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Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Dachshund » October 2nd, 2018, 12:35 am

Burning ghost wrote:
September 30th, 2018, 2:09 am
Hereandnow -

Everyone understands “beauty”.
That is debatable BG. I have seen many young men covered in tattoos of things like bugs, skulls, spiders, demons, snakes, knives, guns , tombstones and other grotesque/loathsome images of "morbid" phenomena. I can only assume that these men believe tattooing themselves like this constitutes a genuine form of artistic expression that possesses real aesthetic merit? But impression created is certainly neither "beautiful" nor "sublime"; rather the observer is shocked by what is nothing more than an example of appalling bad taste; mere ugly disfigurement.

I have also see some young women heavily tattooed with with feminine "objets d'art" like: brightly coloured: rainbows, gemstones, angels, cherubs, lady - bugs, butterflies, pixies, doves, clowns, dragonflies with iridescent coloured wings, ballerinas, peacock feathers; large arabesque floral/vine designs, detailed drawings of pet puppies/kittens/rabbits; astrological, magical, alchemical symbols and mythical creatures (like unicorns or a Pegasus) rendered in intricate baroque, rococo or gothic design styles and so on. These young women presumably think that they have beautified themselves with these tattoos but the overall effect is not beauty; what one beholds is garish, gaudy, gauche, tacky and KITSCH in the extreme - the very antithesis of "good taste"

So you see, BG, some people do not have a sound understanding of what genuine beauty is, they are aesthetically challenged and simply lack any modicum of "good taste".



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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » October 2nd, 2018, 5:00 am

I think some of you misunderstood what I meant by “everyone knows what beauty is”

I wasn’t talking about definitions. I was simply saying that if I say something is beautiful you either agree or disagree. We don’t tend to ask “What do you mean?”

Consul -

I am somewhat obsessed with that site. I tend to use it as a dictionary - funnily enough “kalos” is one term I’ve had a long fascination with.

Sausage Dog -

Yes, we all have different tastes. You may find tattoos disgusting or repulsive whilst others find them beatuiful (due to the canvas they’re on). The same can be said for music, paintings or other artistic media. It is precisely this disagreement that I am saying opens people up to understanding subtle differences, tastes and such. Like H&N says when we learn about the ways we can look at a piece of art our appreciation can grow. If we know what to look for we don’t then tend to see all tattoos as terrible or badwe don’t hear all death metal as streams of noise without any talent or qualitative distinction.

Because of this I am saying there is a beginning of a way to move into less logical fields and strecth rational argumentation. Unlike basic arithmetic there is the possibility of “opinion” about how to provide answers and express ourselves. A pure logical approach to debating is anti-intellectual in the sense that it draws out the question as being one to which an empirical answer is always justified (eg. Should stupid people be made into slaves? We can have an opinion about this, even avoid the question by toying with definitions, but we can never conclude a “truth” as we can with 1+1=2)

H&N -
The fact that such an education is possible, that one who has examined a painting and sought out its beauty can successfully present in language what she has discovered, reveals that there is something truly objective about taste, which really means that we all have the requisite constitution for apprehending art in the same way, not at all unlike talking about good food, music, and so on. If we can talk about it and find agreement, objective standards are present.
Yes. Our tastes can and do shift through time. You may hate Jazz and your friend may be obsessed with it. Overtime you’ll find yourself asking why they think it is good and what the hell they see in it. If they’re able to express some minute part of their taste to you then you’ll be furnished with a new appreciation of the musical style and it may even grow on you.

In debates we have two views under inspection. We bring political, epistemic, ontological, ethical or any number of items into a debate. When it comes to debating “good” and “bad’ art the field is much more open and abailable to all. Literally everyone I have ever met has a strongopinion about a song, painting, movie or poem. In the Critique of Art what is liked is liked. A person’s taste is always “true” and always plastic to some degree or another.

