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So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
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So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 7th, 2016, 9:47 am

In an attempt to stay with this thread longer than the "Not Art" original poster, I will aspire to be more focused upon alleged distinctions of art versus science. Seeing posters determine there is no art for art's sake and the good part of art is not so apparent (up to this point, at least, of "For Art's Sake" & "What is Good Art" threads), the distinction of art and science may lend itself to the distinction between "subjectivity/objectivity." From there I would too likely ask: What is the difference then between subjectivity and objectivity?

I am thinking conventional thinking may follow with all too much concentration upon clouded conventional definitions, semantic analysis, etc...

[With the philosophy of the arts having the fewest views on this forum, perhaps some controversy can help generate interest and clarity among > 30,000 members, with the more "artistic" members contributing here.]

My understanding is the earlier formal roots of western philosophy did not make the distinction of art and science, that the craft concept of tekne (techne) was as much scientific as artistic. Our conventions appeared to bastardize the concept (as we tend to do most with the most powerful ideas). In the conventional processing, we appear to have lost the forest through the trees. I understand the idea of that which is good is ultimately seemingly mind boggling. I do think the ancients simplified it with uncanny precision. I have failed to generate interest in eudaimonia study in another post. I have since tried to recruit interest in all other philosophy areas on this forum.

I am thinking the seeming dualism of art/science is reflected in much of what we do. Maybe this is related to the apparent right/left hemispheres of the human brain and how we best cope with understanding (e.g. life/death, mind/body, male/female, micro/macro, equal/unequal, black/white, symbolic logic/sock puppets, etc). Regardless, I argue the distinctions are less than typically appreciated, and although the distinctions are often academic, the reflection is important.

In the case of art, it appears it is only good in as much as it is a science. The concept of what is good appears entirely too grand to tackle without parsing. It seems we have tried to break what is good down into art and science. Art, in turn, is broken down into fine art, expressive, etc. Science is broken down into social, physical, etc. These are continually broken down into further "disciplines." I am arguing we lose something when we fractionate without reflection. Most notable is a loss in much appreciation of what is actually good, that which is scientific as much as it is artistic.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Jutfrank » February 7th, 2016, 2:35 pm

It's hard to see what you think the relationship between art and science is/was.

What are you saying they are?
What are you saying they have in common? Why are you juxtaposing them?
How are you saying they differ?

Sorry, I haven't read the other threads - could you possibly summarise?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 7th, 2016, 6:31 pm

I am attempting to argue both art and science are an appreciation of that which is good. Each is only good in as much it can accomplish such understanding. I place them together much like one's brain is thought to have a similar bifurcation, yet is the composition of one brain nevertheless.

I understand this is a big assertion, rather abstract, & could take a great deal of unpacking. I have tried to do just that throughout the forum, but will try to further clarify/challenge it here.

I am further suggesting all books (even sacred texts), movies, poems, research, songs, etc are some form of techne aimed at philosophy. As most posters tend to lean toward a scientific convention, I posted this challenge to both "art" and "science" here because it appears those attached to the scientific conventions struggle with the creativity for which the artistic convention appears to refine. In the grander philosophical scheme, I argue the difference between these two institutions is a bunch of minutia, but minutia significant enough to inhibit one's greater sensibilities.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » February 12th, 2016, 8:54 am

This is a very interesting claim, Aristocles. If I might ask a few questions to help me understand your position -
Aristocles wrote:I am attempting to argue both art and science are an appreciation of that which is good. Each is only good in as much it can accomplish such understanding.

1. Are appreciation and understanding synonymous here?

2. You say that art and science are "an appreciation of that which is good." Later, you state that the manifestations of art and science (books, research, songs, etc.) are all "some form of techne aimed at philosophy." Is it fair to conclude, then, that you believe that truth and the good are identical?

3. Do you believe that the good is the only possible aim of art and science, or rather the only legitimate aim? Could there be, in other words, a perverse science or art, that deliberately aims at something other than the good?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 12th, 2016, 10:59 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:This is a very interesting claim, Aristocles. If I might ask a few questions to help me understand your position -
Aristocles wrote:I am attempting to argue both art and science are an appreciation of that which is good. Each is only good in as much it can accomplish such understanding.

1. Are appreciation and understanding synonymous here?

2. You say that art and science are "an appreciation of that which is good." Later, you state that the manifestations of art and science (books, research, songs, etc.) are all "some form of techne aimed at philosophy." Is it fair to conclude, then, that you believe that truth and the good are identical?

