This exceptional new collection comprises 13 new essays on the nature and definability of art. Presenting a wide offering of contemporary philosophical perspectives--including theoretical, historical, cross-cultural, and evolutionary--Art and Essence offers thorough critical discussion on the extensive contemporary philosophical literature on the subject. The work here contrasts the idea of theorizing about why we make and consume art with that of defining it; furthermore, the authors consider the possibility that art has no definable essence and discusses differences and connections between art and nature. More historical chapters focus on ancient and medieval approaches to art, while others discuss the work of philosophers such as Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche. Non-Western cultures cultivated their own, distinctive art practices and philosophies, as discussed in chapters on India and Japan, and contemporary philosophers have added their own unique perspectives. The authors are among the leading philosophers on the subjects they cover, making Art and Essence an invaluable tool for scholars of a wide variety of fields.