDALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL  GALLERY REVIEW  Paint.docx
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL GALLERY REVIEW Paint.docx
whittemorelucilla
 
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennettNietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
Mariane Farias
 
The Other Half Part I Artwork
The  Other  Half    Part  I    ArtworkThe  Other  Half    Part  I    Artwork
The Other Half Part I Artwork
smithjacobm
 

Similar to Art and intentionality (20)

The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docxThe Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
The Short Guide SeriesUnder the Editorship ofSylvan Barn.docx
 
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
A Window Into the Soul, Spirit, and Mind: The Artistic Intuition in Phenomeno...
 
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
FAAS5039 - Theoretical Text (Vincent KL LEE, 1007070165)
 
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of artArthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
Arthur c. danto's phiosophy of art
 
Subject and Content
 Subject and Content Subject and Content
Subject and Content
 
Art And Pornography Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
Art And Pornography  Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating ArtArt And Pornography  Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
Art And Pornography Essay Review Of Jerrold Levinson S Contemplating Art
 
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the KnivesCharacteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
Characteristic of the Image System in the Novel of N.S. Leskov On the Knives
 
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On KnivesCharacteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
Characteristics of the Image System in N.S.Leskovs Novel On Knives
 
Art508
Art508Art508
Art508
 
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
ITSC Cloud Version - Artist Statement_1007070165
 
Context of art
Context of artContext of art
Context of art
 
SUMMER15UVC4
SUMMER15UVC4SUMMER15UVC4
SUMMER15UVC4
 
Difference between Criticism and Creativity
Difference between Criticism and CreativityDifference between Criticism and Creativity
Difference between Criticism and Creativity
 
Fall15Module2.2
Fall15Module2.2Fall15Module2.2
Fall15Module2.2
 
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
The architectural review (2002-2005)-part 1
 
Art History As Ekphrasis
Art History As EkphrasisArt History As Ekphrasis
Art History As Ekphrasis
 
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
3.2 greenberg vs rosenberg
 
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL GALLERY REVIEW Paint.docx
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL  GALLERY REVIEW  Paint.docxDALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL  GALLERY REVIEW  Paint.docx
DALLAS MUSEUM OF ART CRITICAL GALLERY REVIEW Paint.docx
 
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennettNietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
Nietzsche's idea of myth, by benjamin bennett
 
The Other Half Part I Artwork
The  Other  Half    Part  I    ArtworkThe  Other  Half    Part  I    Artwork
The Other Half Part I Artwork
 

Recently uploaded

Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believersPost - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
thanglalzou
 
UofM degree offer diploma Transcript
UofM degree offer diploma TranscriptUofM degree offer diploma Transcript
UofM degree offer diploma Transcript
azeyhun
 
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
ashiklo9823
 
Kaia Ra Oracle - A Radiant Beacon
Kaia  Ra  Oracle  -  A  Radiant   BeaconKaia  Ra  Oracle  -  A  Radiant   Beacon
Kaia Ra Oracle - A Radiant Beacon
KaiaRaOracle
 
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
ankurwariko242
 
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
Abdullah Akbar
 
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the PeacemakersSermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Vintage Church
 
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997 ✔️
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997  ✔️❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997  ✔️
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997 ✔️
Khan Spells
 
MSU degree offer diploma Transcript
MSU degree offer diploma TranscriptMSU degree offer diploma Transcript
MSU degree offer diploma Transcript
azeyhun
 
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
Darul Amal Chishtia
 
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by JesusFaith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
Cole Hartman
 
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptxThe_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
Network Bible Fellowship
 
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
heartfulness
 
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma TranscriptSUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
azeyhun
 
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
Vintage Church
 
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
rawankhanlove256
 
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
deerfootcoc
 
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
dilbaghsingh98999
 
Ahmedabad Girls call 👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
Ahmedabad Girls call  👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room DeliveryAhmedabad Girls call  👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
Ahmedabad Girls call 👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
sunilverma7884
 
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
singhlata50dh
 

Recently uploaded (20)

Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believersPost - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
Post - Baptism Class.pptx for newly believers
 
UofM degree offer diploma Transcript
UofM degree offer diploma TranscriptUofM degree offer diploma Transcript
UofM degree offer diploma Transcript
 
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
High Profile Girls Call ServiCe Hyderabad 0000000000 Pooja Best High Class Hy...
 
