Beliefs about Experiencing and Destroying Art

Jessecae MarshLehigh University
Darren HickTexas Tech University

Abstract

Based in current debates in aesthetics, we examined whether people’s beliefs match philosophers’ arguments that an original painting or carved sculpture possesses a privileged nature when compared with originals in other types of art. We tested whether participants believe the destruction of an original art piece has different consequences on the ability to experience that piece if the art is visual, literary, or musical (Experiment 1). In Experiment 2 we explored how different forms of destruction varied whether people believe an art piece still exists and the perceived quality of an experience with the piece. In summary, we demonstrated that people have a more lax view of how art can be experienced than is assumed by most philosophers, but share an intuition that the original form of a work of visual art has a unique nature.

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