As an example Sausage Dog may insist that someone has a poor tattoo and go and tell them so. They would, most likely, say they have it because they like it not don’t like it. Their tastes may change in the future and they may look at the tattoo and say “what was I thinking?”, and they may not.

Note: If I was rich enough and had the time I’d most likely be covered from head to toe in in patterns and pictures (but I’d only go for henna because I know my moods and tastes are prone to shift over time.) I’m going to ask my cousin why he has tattoos (he is covered from neck to ankle literally.)
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » October 2nd, 2018, 8:48 am

But note how utterly such a definition as "the science of sensual cognition" fails to even begin to account for anything aesthetic, for it is neither the scientific method in use (explicitly, that is, understanding the science is pervasive throughout judgment itself) nor explicitly cognition that determines an application of taste in appreciation (though again with the same proviso above). Certainly the term "sensual" applies (though not all art is sensual: a thought, and idea can be art) but then, not all sensual apprehensions are aesthetic (though they certainly can be if taken as art). Indeed, the science of sensual cognition sounds like what Kant says about empirical knowledge in a critique of empirical science.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Consul » October 2nd, 2018, 11:19 am

Hereandnow wrote:
October 2nd, 2018, 8:48 am
But note how utterly such a definition as "the science of sensual cognition" fails to even begin to account for anything aesthetic, for it is neither the scientific method in use (explicitly, that is, understanding the science is pervasive throughout judgment itself) nor explicitly cognition that determines an application of taste in appreciation (though again with the same proviso above). Certainly the term "sensual" applies (though not all art is sensual: a thought, and idea can be art) but then, not all sensual apprehensions are aesthetic (though they certainly can be if taken as art). Indeed, the science of sensual cognition sounds like what Kant says about empirical knowledge in a critique of empirical science.
Of course, "aesthetics" isn't used now in its original sense, because we don't use it to refer to the psychology or phenomenology of sensory cognition/perception (even though the latter is involved in the perception of works of art).

"Aesthetics is that branch of philosophy which deals with the arts, and with other situations that involve aesthetic experience and aesthetic value. Thus only part of aesthetics is the philosophy of art. The rest, which might be termed the philosophy of the aesthetic, centres on the nature of aesthetic responses and judgements."

(Oxford Companion to Philosophy. 2nd ed. Edited by Ted Honderich. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. p. 14)

"Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy devoted to conceptual and theoretical inquiry into art and aesthetic experience.

One may usefully think of the field of philosophical aesthetics as having three foci, through each of which it might be adequately conceived. One focus involves a certain kind of practice or activity or object—the practice of art, or the activities of making and appreciating art, or those manifold objects that are works of art. A second focus involves a certain kind of property, feature, or aspect of things—namely, one that is aesthetic, such as beauty or grace or dynamism. And a third focus involves a certain kind of attitude, perception, or experience—one that, once again, could be labelled aesthetic.

Not surprisingly, there are intimate relations among these three conceptions. For example, art might be conceived as a practice in which persons aim to make objects that possess valuable aesthetic properties, or that are apt to give subjects valuable aesthetic experiences. Or aesthetic properties might be conceived as those prominently possessed by works of art, or those on which aesthetic experience is centrally directed. Or aesthetic experience might be conceived as the sort of experience that figures centrally in the appreciation of works of art or the aesthetic properties of things, whether natural or man-made.

The question of which of these three foci is the most fundamental, and in particular whether it is the idea of art or the idea of the aesthetic that is conceptually prior, has been much debated (…). In any event, the three conceptions can claim to be naturally related in that art, in its creative and receptive dimensions, plausibly provides the richest and most varied arena for the manifesting of aesthetic properties and the having of aesthetic experiences. There is also no denying that contemporary analytic aesthetics is in very large measure the philosophy of art, even if the analysis of aesthetic phenomena outside of or apart from art is by no means neglected.

