What is Philosophy of Art? (What is Aesthetics?)

What is Philosophy of Art? (What is Aesthetics?)

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

The philosophy of art is a branch of philosophy that deals with the works (artworks) created by human beings, questions what art is, and examines the artist’s activity. Art, in its most general sense, is an effort to realize what the artist wants to convey, by “giving form”. The philosophy of art has emerged by examining art from a philosophical point of view.

Philosophy of art asks some questions about the essence and meaning of works or tastes and seeks answers in his own way. The most important of these questions are:

What is beautiful?
What is pleasant?
Is there a common aesthetic judgment in everyone’s mind?

Philosophy answers these questions, which it asks as a requirement of its own essence, as a requirement of its own essence, and each answer contains another question within itself. If the beautiful thing is, according to whom is it so and why is it beautiful? Good, good for what? What is pleasant is pleasant for whom? Can common aesthetic judgments lead us to a precise definition of what is the most beautiful, the best, and the most pleasing?


Some of the information revealed by archaeological and anthropological studies show that human beings have produced artistic products since the early ages. Are the hunting drawings made on the cave walls a kind of education, the first products of the art of painting, or are they different results achieved for another purpose? Although all these questions are open to interpretation, they may be an indication that artistic activities have continued since the past.

Art is in the subject area of ​​philosophy of art with all its aspects.

Art has been in a similar classification with science and technique for a long time. However, art has a meaning beyond the mastery that enables the change of objects, as in technique, and the purpose of knowing the consciousness, which tries to understand the existence, as in the sciences. Art requires, on the one hand, a technical skill and on the other hand, recognizing the assets. A painter must have technical skill in using the painting brush, as well as knowledge of colors. However, creativity and imagination are essential for the artist to create his work.

Art generally requires three elements to be considered together:

artistic product,
Receiver (listening, reading, watching, etc.).

Artist; He creates his work with a specific technique by synthesizing the processes of mind, sense and emotion. This creation; it is not to create from nothing, but to transform existing materials into new forms. Colors, sounds, words, etc. transforms into new forms with the touch of the artist. This new form is a work of art. Artwork; They are objects that the artist embodies his feelings and thoughts and opens to the sensory field. The buyer, on the other hand, turns to the artistic product with the criteria of taste. Although the buyer is a consumer against the artistic product, it has effects in the presentation of the artistic product. Recipients are the artist’s “others”.

Although the tastes of art lovers are not considered as a stand-alone criterion, they constitute an important factor that motivates artistic production. Different perceptions of art have revealed different art theories:

The reflective theory, which claims that art carries the existing and life directly to art;
Expressionist theory, which sees art as an activity in which feelings and thoughts are transferred;
The formalist theory, which states that colors and geometric shapes create an abstract expression;
Functionalist theory that argues that art is the result of a social need.
Art and Craft Relationship

Art and craft are two activities that can be admired as a result. For this reason, it has sometimes been used synonymously in history. This is also true today. Important elements that distinguish art from craft; art is created for tastes rather than a practical benefit, even if imitations or similar ones are put forward, it is unique and original. Different types of art are gathered under the title of fine arts with these distinctions.

It is also necessary to distinguish between art and craft in terms of the works he produces. While products based on utility are revealed in craft, products based on artistic (aesthetic) concern rather than utility are revealed in art. So; Products made to provide a certain benefit and financial income are craft products.

In order for a work of art to gain aesthetic value, there must be aesthetic subjects who enjoy and appreciate that object without considering any interests.


Art, in its most general sense, is an effort to realize what the artist wants to convey, by “giving form”. The philosophy of art has emerged by examining art in terms of philosophy.

Common features between art and philosophy are:

Like philosophy, art is a human activity.
Both philosophy and art; It deals with nature and human existence.
Both do not necessarily have a specific method to follow.
The propositions of both are strictly unverifiable, that is, they cannot be factually verified. A work of art cannot be true or false in its structure.
The products born from both arouse a pleasure in people.

art and philosophy