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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 16th, 2016, 8:03 am

Aristocles wrote:3uGH7D4MLj
I agree you detail well the antithesis for which I am arguing. I would go further to agree your view is much more mainstream than mine. I read the last two responses with a very different impression. I will back off for a while, until I can find a more effective way to illustrate my point.
The problem may be that I was not steeped from my youth in the doctrines of Plato. Such things as Truth, Justice, The Good are foreign to me. We were raised studying different catechisms.

Care to talk about the good?

-- Updated May 16th, 2016, 8:08 am to add the following --
John Bruce Leonard wrote:If I may be permitted to requite unsolicited advice with unsolicited advice – be wary of so quickly accusing a man of “religion,” 3u. It fosters the suspicion that you might be attempting to conceal your own.

I know. I don't know why I keep returning to the religion metaphor, it seems to fit. Thinking about this, I may be using it to gently annoy.
John Bruce Leonard wrote:Aristocles has made some very striking remarks regarding the possibility of an artistic science and a scientific art, and, like you, I am very skeptical of the possibility, or even the desirability, of either of these. Yet I am equally reluctant to draw a line between science and art so distinctly that we no longer may perceive anything in common between them.
There is the story about the tourist from Texas and the Englishman meeting on a train. "Do you know the whole of your country could easily be fit into my state?" "....and to what purpose?" was the puzzled reply.

The main idea here is an appealing poetic symmetry between art and science, bound by the good. Appealing as it is, I have to ask what is the utility of this conflation? ...to what purpose? Science can be artistic, creative, etc. -- art can be scientific (usually to its detriment), but in the end, science will always be science and art should be encouraged to be art, un-alloyed, lest we lose our aesthetic sensibility altogether.

I have witnessed art/science projects, grants won for an artist to enter the land of science and do scientific art. So both parties stand there stupefied, trying to figure out what to make of the situation, thrown together by a clueless endowment agency at a loss for a grantable project, fixing on the obvious and trivial idea of trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. Ugh. Sorry.

Thank you JBL for your strong reading of my undeserving comments.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by Aristocles » May 16th, 2016, 9:34 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:
Aristocles wrote:3uGH7D4MLj
I agree you detail well the antithesis for which I am arguing. I would go further to agree your view is much more mainstream than mine. I read the last two responses with a very different impression. I will back off for a while, until I can find a more effective way to illustrate my point.
The problem may be that I was not steeped from my youth in the doctrines of Plato. Such things as Truth, Justice, The Good are foreign to me. We were raised studying different catechisms.

Care to talk about the good?
I do. This is why I visit the forum, and such discourse is what I have tried to encourage throughout topics. So I appreciate you asking, and likewise appreciate ALL of the comments thus far.

A few comments beforehand:

I was not steeped from my youth in the doctines of Plato. Actually, I too was more familiar with the catechisms (to the point I would later associate at least newer testaments appearing to be derivatives of Plato's work, but that may be another forum topic..).
Likely not surprising, I also have views of Plato's work that are more radical than most interpretations.
I will try to be less abstract, and would appreciate if you could be lienent about the use of written English to address what I see as the most abstract concept we appear to know.
I will try to avoid being too abstact with the discussion.

In short, I cannot do the concept of what is good justice by discussing it. I can try, as I argue we all do. I am not sure I can know what good is even. But, I have determined it is the most knowledgeable/pleasurable thing I can know. Of course this leaves much clarification to follow. I do not want to be patronizing by saying a bunch of things you are well aware of, or even more aware than am I...

I will use your example of the microbiology pathologist for now, perhaps crudely, but aspiring to remain germane to the topic. A good scientist, like the one you mention, would make the best decisions from available alternatives. Of course that begs a lot of questions as far as what is best. As you mention, money could be a means to recognition. So why isn't the best scientist simply the wealthiest and/or the most notable? Why is the ranking of scientist about as offensive as quantifiying art with money? A good scientist would not just add discovery to the world, but use it to promote that which is good (lessen suffering, heighten education, enhance survival, encourage reflection, etc).