What might seem to be major concerns of aesthetics that do not immediately fall under one or another of the three conceptions are, first, the aesthetics of nature; second, the theory of criticism; and third, the nature of craft. But on closer inspection, the first of these can be seen to fall comfortably under the second or third conception noted above, and the second and third of these, under the first conception noted above.

The aesthetics of nature can be understood to concern itself either with certain distinctive properties of natural phenomena that can be classified as aesthetic, e.g. beauty, sublimity, grandeur, or profusion, or with certain kinds of experience distinctively provoked by nature, or certain kinds of attitudes appropriately brought to nature. The theory of criticism can be understood as a study of part of the practice of art: that part concerned with the reception of artworks, including their description, interpretation, and evaluation. And craft can be readily conceived as art-related or quasi-artistic activity."


(Levinson, Jerrold. "Philosophical Aesthetics: An Overview." In The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, edited by Jerrold Levinson, 3-24. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. pp. 3-4)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » October 2nd, 2018, 11:38 am

Great post Consul. Thanks for taking the time.

I hope you understand that I am outlining this part specifically:
What might seem to be major concerns of aesthetics that do not immediately fall under one or another of the three conceptions are, first, the aesthetics of nature; second, the theory of criticism; and third, the nature of craft. But on closer inspection, the first of these can be seen to fall comfortably under the second or third conception noted above, and the second and third of these, under the first conception noted above.

The aesthetics of nature can be understood to concern itself either with certain distinctive properties of natural phenomena that can be classified as aesthetic, e.g. beauty, sublimity, grandeur, or profusion, or with certain kinds of experience distinctively provoked by nature, or certain kinds of attitudes appropriately brought to nature. The theory of criticism can be understood as a study of part of the practice of art: that part concerned with the reception of artworks, including their description, interpretation, and evaluation. And craft can be readily conceived as art-related or quasi-artistic activity."
I guess what I am really saying is that in art, perhaps more than anywhere else, your opinion matters above all. What you experience as being “aesthetically pleasing” is not up for despute, but certainly open for investigation!
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Consul » October 2nd, 2018, 1:36 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
October 2nd, 2018, 11:38 am
I guess what I am really saying is that in art, perhaps more than anywhere else, your opinion matters above all. What you experience as being “aesthetically pleasing” is not up for despute, but certainly open for investigation!
As the saying goes: De gustibus non est disputandum. (There is no disputing about taste.)

Well, if this means that there isn't any rationally discussable, explicable and justifiable distinction between good taste and bad taste, and between good art and bad art, I don't subscribe to it. Of course, when you say "I find this work of art aesthetically pleasing/good/valuable", that's an indisputable psychological fact about you. It would certainly be absurd if I replied "No, you don't!". However, as soon as you assert that this work of art IS aesthetically good or valuable, or beautiful, the philosophical discussion starts, because such an aesthetic judgment of yours is actually disputable.

Whether aesthetic judgments are (epistemically) objective or subjective generally depends on whether there are aesthetic facts and aesthetic properties/qualities as objective or intrinsic or natural properties/qualities of the objects of aesthetic judgments.

"A definition or analysis of aesthetic properties may best be approached by first listing those properties and types of properties that are typically thought to be aesthetic when ascribed to works of art:

1. pure value properties: being beautiful, sublime, ugly;

2. formal qualities: being balanced, tightly knit, graceful;

3. emotion properties: being sad, joyful, angry;

4. behavioral properties: being bouncy, daring, sluggish;

5. evocative qualities: being powerful, boring, amusing;

6. representational qualities: being true-to-life, distorted, realistic;

7. second-order perceptual properties: being vivid or pure (said of colors or tones);

8. historically related properties: being original, bold, derivative."


