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Illuminating History by Lily Díaz, 25.IX.2000

painting, which is a unique object that is usually shown in a gallery or museum.3 7

XXX(Need conclusion, and to tie with next section. Should talk about the audience, the public and the user.)


In seeking to define what differentiates art objects from other artefacts, Danto proposes that art, is "a logically open set of things that share no common feature in

order to be a member of the set."3 9

In this sense, art works can be seen as a class of

objects sharing so-called family resemblances. That is, members of a set so constituted may resemble one another in various ways, and there need not be a single collection of properties shared by all members.40Furthermore, there are no fixed boundaries in the category of art works. This class can, and is extended, so as to include new artefacts, as the need arises.

While category schemes resulting from traditional methods based on formal logic have, at least in principle, clear boundaries and common properties, categories assembled from family-resemblances take into account the activity as a whole. In this way, what defines the category is a structured understanding of the activity as it unfolds.41That cognition can follow these patterns has been demonstrated empirically through experiments with perceived similarities between representative and non- representative members of categories. Cognitive reference points, and prototypes have been identified as category members that have special cognitive status-- that of being a

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37. Benjamin, W. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", Illuminations, Fontana Press, 1992. This seminal essay treats the subject of how duplication affects the existence and essence of the work of art. 38. In using these terms, the author is indebted to video artist and computer programmer, Terry Mohre. Mohre coined these terms for his panel on "Expressive

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held at the

40. Lakoff, G., Women, Fire and Dangerous Things, p. 16. XXX(Get info on citation.) 41. Lakoff, Women, Fire and Dangerous Things, p. 21.