The conscious utterance of thought, by speech or action, to any end, is art.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

What is Art?

    The 20th Century seems to have redefined what we consider art, starting with the expressionists who saw art not as what was seen but what was felt, and finishing with the post modernist who saw art in anything, even cans of Campbell's soup.

Campbells Soups
Andy Warhol Campbells's Soup Cans

    One definition of art I like considers it primarily as a visual medium that is used to express ideas about our human experience and the world around us.

Magritte Pipe

    In this sense of art, philosophy does express ideas about our human experience and the world around us, either by exposing them or by analysing them. To do that, philosophy uses many tools, such as folktales, dialogs, dissertations, jokes, cartoons, plays, paintings, and many others. Philosophy also uses many others tools to arrive at discerning the essence of our human experience and of the world around us, such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, even sciences like geology and zoology.

    Another usage of the word art that applies to my definition of philosophy is art as skill, and more precisely refined skill. In this sense of the word, the art of thinking refers to the skill of thinking more clearly, of making mental connections (in and out of the box), of analysing more precisely, and of presenting more clearly.

    From those 2 definitions, philosophy is the art of of clearly exposing and analysing the human condition and the world around us and then presenting them clearly in a form that will induce understanding and further thinking.


Last modified July 20, 2011