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'Getting Acquainted With Art' by Matt Duncan and Hannah Nahas
Getting Acquainted with Art
By Matt Duncan and Hannah Nahas
We learn from art. By viewing, hearing, touching, creating, performing, and in yet other ways interacting with art, we gain new knowledge—knowledge that we wouldn’t have had, and perhaps couldn’t have had, without encountering that art. That’s obvious. But what is less obvious is the nature, or structure, of this knowledge—what constitutes it. A standard assumption in contemporary analytic philosophy is that all knowledge is and must be propositional—that is, constituted by beliefs in propositions. However, this assumption, despite being standard, has come under attack in recent years. One front in this attack comes from aesthetics and philosophy of art, where some philosophers have claimed that some knowledge gained from art is non-propositional. In this paper we will fortify and expand this front by giving new reasons to think that some knowledge from art is indeed non-propositional and is instead “knowledge of things,” which is constituted, not by beliefs in propositions, but by awareness of properties and objects. We will also fill a gap in the contemporary literature by giving an account of this knowledge—of its nature, structure, and relation to other knowledge.