Worldmaking as Art Form

By James DiGiovanna.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper I propose that the category of “worldmaking” be considered as an art activity with its own set of evaluative criteria. Drawing from theories about the
force and meaning of fictional sentences, the paper attempts to find a way in which the truth conditions of these sentences serve, in part, to establish aesthetic qualities of certain artworks. Using some of Nelson Goodman’s criteria for rightness of scheme, and such categories as richness, connectedness, and distinctness from the lived world, the paper finds a place for a genre that includes William Blake’s later poems, the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, the paintings of Henry Darger, and the works of other such artists who, I propose, are better understood as makers of worlds than as poets, novelists or painters. Further, the category of worldmaking and its aesthetic criteria will be seen to be applicable to other forms including computer simulations, fictional histories, comic books and imaginary landscapes.

Keywords: World-Making, Art Forms, William Blake, Nelson Goodman, Fictions, Truth-value of Fictional Sentences, Creation

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.115-122. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 537.277KB).

Dr. James DiGiovanna

Adjunct Associate Professor, Philosophy, University at Stony Brook, Brooklyn, New York, USA

James DiGiovanna teaches at John Jay College and at Stony Brook’s Master’s Program in Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, where his work focuses on themes of self-creation and the intersection of aesthetics and ethics. He is also an award-winning film reviewer and filmmaker, and author of a number of published short stories.


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