Higher Education

The Nature of Art: An Anthology, 3rd Edition

  • Thomas E. Wartenberg Mount Holyoke College
  • ISBN-10: 1111186529  |  ISBN-13: 9781111186524
  • 368 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2007, 2002
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $128.25
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THE NATURE OF ART is a collection of thirty-one seminal, historically organized readings that are focused on a basic philosophical question: What is Art? Including writings from the Western tradition--both Continental and Analytic traditions as well as non-Western, minority, and feminist writings--this volume provides students with a rich set of resources to explore the subject broadly and deeply. Introductions to each reading situate the selection amidst each respective thinker's body of work and the greater philosophical context in which the remarks arose. Reading questions accompany each selection, drawing students' attention to key points to be encountered. Hailed by reviewers and adopters for its clarity and rigor, Wartenberg's THE NATURE OF ART offers a lively and engaging introduction to the philosophy of art.

Features and Benefits

  • Assembles thirty-one readings addressing the major philosophical discussions of art’s nature from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day.
  • The anthology opens with an introduction by the editor which addresses the question of "What Makes 'Art' Such a Problematic Concept?" This introduction explores this question using, among other devices, excerpts from Yasmina Reza's play ART.
  • Selections are included from both the Analytic and Continental traditions not only for breadth of coverage but also to encourage cross-fertilization between the two approaches.
  • Each reading is supplemented with clear introductions from the editor and reading questions designed to aid students in understanding these sometimes abstract ideas.
  • Brief biographical notes for each author appear at the back of the anthology.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition.
Introduction: What Makes "Art" such a Problematic Concept?
1. Art as Imitation: Plato.
2. Art as Cognition: Aristotle.
3. Art as Object of Taste: David Hume.
4. Art as Communicable Pleasure: Immanuel Kant.
5. Art as Revelation: Arthur Schopenhauer.
6. Art as the Ideal: G. W. F. Hegel.
7. Art as Redemption: Friedrich Nietzsche.
8. Art as Communication of Feeling: Leo N. Tolstoy.
9. Art as Symptom: Sigmund Freud.
10. Art as Significant Form: Clive Bell.
11. Art as Expression: R. G. Collingwood.
12. Art as Experience: John Dewey.
13. Art as Truth: Martin Heidegger.
14. Art as Auratic: Walter Benjamin.
15. Art as Indefinable: Morris Weitz.
16. Art as Symbolic Form: Suzanne K. Langer.
17. Art as Exemplification: Nelson Goodman.
18. Art as Industry: Theodor W. Adorno.
19. Art as Theory: Arthur Danto.
20. Art as Institution: George Dickie.
21. Art as Epistemology: Michel Foucault.
22. Art as Aesthetic Production: Monroe C. Beardsley.
23. Art as Practice: Nöel Carroll.
24. Art as Make-Believe: Kendall Walton.
25. Art as Deconstructable: Jacques Derrida.
26. Art as Feminism: Carolyn Korsmeyer.
27. Art as Cultural Production: Pierre Bourdieu.
28. Art as Simulation: Jean Baudrillard.
29. Art as Postcolonial: Kwame Anthony Appiah.
30. Art as a Cluster Concept: Berys Gaut.
31. Art as the Arts: Dominic McIver Lopes.
About the Authors.
Credits List.

What's New

  • The following chapters have been added in this edition. In each case, there is an introduction, the selection from the philosopher, and study questions: ART AS SYMBOLIC FORM: SUZANNE K. LANGER; ART AS EPISTEMOLOGY: MICHEL FOUCAULT; ART AS PRACTICE: NÖEL CARROLL; ART AS SIMULATION: JEAN BAUDRILLARD; ART AS A CLUSTER CONCEPT: BERYS GAUT; ART AS THE ARTS: DOMINIC MCIVER LOPES.
  • The selection by Martin Heidegger, Art as Truth, has also been pared down to make it more accessible to beginning students.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"Thomas Wartenberg's THE NATURE OF ART is easily the most student-friendly introduction to the philosophy of art available today." -- Dwayne A. Tunstall, Grand Valley State University

— Dwayne A. Tunstall

"The best available short anthology of historically and conceptually diverse approaches to aesthetics." -- David K. Johnson, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

— David K. Johnson

"A good, well-selected and well-edited collection of what needs-to-be-known by anyone studying the philosophy or history of art." -- Charles W. Harvey, University of Central Arkansas

— Charles W. Harvey

"Very accessible and surprisingly comprehensive." -- John Gibson, University of Louisville

— John Gibson

"Wartenberg's volume is a fantastic resource that covers the broad range of views that define philosophy of art. It is an excellent text for any introductory course that plans to cover both analytic and continental philosophy of art." -- William Seeley, Bates College

— William Seeley

"I think the book is excellent. It has first rate introductions to each reading, and the readings are a good length for discussion." -- Mark McLeod-Harrison, George Fox University

— Mark McLeod-Harrison

"This book provides an excellent introductory survey of the history of aesthetic theory which contextualizes contemporary issues in aesthetics today." -- Scott Davidson, Oklahoma City University

— Scott Davidson

"A compendium of important thought about the nature and value of art." -- Rick Davis, George Mason University

— Rick Davis

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Thomas E. Wartenberg

Thomas E. Wartenberg is a professor of philosophy at Mount Holyoke College, where he also teaches in the film studies program. He has published eleven books and anthologies including THINKING ON SCREEN: FILM AS PHILOSOPHY (Routledge), EXISTENTIALISM: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE (Oneworld), and BIG IDEAS FOR LITTLE KIDS: TEACHING PHILOSOPHY THROUGH CHILDREN'S LITERATURE (Rowman and Littlefield). He is the film editor for PHILOSOPHY NOW. He has had a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Senior Fulbright Research Fellowship, and a Leverhulme Trust Lectureship.