Dominic McIver Lopes articulates and defends a 'buck passing theory of art', namely that a work of art is nothing but a work in one of the arts. Having traced philosophical interest in theories of art to a reaction to certain puzzle cases of avant-garde art, he argues that none of the theories that have dominated philosophy since the 1960s adequately copes with these works. Whereas these theories have reached a dialectical impasse wherein they reiterate, and cannot
resolve, disagreement over the puzzle cases, the buck passing theory illuminates the radical provocations of avant-garde art. In addition, when supplemented by a systematic framework for crafting theories of the individual arts, the buck passing theory grounds our empirical inquiries into the arts as
well as our practices of appreciation and art criticism. Lopes seeks to model the diverse strategies employed by humanists and social and behavioural scientists who study the different arts. He gives the specificity of each art form a central role in our appreciative endeavours, and yet he stresses the continuity of the arts with similar, non-art activities such as fashion design, sports and games, cuisine, nature appreciation, and non-literary writing.
Dominic McIver Lopes is Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia, and President of the American Society for Aesthetics. He is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Aesthetics and author of Understanding Pictures, Sight and Sensibility: Evaluating Pictures, and A Philosophy of Computer Art, as well as articles in Critical Inquiry, the Journal of Philosophy, Mind, the Philosophical Quarterly, and numerous other journals. His current project is a book entitled Four Arts of Photography.
Introduction ; 1. Beyond Theories of Art ; 2. After the Beginning of Art ; 3. Passing the Buck on Art ; 4. Art in Culture ; 5. The Myth of Artistic Value ; 6. Beyond Bricolage ; 7. Appreciative Kinds and Media ; 8. Appreciative Practices ; 9. Aesthetic Appreciation ; 10. Much Ado about Art ; Afterword ; References ; Index