Kaia Ra Oracle - A Radiant Beacon
Kaia  Ra  Oracle  -  A  Radiant   BeaconKaia  Ra  Oracle  -  A  Radiant   Beacon
Kaia Ra Oracle - A Radiant Beacon
 
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
High Girls Call Ahmedabad 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No...
 
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
Hyderabad, India Namaz / Salah Prayer Timings Chart (Double Page)
 
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the PeacemakersSermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
Sermon on the Mount: Part 8 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Peacemakers
 
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997 ✔️
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997  ✔️❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997  ✔️
❤Powerful Love Spells in Phoenix, AZ 📱 1(973) _384_3997 ✔️
 
MSU degree offer diploma Transcript
MSU degree offer diploma TranscriptMSU degree offer diploma Transcript
MSU degree offer diploma Transcript
 
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
Monthly Khazina-e-Ruhaniyaat Jun’2024 (Vol.15, Issue 3)
 
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by JesusFaith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
Faith Over Fear - Being Set Free From Free by Jesus
 
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptxThe_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
The_Chronological_Life_of_Christ_Part_109_Divine_Plan.pptx
 
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
Heartfulness Magazine - July 2024 (Volume 9, Issue 7)
 
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma TranscriptSUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
SUNY-Bin degree offer diploma Transcript
 
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
Sermon on the Mount: Part 7 - A Costly Interruption: Blessed are the Poor in ...
 
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
Girls Call Bhubaneswar 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 i...
 
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 7 14 24
 
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
Ahmedabad Girls Call 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And No1 in ...
 
Ahmedabad Girls call 👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
Ahmedabad Girls call  👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room DeliveryAhmedabad Girls call  👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
Ahmedabad Girls call 👀 XXXXXXXXXXX 👀 Rs.9.5 K Cash Payment With Room Delivery
 
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
High Girls Call Coimbatore 000XX00000 Provide Best And Top Girl Service And N...
 

