In 1917, Marcel Duchamp turned a urinal upside down, renamed it “Fountain” and exhibited it as a piece of
How can these objects be called
However, these are mere opinions. My statement that Rauschenberg’s telegram is not a portrait carries no more authority than his statement that it is. To go beyond this, it’s necessary to develop a rigorous definition of what
While the talent and skill of the cave painters might have been questioned, that they were engaged in the same activity as contemporary painters like (for example) the Pre-Raphaelites was not.
This demonstrates the universality of
The idea that an unmade bed or a pickled shark can be a piece of
Our rational minds are built on top of more primitive, animal layers, which operate through emotion and instinct.
By doing this,
Picasso’s Guernica encapsulates a sense of horror, revulsion, chaos, aggression and turmoil that we all instinctively recognise. The historical context of the painting and the personal circumstances of its creation amplify and help place these emotions, but they are not necessary to experience the disorder and violence encoded in the piece. Picasso has taken historical events and his own personal experiences of them, and created something that embodies a universal aspect of the human.
In many cases, it is not necessary to have any contextual information at all. A musician takes his personal experiences and uses them to write a song: about love, betrayal, redemption, tragedy, etc. Millions of people might hear that song and relate it to events in their own lives; it may exactly describe their situation and help them deal with their problems.
The personal experiences of the musician who wrote it are not only irrelevant, they actually detract from this process. They would change the song from being about a universal experience and pin it down to some trivial details of someone whose life the audience knows little about and cannot relate to.
An important consequence of this process – maybe even the function of it – is that the audience gains a sense of catharsis. The message is that you are not alone. Billions of human beings have experienced what you are experiencing, and understand.
The twentieth century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein demonstrated that we cannot give any definition of a word which does not presuppose our ability to use it. The meaning of a word is determined not by its definition but by the context in which it is used; the meaning is contextual, not discrete.
Consider a word like “fire,” which can be used in reference to the actual substance fire, as an exclamation to warn of a spreading fire, to refer to a fireplace in a house which may or may not contain the actual substance fire, as a command (“fire that cannon”), or as an abstract verb (“you’re fired”). The meaning of the word at any particular time depends not on an atomic definition but on the context in which the word is used.
In fact, the only way in which we can convey any definitive meaning of the word fire is through example, as we have done above, or through a comparison with other words which are already able to use; for example, if we say that the word can be used as a noun, we understand this because we are familiar with other nouns. In turn, we understand the concept of a noun because we are familiar with how nouns are used. Although we can provide a definition, the definition follows our understanding of the meaning – it does not provide our understanding.
As an explanation, Wittgenstein discusses the word “game”. We cannot formulate a description which serves to define the class, because any definition will exclude things which we do consider games or include things which are not games. For example, if we say games are characterised by competition, then we exclude games like solitaire from our definition. If we say that games are characterised by physical activity then we exclude games like chess. If we say that games are characterised by play, then we include many playful activities which are not games and exclude games like poker which are not particularly playful.
There is no characteristic or set of characteristics common to all games by which we can define the class. However, just because we cannot give a solid definition of “game” does not mean that we don’t understand what the word means – we do not need a definition of the word in order to understand its meaning. We are familiar with enough games that we can determine which things do and don’t constitute games, based on their similarity or dissimilarity to one another. Wittgenstein termed this concept “family resemblance”.
Wittgenstein’s concept of family resemblance can be applied to the question of whether conceptual
My functional definitions of what constitutes
The fact that
It’s difficult to conclude that the conceptual “
Source by Dan Haycock