Philosophy Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Source

Dance Research Journal


Graham McFee is one of the few philosophers who can be credited with helping to pioneer and forge a path for dance as a fine art in the field of analytic aesthetics. His 1992 book, Understanding Dance, following Francis Sparshott’s 1988 book Off the Ground: First Steps to a Philosophical Consideration of the Dance, was a significant introductory step toward situating dance in a field that has traditionally focused primarily and nearly exclusively on painting, sculpture, literature, and (more recently) music.

In general dance has not been taken seriously as a legitimate art form by the philosophic academy; indeed, it was originally excluded from Hegel’s system of the fine arts (see Sparshott 1983). Analytic aesthetics has yet to fully recover from this historical exclusion.

The articles and books on dance in the field have been sporadic, often ad hoc, and dance has yet to attract enough scholars of analytic aesthetics to sustain a robust dialogue on what counts (or should count) as the key features of dance as art.



Document Version



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Cambridge University Press





Place of Publication

New York, NY

Link to published version