("Aesthetic properties," by Alan H. Goldman. In A Companion to Aesthetics, 2nd ed., edited by Stephen Davies, Kathleen Marie Higgins, Robert Hopkins, Robert Stecker, and David E. Cooper, 124-128. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. pp. 124-5)
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » October 2nd, 2018, 2:24 pm

Consul -
Well, if this means that there isn't any rationally discussable, explicable and justifiable distinction between good taste and bad taste, and between good art and bad art, I don't subscribe to it. Of course, when you say "I find this work of art aesthetically pleasing/good/valuable", that's an indisputable psychological fact about you. It would certainly be absurd if I replied "No, you don't!". However, as soon as you assert that this work of art IS aesthetically good or valuable, or beautiful, the philosophical discussion starts, because such an aesthetic judgment of yours is actually disputable.
Exactly. I am not claiming anything extraordinary here. Just laying the ground for something else: which I can hopefully get to sooner rather than later.

What pleases me is what pleases me. Of course my “aesthetic judgement” is up for dispute. This is why I am saying that the “Critique of Art” is good for a “Platform for Debate”.

To quote my own OP:
The point being that in art, more than any other medium, critique and critical appreciation rule the stage. People can openly argue endlessly about all manner of “good” art and “bad” art. Here it is that we truly hone our ability to persuade others, to open others to new rewarding perspectives, and to argue our corner with complete honesty. Taste is not something we can deny another adn coming to understand their tastes to some degree is perhaps the first step toward rational thought.
I wasn’t expecting anyone to disagree but thought it better to lay out this thought as best I could to make sure there wasn’t something utterly stupid about it I’d missed. It seems I haven’t so I’ll move this on to the next stage.

Thanks for the input everyone.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Greta » October 2nd, 2018, 5:10 pm

Have any of you been involved in the arts and spoken from experience?

Artists simply don't think the way some of you assume. Most are much more anarchic and less planned. I wonder how many artists listed and clarified the properties they wanted in their next creation and then methodically worked towards it?

BG, if people are not addressing your posts the way you'd like, it means you are presenting them with whopping great tracts of text without anything to tell a reader where the most important aspects lie. So with, an apparent lack of priority and clarity provided by the OP, others respond in kind.

Still, in a way the lack of values and standards suggested in the thread was proved somewhat. In a thread about science, if a scientist spoke then that would be respected as an important contribution to the discussion. Yet in a thread about the arts the most disregarded post, and the one post that directly addressed the OP, is the one from an actual artist.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » October 3rd, 2018, 2:47 am

Greta -

I’m sorry you feel this way. I made it clear enough that I wasn’t talking about the process of the artist producing art, I was talking about people offering critique and expressing their tastes and how this happens in everyday life giving a good base from which to partake in rational debate - because it is one area where feeling and opinion take presidence over logical thought, thus allowing argumentation to be taken up by anyone.
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Greta » October 3rd, 2018, 5:36 am

Sorry BG. I misinterpreted. I've been grumpy today so I apologise for the pointless grandstand. Still, I reckon these long posts need headings or something to indicate where the key points lie. Reading much text on a screen is more difficult than reading hardcopy.

Still, back to the discussion, a person who creates things receives feedback and gains a fair idea what people like and don't like. In a sense you are right that taste is largely nobody else's business but that's not the whole story. There are objective standards in art, though. It is not just opinion.

One cannot claim that the product of pop idols are in any way equivalent to that of, say, Miles Davis, even if they are more popular. Miles made the objectively superior art. Why? Because he meant it; the music was authentic expression, not an act of second guessing what others might like. Authenticity is key.

Art is something that is consumed. As with food, is it healthy? Does it make a person feel better or worse in the short term, in the medium term? Does it have lasting value or is it a "sugar hit"? Note that, as with unhealthy food and naughty humans, a little bad art can be uplifting in moderation.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Burning ghost » October 3rd, 2018, 5:57 am

Greta -

No need to apologise. It is a subject matter of high passions and it is for that very reason that I ws tryong to outline its use in honing critical thought, analysis and the beginnings of rational discourse.

