Allow me to make my contribution to Craig's original discourse. This issue, of course, can be approached from different perspectives, normative, ethical, or else, each with its own persuasive force. I enjoyed the different perspectives the members have brought to this discussion so far. Let me see if I can add to them.
Viewed from one perspective, art is a medium of expressing the human experiences, which are of infinite range. For instance, human desires, emotions, ambitions, and et cetera. Viewed from another perspective, art is about possibilities (derived from Latin word posse, "to be able"; hence, "capable of happening"). In this narrow sense, art, in its totality, is significative, amongst other things, of life's polarities, ironies, and paradoxes of human thoughts and actions. An ideal of artistic expression, since the time of German Romanticism which swept across Europe in 18th and 19th centuries, is to experience every side of polarities, never to become rigid or static, never to become confined, the prisoner of any one mode of thought or way of life, but always to be in pursuit of the infinite. Goethe's Faust proclaimed, "Insofar as I am static, I am enslaved." It was the Romantic yearning for every experience, for infinity, that led Faust to sell his soul to the devil.
§2. Art and Tradition
Art creates, it does not just copy. The great German Romantic composer Ludwig van Beethoven understood that to create new music, the old laws had to be broken or modified. So he did, courageously. For years, many considered his music unusual, improper, deviant, ignoble, or even morally distasteful. However, today, the maestro's music is considered one of the indispensable pillars of the classical repertoire. According to philosopher Walter Kaufmann:
"The great artist does not stick to any established code; yet his work is not lawless but has structure and form. Beethoven did not conform to the rules of Haydn or Mozart; yet his symphonies have form throughout. Their form and law Beethoven created with them [namely, the legacies of Hayden and Mozart]. To create involves going 'beyond. . .'."
Art creates; tradition preserves. The tension between art and tradition has alway been there, often giving birth to change. Both Haydn and Mozart also experienced this tension in their own times. Both had to break or modify some rules, set by their predecessors, in order to gain immortality. As another example, consider the High Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The man, who sculpted "David", respected and copied ancient Greek and Roman statues, yet he set out to better them within their own traditions. It takes venturesome and valorous individuals to challenge the standards of their time and to go beyond, what Friedrich Nietzsche called, "good and evil". The history of art is abound with paradigm-shifters such as Michelangelo, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven who changed the standards of their times.
If making Neapolitan pizza is considered an art and tradition, then one needs to somehow deal with the tension between the two.
It is a given that change or flux is an all-pervading, omnipresent fact of the natural world and history of mankind. In my opinion, the history of Neapolitan pizza, as I understand it, has not been immune to the flux. As I comprehend the history of pizzas of Naples (which is reflected in my own blog), what we call "Neapolitan pizza" today—is an aftermath of a long evolutionary process. The pre-modern pizzas of Naples (i.e., prior to the advent of modernity in 1600s) have very little in common with the modern pizzas of Naples in early 1700s and onward. As discussed in my blog, each description of pizzas provided by Bartolomeo Scappi (1500s), Giambattista Basile (1600s), Vincinzo Corrado (1700s), Alexander Dumas (1800s), Francesco de Bourcard (1800s), and Raffaele Esposito (1800s) varies from one another, sometimes substantially and sometimes insubstantially. Given the past history of pizzas of Naples, there may not be any guarantee that what will be deemed as Neapolitan pizza a century from now will conform to the standards of today.
§4. The People
According to Antonio Pace, "Neapolitan pizza has no inventors, no fathers, no masters, but is the fruit of the creativity of the Neapolitan people." Yes, the people! But, “people” is a tricky concept. It definitely does not imply a single individual. It may not convey a process of establishing consensus among the people either. Perhaps, this is where a crucial role of artists becomes essential: to creatively bring to conscious awareness the spirit of a people, their aspirations, their creative potentials, their existential possibilities.