Art and intentionality

  • 1. Art and Intentionality Author(s): Daniel Kolak Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring, 1990), pp. 158-162 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The American Society for Aesthetics Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/430907 . Accessed: 11/03/2012 11:25 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. Blackwell Publishing and The American Society for Aesthetics are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. http://www.jstor.org
  • 2. 158 The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism definition may rely too heavily on the motion of Franz Kafka left instructions to his literary exec- "intentionfor regard." Something can be "intended utor, Max Brod, to burn all his unpublishedmanu- for regard"as a work of art and fail to be a work of scripts, including The Trial and The Castle. This art, as this case shows. If the way an item is "intended suggests that the creatorof what we regardto be art for regard"is deceptive, if the item is not intendedto of the highest caliber did not intend these creations be a workof art thoughit is intendedto be regardedas "for regard-as-a-work-of-art a way that preexist- in one, it stands as a counter-exampleto Levinson's ing art-works are or were correctly regarded." In- theory. deed, it seems Kafka did not intend them to be regarded in any way whatsoever: by ordering their CRISPIN SARTWELL destruction, Kafkaapparentlywished no one to ever Vanderbilt University experience these objects. So we must choose be- tween the following: either a creator's intending a thing for regard-as-a-work-of-art not a necessary is 1. Jerrold Levinson, "Refining Art Historically,"Jour- condition for that thing to be art and therefore nal of Aestheticsand Art Criticism47 (1988): 2 1-33. Levinson's theory is wrong, or The Trial and The 2. See in this regardcertain worksof SherrieLevine. Castle are not art. The first of Levinson's responses to my counter- example is as follows: Art and Intentionality Firstly, it can be observed that there undoubtedlywas art- I believe all relational theories of art are fundamen- intent at many points prior to, during, and perhaps even tally mistaken. Certainobjects, due to their intrinsic after the period of composition; one might ask whether exhibited qualities, are art-regardless of their cre- final expressed intentions are automatically to be given ators' intentions.I When defining what art is, it is priority in deciding art status.8 the artist's effect that matters, not the cause.2 In a recent article Jerrold Levinson3 reasserts his This does not addressthe objection. The force of the relational theory of art originally presented in "De- counter-exampleis based on a case where the creator fining Art Historically."4 Levinson, inspired by has no art-intent and yet has produced a thing we institutional definitions, such as George Dickie's, regardto be art even thoughit was not intendedby its introduces some important qualifications.5 For ex- creatorto be so regarded.Unless the Kafkaexample ample, the requiredrelationdoes not consist in some is a conceptual impossibility-and it is not-Lev- "overt act" performed in an "institutional setting" inson must address the example as a possibility within the "artworld," as in Dickie's definition. against which to test his theory. Trying to dismiss Rather, it consists in the "intention" of the "inde- the objection on groundsthatone can suppose Kafka pendentindividual or individuals"with regardto the to have had art-intentdoes not diminish the force of "history of art." Both views maintain that "art- the counter-example. If we take Kafka'sdeclaration workhood is not an intrinsic exhibited quality of a to mean that there was no art intent on his part prior thing but, rather,a matterof an object's being related to, during, or after his writing of The Trial, is The in the right way to human activity of thought." Trial art? Levinson's theory implies that it is not. Levinson refines his original definition of art as This, given the intrinsic exhibited qualities of The follows: Trial,is unsatisfactory. Levinson might respond that by supposing Kafka an artwork is a thing (item, object, entity) that has been to have had no art intent prior, during, or after the seriously intendedfor regard-as-a-work-of-art,i.e., regard creation of his work I have extrapolated from my in any way preexisting artworks are or were correctly re- original counter-examplehypotheticallyand so it no garded.6 longer carries the weight of an unqualified actual case. However, I am restatingthe example in some- Some years ago I posed a challenge to his theory what hypotheticalterms not to provide a force miss- which, writes Levinson, ing in the actual example but to defend an actual example against a hypothetical defense that, in is in many ways the most interesting. It consists in the effect, supposes the actual example not to be an criticism that all relational theories of art are fundamen- actual one. In saying, "it can be observed that there tally mistaken, at least insofar as they attempt to furnish undoubtedlywas art-intent," Levinson implies that necessary conditions of arthood, because certain intrinsic his response is not a hypothetical one, that Kafka qualities of objects indeed suffice to make them artworks, did, in reality, have "art-intentat many points prior regardless of the intentional context or purposive back- to, during, and perhaps even after the period of ground of the object. Case in point: Kafka'snovels.7 composition." But Levinson is merely supposing, or
