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Provocation in Philosophy and Art

Egonsson, Dan LU (2015) In The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts 10(3). p.27-35
Abstract
Provocation is an integral part of Socrates’ philosophical method. Does provocation have a similar methodological function in art? My tentative answer is no. In the Socratic method, provocation is used both on an individual level to force a person to think better (preferably in ethical matters) and on a general level in order to keep a society awake. A society should never rest but “be stirred into life.” Philosophy is a teleological practice with truth or enlightenment as its telos. Art has no well-defined telos, the place and use of provocation in art is therefore debatable. But for art to be something rather than anything, I argue that a provocative work of art has to provide for the aesthetic qualities of how the provocation is... (More)
Provocation is an integral part of Socrates’ philosophical method. Does provocation have a similar methodological function in art? My tentative answer is no. In the Socratic method, provocation is used both on an individual level to force a person to think better (preferably in ethical matters) and on a general level in order to keep a society awake. A society should never rest but “be stirred into life.” Philosophy is a teleological practice with truth or enlightenment as its telos. Art has no well-defined telos, the place and use of provocation in art is therefore debatable. But for art to be something rather than anything, I argue that a provocative work of art has to provide for the aesthetic qualities of how the provocation is performed. Provocation without instrumental qualities is atypical in philosophy, whereas provocation without intrinsic qualities is atypical in art. Using this as a normative guide, we may claim that instrumental success is more important than intrinsic success in philosophy and that the opposite holds for art, as far as provocation is concerned. I conclude by commenting on two Swedish examples of provocation in art from this perspective. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Provocation, Socratic Method, Art
in
The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts
volume
10
issue
3
pages
27 - 35
publisher
Common Ground
ISSN
2326-9960
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8b2466a8-57d2-45fe-9dc7-4389bd142086 (old id 5276864)
date added to LUP
2015-04-22 09:03:57
date last changed
2016-04-15 23:49:16
@article{8b2466a8-57d2-45fe-9dc7-4389bd142086,
  abstract     = {Provocation is an integral part of Socrates’ philosophical method. Does provocation have a similar methodological function in art? My tentative answer is no. In the Socratic method, provocation is used both on an individual level to force a person to think better (preferably in ethical matters) and on a general level in order to keep a society awake. A society should never rest but “be stirred into life.” Philosophy is a teleological practice with truth or enlightenment as its telos. Art has no well-defined telos, the place and use of provocation in art is therefore debatable. But for art to be something rather than anything, I argue that a provocative work of art has to provide for the aesthetic qualities of how the provocation is performed. Provocation without instrumental qualities is atypical in philosophy, whereas provocation without intrinsic qualities is atypical in art. Using this as a normative guide, we may claim that instrumental success is more important than intrinsic success in philosophy and that the opposite holds for art, as far as provocation is concerned. I conclude by commenting on two Swedish examples of provocation in art from this perspective.},
  author       = {Egonsson, Dan},
  issn         = {2326-9960},
  keyword      = {Provocation,Socratic Method,Art},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {27--35},
  publisher    = {Common Ground},
  series       = {The International Journal of Social, Political, and Community Agendas in the Arts},
  title        = {Provocation in Philosophy and Art},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2015},
}