The Philosophy Resource

Teaching resources for philosophy students and teachers

Art in the curricula

This section concerns the nature and value of art.

AQA GCE A Level Specification

‘The value of art’ is one of the themes covered in Unit 2 PHIL2 An Introduction to Philosophy 2. The curriculum specifies that the following is an issue which can be covered:

‘We value art because it informs us:

  • Good art should illuminate our experience, reveal ‘truths’, articulate a ‘vision’, be epiphanic, portray authentically or at least imitate or represent its subject convincingly or faithfully.
  • How is art supposed to stand for reality? Are all arts equally concerned with representing? What could we mean by ‘truth’ in art? Even if art informs us, is that why we value it as art? Is art especially informative?’

This section of The Philosophy Resource explicitly addresses this issue in a way that (a) is comprehensible and easy to follow and (b) will stretch students’ and teachers’ understanding on these matters.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Theme 1:Philosophy of Art
This figures as an optional theme in both the Higher Level syllabus and the Standard Level syllabus. The material in this section of The Philosophy Resource is directly relevant to the following topics suggested as topics for study in ‘Philosophy of Art’ in the IB syllabus:

  • ‘The artist as a reflector of existing values or as an agent of change’;
  • ‘Accountability: to oneself, to a cause, to moral, political or social ends’;
  • ‘Is art a means to an end or an end in itself?’;
  • ‘The artistic process as imitation, transformation, creation’;
  • ‘The artistic process as a means of expression, communication, education, propaganda, indoctrination’.