  • 3. Discussion 159 hypothesizing,that Kafka did have such art-intent. Thus, in supposing-not observing or noting-that This is questionablefor three reasons. First, there is Kafka had art-intentprior to, during, or after The Kafka's expressed wish that The Trial not be re- Trial,Levinson makes hypotheticalresponses to an garded by anyone in any way whatsoever. Any actual example. Third, how is one to evaluate the extrapolation from this fact will be hypothetical. purportedintent-claimsand intent-denials artists of Second, it is not clear how art-intent-in this or any who, like Kafka, are often deeply confused, un- other case-can be observed. This is a flaw in clear, or unawareof what their intentionsare, much Levinson's theory, for it suggests we can never less of whetherthey even have any?12 The problems know, with any certainty,whethersomething is art. raised for Levinson are whether-and how-we can We would have to know the "true" intent of the know artists' intentions, and whether-and how- creator which, usually, is merely implied, rarely the artists themselvescan know theirown intentions. stated, and often ambiguous. Levinson might claim Moreover, Levinson over-states his case. The that his phrase, "it can be observed" is meant only presenceof Kafka'sart-intentis not "undoubtable." rhetorically, and means something like "I note One can picture Kafka workingout his neuroses on that." But what could Levinson be "noting"? paper and then Brod later stealthily retrieving the Kafka'sdiaries suggest he often wrote not with the pages from Kafka'swastepaper basket. (Brodadmits intent of producing something to be regarded in a to having taken, more than once, Kafka'sdiscarded way that pre-existing literature was regarded. scribbling and later publishing them!) And even if Rather, he wrote with the intent of giving himself we merely supposed that Kafka lacked any art in- peace of mind from an existential terror, an tent-that is, even if the example were merely hypo- objectless dread, an angst, that by Kafka's own thetical, which it is not-it would be enough to accountmust havebeen excruciating: throw Levinson'sformulaintojeopardy. Indeed, Levinson recognizes that we already re- a bullet would be the best solution. I shall simply shoot gard The Trialas greatart: "these writingsof Kafka myself and vacatethis spot where I fail to exist.9 which, fortunately, have survived ... clearly are literaryart, and of a very high order." Findingout 13 His writing often seems prompted by exorcism- that Kafkaneverintendedit to be so regardedwould intending,not art-intending: move few-if any-of us to cease regarding it as such. Perhaps Levinson would claim that, if it turned out that Kafka had no art intent whatsoever, Each of us has his own way of emerging from the we should recognize that the reason we were moved underworld,mine is by writing. That'swhy the only way I to (falsely) regardThe Trialas art was because it had can keep going, if at all, is by writing ... I am far more been presented to us (falsely) within a particular likely to achieve peace of mind through writing than the historical and purposive context, and that had we capacity to write throughpeace.'0 known that Kafka neverintended The Trialto be so regarded,we would not have regardedit as art. But And Gustav Janouch wrote down the following con- Levinson would probablynot wish to avail himself versation he had with Kafka: of the counterexample way. By his own criteria, this Levinson'stheory achievesits force on two grounds: "I havebeen reading'The Judgment. "extensionaladequacyand insight into the natureof "Did you like it?" art today," that is, by covering obvious classical "Like it? The book is horrifying!" examples-paintings, novels, poetry, music-and "Youare perfectly right." more recent forms such as Conceptualart, Minimal "I should like to know how you came to write it. The art, and Performanceart. 