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 16th, 2016, 12:51 pm

John Bruce Leonard wrote:I recognize, of course, that there are artists who are not rigorous, there are artists who even shun rigor. There are some who claim to be artists who are simply lax, by no choice of their own. But we may make these judgements because we can contrast such artists with those who embody rigor, as rigor in style, rigor in analysis, rigor in planning, rigor in method, rigor in thought. Not only is rigor applicable to artists, it seems to me a term indispensable in our critique of the arts – unless, I repeat, you are using the word “rigor” in a very specific sense.
I was. I wasn't seeing past my own limited application of the idea to my own work. It's a personal interpretation of the word which is easily seen as coming up short after a little consideration. I think I like the word even better now, thanks. Good clear explanation.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 18th, 2016, 3:48 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I wasn't seeing past my own limited application of the idea to my own work. It's a personal interpretation of the word which is easily seen as coming up short after a little consideration. I think I like the word even better now, thanks. Good clear explanation.
3u, I am much obliged to your philosophical openness. May we all learn from you in this.
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:There is the story about the tourist from Texas and the Englishman meeting on a train. "Do you know the whole of your country could easily be fit into my state?" "....and to what purpose?" was the puzzled reply.
My thanks for this one, as well, 3u; it is so beautifully characteristic that it has given me no small amusement. And I much take your point with it. As you say,
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:The main idea here is an appealing poetic symmetry between art and science, bound by the good. Appealing as it is, I have to ask what is the utility of this conflation? ...to what purpose?
This indeed is the question, 3u – I could not agree more. As I have said, I am with you in maintaining doubts regarding the value of any conflation between art and science. Nor am I particularly interested in any “poetic symmetry” between the two. Yet I believe we are obliged to attempt, as well as we are able, to understand the relative value of the activities of the human being. We are obliged to do this because without some understanding of the hierarchy of human activities, we are incapable of even approaching comprehension of the highest human things. We must then understand the aims of all human activities, and the ways in which each activity differs from every other, or is similar to every other, and, in the case of their difference, which of these activities are superior to the others. I think that herein lies the great value of the present thread. I find that there is some disagreement between you and Aristocles on precisely this question: do science and art share a common end?

Now, I would like to continue 3u's critique a moment, with a question for Aristocles. Aristocles, you seem to be proposing a unification of art and science, or at least you seem to be attempting to erode the barriers that have been erected between the two in the past few centuries. If I am not mistaken, you base this on the following proposition: both art and science share a common aim, that aim being the appreciation of the good. Because they share this common aim, it should be in principle possible for them to work in unison toward this common end; it should be in principle possible for them to join forces, as it were, and to learn from one another, setting aside their accidental differences in appreciation of their common objective. The question, beyond of course any practical obstacles to such a unification, is if the hope in such a unification rests on an adequate understanding of the nature of science and art.

Toward the beginning of this thread, Aristocles, you stated your belief that all human activities aim at the good. This gives rise to a certain difficulty, because some human activities are clearly incompatible. Let us take a practical example; let us consider a die-hard pacifist on the one hand and a shameless military imperialist on the other. We may indeed say that both aim at the good. But what is considered to be good by one is considered to be bad by the other: the one would insist upon peace, while the other would insist on warlike expansion. Both aim at the “good,” certainly, but the goods that they aim at are irreconcilable. We cannot hope for a pacifistic military imperialism, nor a militaristic imperialistic pacifism.

The question then arises, on what basis can we say that the good as it is understood by art is reconcilable with the good as it is understood by science?

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

Post by Aristocles » May 18th, 2016, 4:57 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote: Toward the beginning of this thread, Aristocles, you stated your belief that all human activities aim at the good. This gives rise to a certain difficulty, because some human activities are clearly incompatible. Let us take a practical example; let us consider a die-hard pacifist on the one hand and a shameless military imperialist on the other. We may indeed say that both aim at the good. But what is considered to be good by one is considered to be bad by the other: the one would insist upon peace, while the other would insist on warlike expansion. Both aim at the “good,” certainly, but the goods that they aim at are irreconcilable. We cannot hope for a pacifistic military imperialism, nor a militaristic imperialistic pacifism.

