HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 15 no. 2 (2014)


Lok Chong Hoe

Discipline: Philosophy, Social Science



A conference held in Manchester University in 2007 and a subsequent book containing papers presented therein (entitled Aesthetics and radical politics) attempt to legitimize certain radical political activities as art, that is, by conferring the status of art on these protest activities. In arguing that these works would probably fail to be accepted by the artworld, I have resorted to some form of essentialism, i.e., they will likely fail because they were never intended (by their organizers) as art activities, and the activities themselves do not appear to have an aesthetic function, and the spectators do not expect to see an art performance when they encounter one of these protests. But the failure (or potential failure) of these activities to be accepted as art has broader implications, for it reveals that one of the most influential versions of the institutional theory of art (George Dickie’s) has failed to describe the sufficient conditions of art.