14 If it turns out that his dedication, For F., is certainly not merely formal. Surely theory fails to include a paradigmof "literaryart, you wantedthe book to say somethingto someone. I should and of a very high order," it would, on his own like to know the context." criteria of success, be deeply suspect. Levinson F.K. smiled, embarrassed. must addressthe issue by telling us what to do with LJanouch:] am being impertinent.Forgiveme." "I The Trial if we find that Kafka had no art intent "You mustn't apologize. One reads in order to ask whatsoever. questions. 'The Judgment'is the ghost of a night." Levinson'ssecond response comes no closer than "Whatdo you mean?" the first to addressingthe difficulty with his theory: "It is a ghost," he repeated, with a hard look into the distance. it could be questioned whether the direction to burn the "Andyet you wrote it." manuscriptsis absolutely inconsistentwith the persistence "Thatis merely the verification,and so the complete exor- of art-intenton Kafka'spart. Kafkamay havebeen deeply cism, of the ghost." ' conflicted, harboringcontradictoryintentionsor wishes,
  • 4. 160 The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism in which a need for communicationvied with an anxious exhibited qualities, recognized by observers when perfectionism.Or else he may have intentionallyprojected they identify the object as art, exist as intrinsic his workfor certainideal readers... but believing them not exhibitedqualitiesof the objectindependently the of to exist among his likely readers,and not likely to exist in artist's intent. By adding the qualification, "poten- nearfuture, was resignedto having the workconsigned to tial" literary value, Levinson tries to avoid the the flames. 15 implicationthat he is inadvertentlyadmittingwhat his theory will not allow. It is as if we are to regard This fails as a response for reasons already dis- the literary value of The Trialas only "potential" cussed. By second-guessing Kafka'sstates of mind until someone's intent is introduced.But this is not and then inventing elaborateways Kafka may have how the value of The Trialwould be regarded.No had art-intent, Levinson alters the example to suit one would say, "What I am reading is potentially his theory. Suppose Tom believes, "Causing harm quite disturbing,potentiallyquite funny,potentially intentionallyis a necessary conditionfor an actionto quite evocative, etc., in a profoundway. PerhapsI be morally wrong." We provide Tom with the fol- can take it to the appropriateaesthetic authorities lowing example: Joe, driving home drunk, fell and together we can decide to allow ourselves, and asleep at the wheel of his car and ran over a child. others, to become actually disturbed, actually Tom responds: "Well, suppose Joe secretly wanted amused, etc., by it." Potentiallyfunnythingsdo not to kill the child all along!" Of course intendingto make us laugh, actual ones do. In the example of cause harm is no counterexampleto the principle, The Trial it is too late for potential effects. The "intentionalwrong-doing is a necessary condition actual effect has alreadytranspired.It is not there- of an action being wrong." Of course if Kafkahad a fore a potential effect but an actual one. hidden art-intenthe would not be a counterexample Thus Levinson's last response fails, for three to Levinson's theory which takes art-intent as a reasons. First, it puts the cart before the horse. If it necessaryconditionof arthood.Butthese are the not is art-intent that makes something art, and the the problemsposed. One cannot dismiss a counter- creatorof the objectdid not haveart-intent,then the example by hypothesizingthat it is not an actual object is not art until art-intent happens, some- counter-example. where, sometime, (in this modified example) in the Levinson's third response comes closest to ad- mind of an audience. But why in the Kafkaexample dressingthe difficulties: should art-intenthappenin the mind of an audience toward an object that-when they first apprehend we might choose to view the case as one of those it-is, by Levinson'sdefinition, not art?Isn't on his anomalousones where, owing to the exceptionalpotential view the audience simply mistaken?For on Levin- literaryvalue at stake, we recognize thatthe communityof son's (modified) view, an object is not art until readers and critics can in effect justifiably appropriate someone's art intent makes it so. Once the art- certain texts and project them for literary regard, thus intending happens there may be justification in overruling, unusually, a creator'sconsidered intent. The regardingthe object as art. But when and how does text becomes literature,as it were, "willy-nilly."16 this intending happen? If by accident, arthood is arbitrary.If by reason, what kind of reason? The The idea is that if Kafkaactuallyhad no art intentat only reason Levinson allows is that of art-intent. all in writing The Trial its audience could, if so Such a reason, however, is not availableuntil after moved, choose to make The Trialart. Facedwith the the fact. dilemma of either dismissing his theory as unsatis- Second, in