The question then arises, on what basis can we say that the good as it is understood by art is reconcilable with the good as it is understood by science?
Your responses are much appreciated JBL, especially as you present my case in a light more digestible for others.

I hope my simple seeming answer is not offensive in that it takes from the complexity of any individual or institution, etc. As far as the pacifist and militant, I assert/argue neither aspires to have peace or war as an end in itself. In other words, a desire for a labeled pacifist or militant for peace or war in itself, desired moreso than something bigger, something more common, more singular, does not appears to be the case (just as I simply asserted the good microbiologist would not pursue infinite money, recognition for its own sake). A quality of that which is good is a measure of some ends being greater than others. I am thinking pacifism is usually the best approach to a greater end, but the calculation becomes much more difficult the more one's life is in imminent danger. So, the declaration of one being a pacifist/militant is an aim at that which is good just as a declaration of one being an/a artist/scientist, but the details need to be further unpacked to better illustrate the aims being rather similar.

Your last question will likely lead me to answers that 3u may call merky or mushy, and it is hard for me to get around my answers as being fundamentally circular or some form of casuistry. (None have challenged me so far on a single instance so that I have had to come that close yet). How do we ground Socrates measuring art? The best I know is with reflective existence.

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 18th, 2016, 8:05 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:This indeed is the question, 3u – I could not agree more. As I have said, I am with you in maintaining doubts regarding the value of any conflation between art and science. Nor am I particularly interested in any “poetic symmetry” between the two. Yet I believe we are obliged to attempt, as well as we are able, to understand the relative value of the activities of the human being. We are obliged to do this because without some understanding of the hierarchy of human activities, we are incapable of even approaching comprehension of the highest human things. We must then understand the aims of all human activities, and the ways in which each activity differs from every other, or is similar to every other, and, in the case of their difference, which of these activities are superior to the others. I think that herein lies the great value of the present thread. I find that there is some disagreement between you and Aristocles on precisely this question: do science and art share a common end?
Conflation is unfair I think, though I was the one to use the word.

Poetic symmetry is what's driving this discussion. Similarity between Art and Science is an irresistibly beautiful thing. It's the same as Einstein searching for the GUT, and Hawking, the Grand Unified Theory is the grail. We are driven to seek an elegant answer, we want that last piece to fall into place that will explain everything, galaxies to particles.

This is one similarity between art and science that I would agree on, the search for the aesthetically pleasing solution saturates both fields.

You say that we are obliged to attempt to understand relative values of human activities. Do you mean find out which is best somehow? No. You're getting this wrong.

-- Updated May 18th, 2016, 7:55 am to add the following --
John Bruce Leonard wrote:Toward the beginning of this thread, Aristocles, you stated your belief that all human activities aim at the good. This gives rise to a certain difficulty, because some human activities are clearly incompatible. Let us take a practical example; let us consider a die-hard pacifist on the one hand and a shameless military imperialist on the other. We may indeed say that both aim at the good. But what is considered to be good by one is considered to be bad by the other: the one would insist upon peace, while the other would insist on warlike expansion. Both aim at the “good,” certainly, but the goods that they aim at are irreconcilable. We cannot hope for a pacifistic military imperialism, nor a militaristic imperialistic pacifism.

The question then arises, on what basis can we say that the good as it is understood by art is reconcilable with the good as it is understood by science?
I have to take a more general view of this goodness idea. The art/science topic pales beside the larger issue of Aristocles' stance on the good.

There is something which can be said to be good. As you point out, it is almost impossible to determine the implementation of the good. It's so impossible that to people like myself the good is completely discounted as a motivator in the world. How do you do good in the world? We don't know, and we don't much care. We don't have our best minds working on this problem. Our best minds are working in the financial industry, exploiting, leveraging, seeking only personal advantage, far afield from the good.

To give an extreme example, young Nazi soldiers were sure that what they were doing was for the good of humankind, but there are so many examples of failed attempt at doing good. History is littered with them. Time after time, we constantly and continually get it wrong, but in spite of all our pretense, hypocrisy, and failure, there is such a thing as good, and in a perfect world, a different world, all human activities would be taking the good into account.

