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Abstract

‘Artification’ is a term recently coined and developed in Finnish aesthetic theory and proposed by Ossi Naukkarinen in this volume as the process of treating non-art objects as art. In this paper, I distinguish between a superficial sort of artification and a deep sort. The superficial sort is the one we need to worry about. In Part I, I consider various issues surrounding the definition of artification. In the process, I situate artification within the larger question of aestheticization. I understand aestheticization in terms of recent psychological work on supernormal stimuli and Virginia Postrel’s defense of style and surface in the commercial world. I conclude the first part with remarks on how the debate goes back to Plato’s rejection of arts in the Republic. Part II addresses the issues of artification and aestheticization within aquariums. I argue against scientific cognitivism and in favor of aesthetic pluralism in relation to appreciating natural environments. This pluralism allows for valuing artification and aestheticization, and hence for aquarium displays that show marine animals alongside works of art. However, I reject the shallow form of artification that can be found in the kitsch products sold in aquarium museum stores. I conclude with a reflection on ideals of artification and the role of the professional philosopher of art and aesthetics in contemporary life.

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