evokingthe pejorativephrase, "willy- factory or dismissing The Trialas non-art, Levin- nilly," the question of whetherit is the creator'sor son-correctly-does not take the latteroption. He the observer'sstate of mind that mattersis begged. seeks to avoid the first horn of the dilemma by Why does the power of an observerto bestow the offering a thirdchoice. Takingthe Kafkacounterex- statusof arthoodupon a particularobject make that ample case as an anomalysaves his theory by allow- object's statusas art "willy-nilly?"We are asked to ing, in certain cases, the intent of an audience to assume that when such power resides in the creator regard a particularobject as a work of art "in the the art status of the created object is not "willy- way preexisting artworks are or were correctly nilly." But if in one case, why not the other?Indeed, regarded" as a sort of substitute for the creator's taking into account the often eccentric nature of original (lack of ) art-intent. many artists, do we even wantto give them proprie- In takingthis option, however,Levinson seems to tary rights over their pieces? The well known self- admit that some objects can have qualities which, doubts, self-deprecations, and self-deceptions of regardlessof their creator'sintent, make those ob- many great artists should give us pause.17 Further- jects art. The phrase "owing to the exceptional more, Levinson'sown example, thatof Jaspersask- potentialliterary value" implies that some intrinsic ing us to attendto a pile of wood shavings scattered
  • 5. Discussion 161 about the floor, a green index card tacked on the The Trialwhich-based on its internal relations and wall, and the fact that Montgomery is the capital of independentlyof the judgments of any or all observ- Alabama-a set of things Jaspers calls "John"-is ers-is art of the very highest caliber, they would be about as willy-nilly a way of something being art as blinding themselves aesthetically to what is true and one can imagine. To evoke the phrase, "willy-nilly," absolute as only the greatest art can express, and as in the case of someone declaring The Trial to be a The Trialso greatly expresses. great novel, but not in the case of Jaspersdeclaring In the final section of his paper, Levinson boldly John to be art, begs the question of where the power states, to make something art lies. Is it with the creator or the observer or neither? Indeed, the fact that Levin- If a would-be artmaker will not himself acknowledge son must accept John as art, as Jaspersdeclares it to having the sort of intentI posit-that is, if we ask him point be, could be taken as a weakness of Levinson's blank whether his object is intended, at least initially, to be theory. regarded in some way past art was, and he denies it, nor Third, Levinson's response fails because it cov- admits of any other intended regardthat we can identify to ertly acknowledges that which Levinson explicitly be in the class of past art regards-and if we can see no wishes to deny: namely, that certain objects, due to grounds for attributingsuch intent on his behalf, then my their intrinsic exhibited properties, and completely account says what he is doing cannot be art. 19 independentlyof their creator's intent, are artworks solely because they evoke an appropriate response Here Levinson comes close to addressing the prob- in an audience. That is, in some cases, it is indeed lem head-on. He admits the (problematic) conclu- the artist's effect that matters, not its cause: sion forced upon him by the Kafka counterexample. If Kafka were to arrive in Levinson's office today for the literary community itself to so override a creator's and declare that The Trial is not intended to be sincere disavowal of literary-intentI suggest it would have regarded as art-or, indeed, as anything whatso- to at least be the case that the text was (a) inordinately ever-Levinson would claim that, if no literarycom- valuable as literature, (b) unsuited to other employment, munity were preparedto overrule or usurp Kafka's and (c) something we could scarcely help taking as prerogative, The Trialis not art. I would claim that literature.Kafka'spossibly ill-intended (though luckily not Levinson is seriously mistaken. By responding to ill-fated) texts do certainly meet these conditions. 