3. Do you believe that the good is the only possible aim of art and science, or rather the only legitimate aim? Could there be, in other words, a perverse science or art, that deliberately aims at something other than the good?

John Bruce Leonard
1) Yes.

2) Yes. Indistinguishable, best I can determine.

3) Not as far as I can surmise. The perversion of such would just appear to be a "failed" attempt at understanding/appreciating that which is good.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Jutfrank » February 12th, 2016, 11:47 am

Aristocles wrote:I am attempting to argue both art and science are an appreciation of that which is good.

I am further suggesting all books (even sacred texts), movies, poems, research, songs, etc are some form of techne aimed at philosophy.
Okay, yes, in the broadest, most general analysis, I can see them both as being techniques aimed at some kind of wisdom.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Greta » February 12th, 2016, 5:01 pm

Like the four fundamental forces, there was a time when art, philosophy and science were one. The artistic science of early humanity was built on metaphor, our instinctive approach to our relativistic reality. Philosophy is built on logic, reasoning and deduction - the next best thing one can do in lieu of the evidence required by science.

All three fields are means of engaging with the world, and each area is practiced routinely at a simple level in everyday life - comparisons, deductions and evidence. For example, a sunrise is often used as a synedoche for beginnings and new starts. The cyclic rising a setting of the sun is associated with other cycles such as the waxing an waning of the Moon, the seasons, and poetically with breath and life itself. A sunrise can also be thought of as the scattering of light in the atmosphere on a planet due to the relative movement between it and its star.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated—Gandhi.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 13th, 2016, 5:35 am

Yes, & I think one can take this to the distintions we make among feeling and thought. I am trying to take it further in suggesting feeling and thought become indistinguishable as both aim at what is good.

Take our predjudice of man and woman for example. Prior to the invention of the plow, prior to the synthesis of modern institutions, women were perhaps more physically strong than men. I think the thought and feeling distance among genders was less, as I see the information age lessening that seeming gap today.

Maybe my point, using men/women, is more clear by looking at our predjudice through the modern institution of marriage. I think we generally label woman as understanding the world through a high command of feelings. Women tend to have great power to get what they desire as "artists" via sensation expression. Men are generally labeled (& also of countless exception) as the "scientists" of reason. Men tend to have great power to get what they desire via logical consistency.

As both labels fall short, we tend to want to fill our gap, appreciate the other side of our brain, through marriage. Now we tend to mess this up as we do with our predjudices. I am just trying to give a more concrete & a highly provocative practical example to illustrate my argument in another way.

So, we should be able to take this to all sorts of micro and macro levels, anywhere an/a artistic/scientific exercise crops up. I suggest they are only useful as much as it is true/good, and consequently less distinguishable, useful nevertheless in polishing the most abstract thing we appreciate, that which is good.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » February 13th, 2016, 7:59 am

Thank you for responding to my questions, Aristocles.

Not unexpectedly, your responses, together with your latest post, have brought yet other uncertainties to my mind. As you yourself said, there was a lot in your original post in wont of unraveling. If I may beg a little more patience, I would like to pose a few more questions:

1. Do you think that science, art, and philosophy are unique among human activities in their pursuit of the good, or do you believe that all human activities aim at this end?

2. How do you perceive the relationship between these three activities? For example - do you believe that some are but partial approaches to the problem, while one is the comprehensive approach? Or is any of these activities in principle capable independently of attaining its desired end? Or are all of them together required, as your brain analogy would seem to suggest?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 13th, 2016, 8:43 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:Thank you for responding to my questions, Aristocles.

Not unexpectedly, your responses, together with your latest post, have brought yet other uncertainties to my mind. As you yourself said, there was a lot in your original post in wont of unraveling. If I may beg a little more patience, I would like to pose a few more questions:

1. Do you think that science, art, and philosophy are unique among human activities in their pursuit of the good, or do you believe that all human activities aim at this end?

2. How do you perceive the relationship between these three activities? For example - do you believe that some are but partial approaches to the problem, while one is the comprehensive approach? Or is any of these activities in principle capable independently of attaining its desired end? Or are all of them together required, as your brain analogy would seem to suggest?

John Bruce Leonard
I appreciate your inquiries, as I can progress a thought best (or disregard it) with critical peer review.

