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Defining Art, A Dialogue in Letters (Vol. 2)

The Muse Dialogue launches its second season with a dialogue on defining art. How do we define art? Do we need to define it at all? To address these questions we are venturing on a new format for TMD, a dialogue in letters. Andrew Swensen and Alexandra Holness take up the question, and we hope you enjoy following along.

Letter I: The Journey Begins

Andrew opens the dialogue with a plea for why we need to define art, along with all the complex notions in the human experience.

Letter II: Alex Responds

Alex contemplates the ineffable nature of art. We rightly regard art as special and precious.

Letter III: Enter Heidegger

Andrew discusses the function of art as a “thing.” Even if we can not always put our hands on it, art still exists as something distinct from all other experiences.

Letter IV: Defining Art as a Personal Privilege

Alex argues that defining art ultimately falls to the receiver, as a privilege of their experience of the art work.

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