This epiphany came from thinking about Aristocles' ideas and chatting with a young Peace Core volunteer yesterday. Thank you.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 19th, 2016, 3:13 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote:You say that we are obliged to attempt to understand relative values of human activities. Do you mean find out which is best somehow?
Indeed I do, 3u. I am very far from supposing this to be a clear or simple issue to work out, but I submit that all of us make distinctions between the value of different human activities, and that we cannot help but do so. There is a clear difference in rank between the work of Byron, or Einstein, or Kant on the one hand, and that of the local janitor on the other. There is a reason we all know the name Napoleon, but none or almost none of us knows the name of the person who stitched Napoleon's vest.

Art and science are both concerned with the higher, if not the highest, of human concerns; but they seem at least superficially to adopt radically different approaches to these concerns. We are then left to wonder which is correct, or if there is a way of reconciling them or of rigidly dividing them. It is not sufficient to leave the matter at acknowledgment of the mere difference of human activities, noting that they have different priorities and each has its own sphere of activity. This is not sufficient because the priorities of these activities and the limits of their spheres are often hotly contested. Philosophy would have the final word about matters that science believes itself best able to investigate. The political often attempts to impinge on the private, and this means as well on the artistic; while the artistic would have full liberty of critiquing or lampooning the political at its will, which is often obnoxious if not dangerous to the political. The religious proclaims an authority which transcends all other authorities, and thus would have its say over and against the claims of any other human activity. There are conflicts between the various human activities, and these conflicts make discrimination between these activities inevitable and necessary.

We in our modern day have obscured the necessity of discrimination through our insistence on multicultural tolerance on the one hand and internal specialization on the other – have obscured, I say, but not eradicated, this necessity. The need to make distinctions and to judge their relative value shows through and must show through, because the good, or the means to attaining it, is not universally agreed upon. Those of us who would investigate the good are brought then perforce to consider the question of the rank order of human activities.

And here we agree, 3u: Aristocles' claims regarding the good are most pressing indeed, and quite transcend any particular dispute or agreement between art and science. Yet I think that we can best consider Aristocles' claims via the question of the relation between art and science.

To that question, then.
Aristocles wrote:I hope my simple seeming answer is not offensive in that it takes from the complexity of any individual or institution, etc. As far as the pacifist and militant, I assert/argue neither aspires to have peace or war as an end in itself. In other words, a desire for a labeled pacifist or militant for peace or war in itself, desired moreso than something bigger, something more common, more singular, does not appears to be the case (just as I simply asserted the good microbiologist would not pursue infinite money, recognition for its own sake). A quality of that which is good is a measure of some ends being greater than others. I am thinking pacifism is usually the best approach to a greater end, but the calculation becomes much more difficult the more one's life is in imminent danger. So, the declaration of one being a pacifist/militant is an aim at that which is good just as a declaration of one being an/a artist/scientist, but the details need to be further unpacked to better illustrate the aims being rather similar. 
Very interesting, Aristocles.

Permit me to press the matter a bit further. Let us consider our pacifist and our imperialist once more, and in particular let us consider the possible ethics or ways of life which might arise from their visions of the world. You have said that neither is looking for peace or war as an end in and of itself, and this is a worthy insight. The implication is that peace and war are but means to another, true end, desired by both the imperialist and the pacifist in-and-of-itself: both are seeking the good, a good which is held in common between pacifists and imperialists of all stamps. The differences between these two individuals are as it were accidental differences. If these two individuals could be brought to see with clarity the one common end that they are seeking, their differences would be reconciled.

Now, the differences dividing our pacifist and our imperialist concern not the end that they seek, but the means. Although the aim of these individuals is the same, the means that they adopt are clearly contradictory. While the imperialist might praise martial courage, aggressiveness, and uncompromising love of one's own, the pacifist might praise evasion of combat, passivity, and tolerance for differing worldviews. As these two ways of life both aim toward a common end, the question of priorities arises: which way of life is best able to attain that end? One cannot live as an imperialist of this kind and simultaneously as a pacifist of this kind; one must choose between the two ways of life, or one must choose some third way. In adopting one of these ways of life, we must reject the other; in adopting some third way of life, we must reject one or both of the original two.

