Dr Daniel Patrick Wilson

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Graduate Teaching Assistant


  • Graduate Teaching Assistant,
  • PhD Student

Department: Department of Philosophy

Research | Current


The aim of my doctoral thesis is to defend two related definitions: first, for “art” in a broad sense (that may identify those objects that may be considered art in small-scale non-Western communities) and secondly, for “Art” of Western fine art status. My approach involves showing how both uses of the art term are reliant on the notion of artistic value. To avoid the charge of circularity, I will provide a detailed account of what it is that circumscribes artistic value from other forms of value.

I will argue that the broad notion of “art” is directly based on the notion of artistic value. Defining an object by reference to a particular kind of value that it is intended to provide is frequently referred to as a functional definition in analytic aesthetics.

Additionally, I intend to show how the notion of Western high art (“Art” with a capital a) is best defined using an institutional definition, but that the art-relevant institutions exist to foster artistic value. The argumentative strategy involves showing that items marked for attention in an art world are intended to possess certain kinds of artistic value, and this is the primary value expected of these objects. The origins of the institutions of the modern fine arts can be tracked historically to cultural developments in 18th century Europe.

This project is important for two main reasons: first, art criticism and the evaluation of artworks are central to everyday interaction with art, so the investigation into what constitutes artistic value and the production of a framework for artistic value will importantly inform these matters. Secondly, this research may answer questions about definitions of art that arise in legal court cases and in public debates.


Areas of expertise

Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wilson, D. P. (2013). 'The Key to the Critique of Taste': Interpreting §9 of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Parrhesia: a journal of critical philosophy (18), 125-138.