18 what in this case matters least-Kafka's intent- rather than to what matters most-the intrinsic What makes The Trial "inordinately valuable as exhibited qualities of The Trial-Levinson allows literature," something "we could scarcely help tak- his theory about what art might be to blind him to the ing as literature?" Certainly not Kafka's (lack of) experience of what is, beyond a doubt, art.20 art-intent, for we are supposing that The Trial was written without any. It must be something else. But DANIEL KOLAK what?It is, as Levinson admits, our being effected in The William PatersonCollege of New Jersey a striking and irresistible way by an object whose qualities profoundly provoke, befuddle, bemuse, etc. This amazing aesthetic power, it seems, lies not in the mind of the creator, nor in the eyes of the 1. I base my locution on Maurice Mandelbaum, who beholder, nor in the officiating power of institutions designates as "exhibited" those perceptible qualities that, but, rather,in the intrinsic exhibited qualities of the for instance, a particularpainting may have in virtue of its havinga triangular ratherthan, say, a circular,composition, object itself. In reacting to intrinsic exhibited qual- or its being red ratherthanblue; or thata piece of music has ities in this way Levinson thus (unintentionally) in virtue of its havinga staccatorather than, say, continuous, acknowledges that art intent is not a necessary or smoothand fluid, structure,or its havingorchestralrather condition of art. than perhaps a chamber or quartet form, and so on. See Suppose the Nazis won World War Two and the Maurice Mandelbaum,"Family Resemblancesand Gener- world today was a unified Nazi state whose people alizations Concerning the Arts," American Philosophical unanimously regarded The Trial (still written with- Quarterly 2 (1965): 219-228, reprinted in Problems in out art-intent)as having no literary value. It is used Aesthetics, 2d ed., ed. Morris Weitz (London: Macmillan, as an example of nonsensical ravings produced by 1970), pp. 181-197. 2. RaymondMartinand I have arguedthat what matters Jewish mental illness, to be taken as a work of primarilyin identity,even in the case of persons, is not the depravedlunacy barely above the howling of a sick cause butthe effect; see Daniel KolakandRaymondMartin, animal. Three billion Nazis can, and in this case "Personal Identity and Causality: Becoming Unglued," would be, wrong. For by failing to notice, due to AmericanPhilosophical Quarterly24 (1987): 339-347. their collective errors of judgment and lack of in- 3. Jerrold Levinson, "Refining Art Historically," The sight, the profound intrinsic exhibited qualities of Journalof Aestheticsand Art Criticism47 (1989): 21-33.
  • 6. 162 The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism 4. For the original statementof Levinson's position, see 13. Levinson, "RefiningArt Historically,"p. 29. JerroldLevinson, "DefiningArt Historically,"BritishJour- 14. Ibid., p. 21. nal of Aesthetics 19 (1979): 232-250. 15. Ibid., pp. 29-30. 5. See, for instance, George Dickie, "Whatis Art?: An 16. Ibid., p. 30. InstitutionalAnalysis," in ed. W.E. Kennick, Art and Phi- 17. Indeed, thereis a strongbody of literature throws that losophy, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), into doubt whether our most fundamental beliefs about pp. 82-94; Timothy Bartel, "Appreciation and Dickie's ourselves-our motives, our desires, our intentions-are Definition of Art," BritishJournalof Aesthetics 19 (1979): true, or even, if we have just one self, or many (possibly 44-52; George Dickie, The Art Circle (New York:Haven, disagreeing) selves, or no selves at all. See, for instance, 1985), and Jerrold Levinson's review of The Art Circle in Daniel Kolak and RaymondMartin, eds., Self And Identity Philosophical Review96 (1987): 141-146; also, for a view (New York:Macmillan, 1990). Fora literaryexplorationof similarto Levinson's see Noel Carroll, "Art, Practice, and this theme, see Milan Kundera's shortstory, "TheHitchhik- Narrative,"TheMonist 71 (April 1988): 140-156. ing Game," in LaughableLoves, trans. SuzanneRappaport 6. JerroldLevinson, "Refining Art Historically,"p. 21. (New York: Knopf, 1974), pp. 65-87; reprinted in The 7. Ibid., p. 29. Experienceof Philosophy,eds. Daniel Kolak and Raymond 8. Ibid. Martin(Belmont:Wadsworth,1990), pp. 116-127. 9. Nahum N. Glatzer, ed., I Am a Memory Come Alive: 18. Levinson, "RefiningArt Historically,"p. 30. Autobiographical Writingsby Franz Kafka (New York: 19. Ibid., p. 30. SchockenBooks, 1974), p. 175. 20. I deliveredan earlierversionof this paperat the New 10. Ibid., pp. 110-111. Jersey Regional PhilosophicalAssociation Meeting at Rut- 11. Ibid., p. 53. gers Universityon November18, 1989. I thankall those who 12. Many artistshaveclaimed thattheirgreatestandmost participated, especially Shaun Nichols, Peter Kivy, John meaningful works are created without intention. For a dis- O'Connor,JohnPeterman,andVictorTejera.JerroldLevin- cussion of how and why objects created as ends in them- son and RaymondMartinread an early rough draft and, as selves might be more meaningful than objects created with usual, gave me superb and helpful advice. Also, thanksto the intentionthatthey be put to some use, see "Meaning"in Donald W. Crawford and Eileen Palmer for their many Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin, WisdomWithoutAn- helpful editing suggestions. swers (Belmont:Wadsworth,1989), pp. 80-90.