1) All aim at the good (I agree this observation to be Aristotle's greatest. So, where it appears correct, I give him credit. Misinterpretation is likely from my presentation)

2) I see philosophy as the best route in understanding that which is good. With the grandeur of the concept, it appears we tackle it with a balance of extreme physical/mental sentience - "art" and extreme logic/truth cognition - "science." I do not see either as a form of end in themselves, nor one being greater, at least not to the degree of that of philosophy, as philosophy appears all encompassing. However, in as much as art/science may give such an appearance of terminal distiction, I argue it would likely only be due to the philosophical parts being the bedrock of such an alleged distiction.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » February 14th, 2016, 5:22 am

Once more, Aristocles, I thank you for taking the time to consider my questions, and to for responding to them. It would seem that you and I hold many positions in common.

Precisely because we are in sympathy in our premises, permit me to present a vision of art which I believe conflicts with them. You have rightly pointed out that the very distinction between art and science is a modern invention, one for which the Greeks had no analogy. As an admirer and sometime practitioner of the arts, I feel all too strongly the seductive charm of our modern conception of “Art”; and so I would like your help, Aristocles, in contemplating it with a sober eye.

The Artist, as far as I understand the modern conception, is the creative soul, capable not just of poiesis, or making, but rather of creation itself, of bringing something out of nothing. The Artist to such a vision is the great inventive and innovative spirit – is the genius, to employ a word that we have inherited from the Ancients, but which we use in a strikingly different way. He is in need of no Muses to inspire him, to fill his mouth with poetry or his lyre with music, for he has divinity itself – insofar as divinity exists – residing in his very breast.

Now, it is clear that no human being can create, for example, a new color, or an element that does not exist, or a new physical law; and so it might be asked in what way the artist could legitimately be anything other than a maker, an arranger and manipulator of what already exists. The response must be that he is a creator in the mental or the spiritual sense; that he is a creator of new ideas, new thoughts, new aesthetic canons, and, above all, new ideals and values. Not for nothing did Nietzsche, who was the father of this dangerous contention, come so near in certain of his writings to equating philosophy and art. By this vision, far from being one who seeks to understand the good, the artist is one who seeks to create it.

A person who adheres to such a vision will likely read what you have written, Aristocles, and he will respond, “The idea of art that you have presented belittles it, and robs from it its noblest quality. You would have all human beings out scouring for a 'human good' that does not and cannot exist, running about like a group of anarchic and confused heads without any possibility of arriving at any destination whatsoever. Worse yet, by insisting on reason as paramount, you have smothered the chaotic spark of divine inspiration which is the very pith of the Artistic flame. You have in short relegated Art to the position of the poor man's philosophy and the mindless sister of science, when by rights it could be the master of all things and the transfigurer of the world.”

I have tried to present this argument as persuasively as I may. My question is simply, how can we respond to such a charge?

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » February 14th, 2016, 11:24 pm

Yes John, I am doubtful I could not get this thread moving if I did not at least give the appearance of undercutting something we hold close. I agree my presentation should appear I am lessening art to some degree, and that may well be the case for some things referred as art today. However, I am actually trying to instill some reverence in the more genuine artistic aspiration.

To suggest one can create that which is actually good, may appear as ridiculous as one that appears to actually understand what is actually good. With confused irony, we do appear to give such an appearance of creating and understanding what is good. I argue we just appear to come close, closest when we balance both. I am saying reason appears as divine as inspiration. Why would we reason without desire? How could we come to know pleasure without logical framework?

I think I am hearing your supplied defense of art as that which can capture a creative uniqueness, very much relating and perhaps even likely feeding our passions. This, nevertheless, is my layperson view. I take this view further stating such art is best done with rigor of proportion, command of timing, weighing the pleasure and pain - a rather seemingly scientific realm.

Keeping with my banal analogy (then heading toward Greta's synecdoches) I could use the very creation of life as an example of some type of "artistic" creation. We likewise could detail the "scientific" analysis we now appear to understand regarding the modern biological creation of "humans." In the post institutional but pre-laboratory era of human life creation, women were the apparent artists that beget the beautiful child. Men apparently were the "scientists" in charge of understanding the world enough to provide means of survival. We ebb and flow with trying to label the man or woman as most important in the process, rearing, etc. We likewise hither and yon with the creation of life and which gender such creation is most taxing upon... We are then all taken back with lesser distinctions among gender itself. Somehow we too miss along the way that the ambiguity of life is a bit too much to frequently fathom. Neither the creative artist nor the informed scientist has provided the balanced persuasion we desire for placing our fingers upon the concept of a soul or awing us with its very creation. The art and science fall short expressing or understanding, just as the woman or man fall short in adequately creating, rearing, or modeling via the isolated spectrum. Both together, be it art and science or man and woman bring us to a more reflective place however.

