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Read the paragraph below and write a discussion about it. At least 200 words.

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Weitz, like Ludwig Wittgenstein, was on a mission to rid philosophy of theories, and by theory he meant the search for “necessary and sufficient” conditions for the application of concepts. The games business is the key to understanding Weitz, but I would caution you against reading his claims too “subjectively.” While it is correct to say that Weitz doesn’t think there can be a single definition of art because the various things we call “art” share only family resemblances (the way that checkers, baseball, solitaire, and hide-and-seek have some things in common but not others), and because standards (as you note well) change over time, it’s important to note that for Weitz (as for Wittgenstein before him) what determines what counts as art is something he refers to as a “language game.” Something is art if the community of competent language users say that it is. In short, for Weitz, something is art if “we” say that it is (then the interesting question is who “We” are). But since no one participates in a language game all alone, what counts as art can’t be a matter for individual judgment. We may not be able to define it, but it is “we” who determine what will count and what won’t. Theory can’t give us a definition in this regard, but it can be very useful in offering us suggestions about the kinds of things that we may think are important features of art. You could put it all this way: I can’t define “game,” but I know that checkers is a game and brain surgery is not, and not because that’s just my opinion, but because of how “we” use those words and concepts. Similarly, I can’t define “art,” but I know that the Mona Lisa is art, and the Stop Sign on the street corner is not. That’s the general idea, at any rate. For Weitz, then, aesthetics should be concerned with the question “What is our concept of art?” and NOT the question “What is the nature of art?” He writes: “’Art’ itself is an open concept…the very expansive, adventurous character of art, its ever-present changes and novel creations, makes it logically impossible to ensure any set of defining properties” (413).


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