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Contribution to Book
Joseph Margolis
The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics
  • Aili W. Bresnahan, University of Dayton
Document Type
Encyclopedia Entry
Publication Date

Margolis’s methodology is best located in the pragmatic tradition, broadly construed. His pragmatism lies in his commitment to understanding the world as part of collective and consensual human practice and situated interaction; his embracing of the changing nature of history and science; and his approach to human knowledge as constructed.

In particular this pragmatic bent is evidenced by his affinity for Charles Sanders Peirce’s semeiotics, by which thought shows us the real world through the interpretation of signs and symbols, the existence of mind legitimated as “objective” and “real.” Margolis also uses Peirce’s theory of predicative generals (as constructed but existent place-holders that focus discourse) in place of universals (as metaphysically fixed and existent types) as a way to discuss the discursive and indeterminate natures of what he considers to be inherently interpretable and significant properties of cultural artifacts (to be described more fully as Intentional properties of artworks).

Document Version

The document available for download is the author’s accepted manuscript, provided in compliance with the publisher’s policy on self-archiving.

Some differences may exist between the manuscript and the published version; as such, researchers wishing to quote directly from this resource are advised to consult the version of record.

Permission documentation is on file.

Oxford University Press
Place of Publication
New York, NY
Citation Information
Aili W. Bresnahan. "Joseph Margolis" 2ndThe Encyclopedia of Aesthetics Vol. 4 (2014)
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