Let me then rephrase my question as follows: on what grounds may we claim that art does not propose a way of life that is contradictory to that proposed by science, or vice versa? On what grounds may we claim that one or both of these human activities does not represent a misplaced attempt to win the good, doomed from the beginning to failure by an erroneous methodology or vision?

It seems to me that these questions must be answered before we can even begin to conceive of the possibility of an artistic science or a scientific art.

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

Post by 3uGH7D4MLj » May 19th, 2016, 8:36 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:You say that we are obliged to attempt to understand relative values of human activities. Do you mean find out which is best somehow?
Indeed I do, 3u. I am very far from supposing this to be a clear or simple issue to work out, but I submit that all of us make distinctions between the value of different human activities, and that we cannot help but do so. There is a clear difference in rank between the work of Byron, or Einstein, or Kant on the one hand, and that of the local janitor on the other. There is a reason we all know the name Napoleon, but none or almost none of us knows the name of the person who stitched Napoleon's vest.
While you are pondering which human activity is superior I hope your city's trash collection guys don't go on strike.

You are seriously trying to determine whether art and poetry or music or drama is superior to astrophysics or microbiology? ...to what purpose? I would think we are best served by giving respect and importance to all fields of human endeavor. Napoleon indeed.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 20th, 2016, 2:13 am

3uGH7D4MLj wrote: While you are pondering which human activity is superior I hope your city's trash collection guys don't go on strike.
I believe this illustrates my point, 3u. The importance of the activity of trash collection seems, by the implications of your statement, to rest on its importance for the continuation of the social order. Yet if a single trash collector ceases to do his job, it will have no or little effect on that continuation; a replacement will quickly and easily be found. Even if a portion or the entire body of trash collectors in a given city stop working, this will have only the most temporary effect; for a good government would be able to navigate such difficulties as these and find provisional solutions to the problems that have arisen. It is only when all or most trash collectors decide to stop working, and are organized in their attempt by, for example, a syndicate, that a strike will be in any way noticeable. But then we may say that, so far as the continuation of the social order is concerned, organization or administration is of a higher importance or dignity than trash collecting.
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I would think we are best served by giving respect and importance to all fields of human endeavor.
I do not give such respect and importance so indiscriminately, 3u; moreover, I will wager that you do not, either. Let us see. There are individuals who make their living by smuggling drugs and weapons out of certain countries and into certain others. Even today, there are many persons along African coasts who survive off of piracy. Still others in some parts of the world trade slaves and make a fine profit from this business. Are we to say that endeavors of such trades as these are to be given the same respect and importance as that which we willingly grant to farmers, sailors, or honest businessmen?

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

Post by Aristocles » May 20th, 2016, 2:53 am

JBL: in several days, when I have a greater moment to give your thoughtful response the greater attention it deserves, I will better address your particular questions.

In general, my response will relate to knowledge of what is good and how people are more fittingly identified by more than a given simple label (perhaps good science/art are crastly labeled as one or the other only), career, or even one's current knowledge of what is good....

I see this banal labeling as 3u's current concern, but I had a rather different reading of your latest pacifist/warrior response. I apologize for not elaborating more now.

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

Post by Greta » May 20th, 2016, 3:56 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I would think we are best served by giving respect and importance to all fields of human endeavor.
I do not give such respect and importance so indiscriminately, 3u; moreover, I will wager that you do not, either. Let us see. There are individuals who make their living by smuggling drugs and weapons out of certain countries and into certain others. Even today, there are many persons along African coasts who survive off of piracy. Still others in some parts of the world trade slaves and make a fine profit from this business. Are we to say that endeavors of such trades as these are to be given the same respect and importance as that which we willingly grant to farmers, sailors, or honest businessmen?
I think we need to parse the idea of "respect". I can respect a person's individual need to live in a certain way that is contrary to my values, but I might not respect what they do. Let's take Somalian pirates. How might I have behaved if given their upbringing and background? The issue here is I cannot know what it is to be the kind of person who would become a Somalian pirate so, in that sense, I can't judge.

