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The arts now gather under that very general heading all those practices designated ‘expressive’ or, sometimes, ‘imaginative’, and conventionally include painting, sculpture, music (composition and performance), drama (ditto), all forms of written literature (poetry, novels and so forth), and dance. To this traditional list there has been added, over the past century, photography, film, computer graphics (at a pinch) and, in some arguments, sport, chess and even card games.

To make arguments about the intrinsic nature of art (as opposed to the catch-all title, ‘the arts’) an insistence on definition is usually a sterile exercise. What has been called (by Herbert Hart) ‘the definitional stop’ is rarely as satisfactory a move in demonstrating what art really is as pointing to examples and saying ‘there it ...

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