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Art Cognitivism: Why a Liberal State Should Fund Art

Hume, Jack Alexander; (2022) Art Cognitivism: Why a Liberal State Should Fund Art. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Government funding of the arts has been a common feature of liberal democracies in the post-war era, but it has rarely escaped controversy. Some liberal political philosophers have argued that public arts funding is suspect, because it gives privileged support to some conceptions of the good, namely, those in which art is considered essential (Rawls 1999), or at least certain genres of it, such as Christian art (Brighouse 1995). Another criticism, common in public debate (but less explored in political philosophy) states that arts institutions are unacceptably elitist, in that they pander to niche aesthetic tastes or perpetuate an elite social caste. This work aims to clarify these objections – (1) Neutrality, and (2) Elitism – and to develop and defend new approach to defending the public funding of the arts which overcomes them in a manner which other justifications do not. I argue that the best way to justify government funding of the arts is by appealing to cognitive benefits which arise from living in a society with a government-funded arts sector. These are benefits of self-understanding, empathy and imagination, and the ability to be better understood by others. The first two chapters motivate and clarify the Neutrality and Elitism objections. The third chapter introduces a framework for assessing possible justifications for government funding of the arts against these objections. I argue that Nussbaum’s (1997) defence of the civic value of art alerts us to particularly promising strategy, on which public arts funding makes significant contributions to our shared tools for interpreting experiences, cultural histories, and worldviews, inter alia. The final chapter is given to developing and defending this view, which I call Art Cognitivism.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Art Cognitivism: Why a Liberal State Should Fund Art
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147816
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