In relation to "physical laws," we can see humans did not create physical laws. In not doing, we did however come to better express understanding of gravity. This is more clear in our "command" of the heavens via quantifying our planets/galaxies/stars etc, qualifying our senses of heavenly bodies, etc. Galileo's work on gravity may have appeared to smother divine inspiration in the short run, depending upon one's perspective. In the long run, it commissioned Descartes to use reason to further the new world view of "physical laws" and how it is humans would now properly synchronize. The shear volume of science/art appear to have since intensified, appearing to be deficient in equally intense reflection.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Hereandnow » February 17th, 2016, 9:52 pm

In an attempt to stay with this thread longer than the "Not Art" original poster, I will aspire to be more focused upon alleged distinctions of art versus science. Seeing posters determine there is no art for art's sake and the good part of art is not so apparent (up to this point, at least, of "For Art's Sake" & "What is Good Art" threads), the distinction of art and science may lend itself to the distinction between "subjectivity/objectivity." From there I would too likely ask: What is the difference then between subjectivity and objectivity?

I am thinking conventional thinking may follow with all too much concentration upon clouded conventional definitions, semantic analysis, etc...
Aristocles:
[With the philosophy of the arts having the fewest views on this forum, perhaps some controversy can help generate interest and clarity among > 30,000 members, with the more "artistic" members contributing here.]

My understanding is the earlier formal roots of western philosophy did not make the distinction of art and science, that the craft concept of tekne (techne) was as much scientific as artistic. Our conventions appeared to bastardize the concept (as we tend to do most with the most powerful ideas). In the conventional processing, we appear to have lost the forest through the trees. I understand the idea of that which is good is ultimately seemingly mind boggling. I do think the ancients simplified it with uncanny precision. I have failed to generate interest in eudaimonia study in another post. I have since tried to recruit interest in all other philosophy areas on this forum.

I am thinking the seeming dualism of art/science is reflected in much of what we do. Maybe this is related to the apparent right/left hemispheres of the human brain and how we best cope with understanding (e.g. life/death, mind/body, male/female, micro/macro, equal/unequal, black/white, symbolic logic/sock puppets, etc). Regardless, I argue the distinctions are less than typically appreciated, and although the distinctions are often academic, the reflection is important.

In the case of art, it appears it is only good in as much as it is a science. The concept of what is good appears entirely too grand to tackle without parsing. It seems we have tried to break what is good down into art and science. Art, in turn, is broken down into fine art, expressive, etc. Science is broken down into social, physical, etc. These are continually broken down into further "disciplines." I am arguing we lose something when we fractionate without reflection. Most notable is a loss in much appreciation of what is actually good, that which is scientific as much as it is artistic.

But looking to science is itself a kind of parsing you want to avoid. Do what Dewey did and take the matter to the most fundamental level, which is experience. the essence of art is bound to that of science because science is essentially aesthetic; that is, a successful anticipation of an experimental set of conditions that issues from a problem solving event carries with it a consummation, a completeness such that the conclusion or solution is "wrought out" of the process. But the reason science carries this aesthetic is because it is a kind of experience, which is foundational for all , a particularly effective one that has a beginning, a middle and a completion. Consummation. or completion: this is the essence of all art.

You might call this a pragmatic form and call this an extension of formalism: all scientific method possesses the form of a well reasoned argument. Reason, Nietzsche held, is just an manifestation of our artistic nature (and does not have any privileged status beyond this. Well reasoned arguments are like well constructed bridges?).

Anyway, Dewey's complaint was like yours: We've taken art out of our lives an put it in museums and theaters. But we need to bring it back, the creative process, that is, into our general experiences. Without this, life will be sterile and without consummatory aesthetic, like working on an assembly line, which is what he likely had mind.

-- Updated February 17th, 2016, 9:53 pm to add the following --

talk about bad parsing, see the above.

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » March 7th, 2016, 10:20 pm

(Attempting some Dewey research... Have not abandoned the thread)

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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Hereandnow » March 8th, 2016, 8:30 am

See his Art and Experience.

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