Ready-mades: Ontology and aesthetics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

I explore the interrelations between the ontological and aesthetic issues raised by ready-mades such as Duchamp's Fountain. I outline a hylomorphic metaphysics which has two central features. First, hylomorphically complex objects have matter to which they are not identical. Secondly, when such objects are artefacts (including artworks), it is essential to them that they are the products of creative work on their matter. Against this background, I suggest that ready-mades are of aesthetic interest because they pose a dilemma. Is there really an object, a sculpture, that is distinct from its matter, a urinal, which object is created merely by the artist's choice of the urinal? Or are we dealing with a case in which an artist passes off something, a urinal, as if it were a sculpture, even though it is not one?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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