Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Philosophy

Date of Defense

4-21-2010

Graduate Advisor

Stephanie A. Ross

Committee

Mark Rollins

Gualtiero Piccinini

Abstract

Hypothetical intentionalism splits artistic intentions into two types: semantic intentions—which are concerned with the meaning of an artwork—and categorial intentions—which are concerned with how an artwork should be classified. Categorial intentions are a necessary condition for properly interpreting an artwork; without them, an artwork can have an infinite number of interpretations. Jerrold Levinson argues that categorial intentions are extrinsic to the artwork while Mark Rollins argues that microintentions—small scale representations that are intrinsic to paintings and other visual forms of art—are intrinsic to the artwork and sufficient to determine the artwork’s category. I argue against Rollins by showing that microintentions only narrow the number of categorial intentions but do not sufficiently classify an artwork. Conventions and contextual knowledge are required to accomplish that task.

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