I am trying my best to bring together several different thoughts over several threads. Here, and elsewhere, I am exploring elements of a roughly formed idea so as to make sure the ground I am working on is firm enough to make some more bold propositions.

Btw, I agree. There is an “objective” standard to art - pretty sure I was arguing about this in the other thread when I brought up “harmony” and basic geometry. Meaning things like musical scales are not up for debate ... I am tempted to go further and say more about the field of pure mathematics and how it is a deeply creative field, but I’ll come to that later (probably MUCH later.)
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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » October 3rd, 2018, 9:56 am

Consul:
One may usefully think of the field of philosophical aesthetics as having three foci, through each of which it might be adequately conceived. One focus involves a certain kind of practice or activity or object—the practice of art, or the activities of making and appreciating art, or those manifold objects that are works of art. A second focus involves a certain kind of property, feature, or aspect of things—namely, one that is aesthetic, such as beauty or grace or dynamism. And a third focus involves a certain kind of attitude, perception, or experience—one that, once again, could be labelled aesthetic.
Not surprisingly, there are intimate relations among these three conceptions. For example, art might be conceived as a practice in which persons aim to make objects that possess valuable aesthetic properties, or that are apt to give subjects valuable aesthetic experiences. Or aesthetic properties might be conceived as those prominently possessed by works of art, or those on which aesthetic experience is centrally directed. Or aesthetic experience might be conceived as the sort of experience that figures centrally in the appreciation of works of art or the aesthetic properties of things, whether natural or man-made.

The question of which of these three foci is the most fundamental, and in particular whether it is the idea of art or the idea of the aesthetic that is conceptually prior, has been much debated (…). In any event, the three conceptions can claim to be naturally related in that art, in its creative and receptive dimensions, plausibly provides the richest and most varied arena for the manifesting of aesthetic properties and the having of aesthetic experiences. There is also no denying that contemporary analytic aesthetics is in very large measure the philosophy of art, even if the analysis of aesthetic phenomena outside of or apart from art is by no means neglected.
Interesting that this 3 foci amount to a deeper analysis of a very standard definition of art: Formalism. Formalism says that art is significant form, and significant form is identified by the aesthetic rapture it evokes. This is likely more "fundamental." Consider: formalism assumes the focus 1, the practice, the physical medium (though it is confusing that you include "appreciating art" in your description since this goes to focus 3); art is the taking up of a medium for a practical purpose. Second, focus 2, the "property or feature" that is "aesthetic, such as beauty"--this is clearly aligned with form, significant form, and the way it is put here is equally value (and properly so! Pinning down exactly WHAT this property is would instantly run into counterexamples). The third focus is on the perceiver's ability to produce a response that "could be labeled aesthetic". I.e., aesthetic rapture. It's all here, this is formalism.

I think I am a formalist, though 'form' is such a sticky wicket, as is aesthetic rapture. After all, these are exactly what is at the core of the issue, what these things have to be in order for their presence to be called art. This sentence has form, no doubt. Is it art? I say it can be, but it depends on if you look at is AS art. But what does that mean? Look at it apophatically: It is not reason as such, not pragmatics as such, that is, understanding the logic or the purpose as such, but it can include these: reason qua reason can be a beautiful thing as can the, say, algorithmic structure a problem solved (Dewey thought something like this). So, what is art as such?

Form that elicits aesthetic rapture, and these are experiential terms that are, as all things, very much in play.

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Re: Critique of Art - Platform for Debate

Post by Hereandnow » October 3rd, 2018, 10:31 am

Consul:
Of course, when you say "I find this work of art aesthetically pleasing/good/valuable", that's an indisputable psychological fact about you. It would certainly be absurd if I replied "No, you don't!"
It just occurs to me: this indispustable psychological fact, IS IT? After all, judgments of any kind are public interpretations, that is, they issue originally from a body of cultural thoughts and feelings that impart taste to the aesthete. This latter may SAY this is pleasing and good, but these are interpretative terms subject to a public standard of taste.

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