By the same token, in terms of art and all matters of taste, one person's trash is another's treasure. I and many others might judge current pop music to be overly simplistic melodically and harmonically, formulaic, and lacking in variation, flexibility, touch, feel, taste, emotion, originality, dynamics and timbral richness. We could even do an analytical study, demonstrating the differences. That would be the academic approach. Yet, the fact remains that when the air is filled with those (execrable!) sounds, numerous people experience physiological benefits through release of endorphins. At least in the moment, people can be just as affected by commercial art as others may be affected by more sincere work.

Dogs and humans have need different nutritional needs, so one must respect dog food even if we wouldn't eat it unless desperate. By the same token, different people have have different needs in terms of artistic consumption. "Junk art", like junk food, can be thought of in terms of "social consumption" and "comfort consumption"; without nutrition or lasting resonance, but it serves a momentary purpose.
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Re: So, you are an artist... What is the difference?

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 20th, 2016, 5:51 am

Aristocles, I much appreciate the time and care you take in the consideration of all our comments, and I applaud you for your resistance to the thoughtless haste that is too easily fostered by our contemporary “digital” world. I anticipate your response with pleasure.
Greta wrote:I think we need to parse the idea of “respect”. I can respect a person's individual need to live in a certain way that is contrary to my values, but I might not respect what they do.
Thank you, Greta, for timely and most pertinent thoughts.

Regarding the question of respect, I wonder if need and act are so easily separable. If the need leads of necessity and unambiguously to the act, must we not speak of despicable needs, just as we speak of despicable acts? There are certain acts of sexual deviancy, for example, which even in our exceptionally liberal society are not permitted, insofar as they involve transgression upon the rights of others. These acts are considered universally or almost universally reprehensible; yet these acts clearly follow upon the perverse needs of certain individuals. Without the need, the act does not emerge; then it is the need that is reprehensible, and not the act.

I understand, of course, that needs are not the subject of choice in the same way that, say, beliefs might be, or even acts. A human being finds needs within, and though there is certainly a way in which we might nourish certain of our needs or suppress others of them, and perhaps in the long term might even alter the nexus of our needs, these needs in-and-of-themselves pertain to our nature and not to our deliberation. But I do not see that the pre-existence of needs in a human being in any way justifies them, nor renders them impervious to rational judgement. Just as we may judge the inanimate or material world – saying, for instance, that this or that substance is obnoxious, while this or that is fine and good to the taste, the touch, the sight; or again, that this or that metal is precious while this or that metal is ignoble – so we may say that the needs of a pirate that lead him to piracy are not to be compared with the needs of a classical composer that lead him to compose symphonies. The first are base in comparison to the second; they are, I would go so far as to say, of an unambiguously lower order. I believe, moreover, that you have suggested precisely such a rank ordering of needs when you say the following:
Greta wrote:Junk art", like junk food, can be thought of in terms of "social consumption" and "comfort consumption"; without nutrition or lasting resonance, but it serves a momentary purpose.
Surely there is a difference in value between a pleasure that feeds a momentary purpose, and one which instead has lasting resonance?

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

Post by Greta » May 20th, 2016, 8:47 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:The first are base in comparison to the second; they are, I would go so far as to say, of an unambiguously lower order. I believe, moreover, that you have suggested precisely such a rank ordering of needs when you say the following:
Greta wrote:Junk art", like junk food, can be thought of in terms of "social consumption" and "comfort consumption"; without nutrition or lasting resonance, but it serves a momentary purpose.
Surely there is a difference in value between a pleasure that feeds a momentary purpose, and one which instead has lasting resonance?[/quote]
Yes, to those who can appreciate it. Who are the arbiters? The exemplars? Who decides on the exemplars? Could the process of choosing exemplars be influenced by groupthink?

The ranking of ontic goodness in all areas has always been problematic due to the relativities, and notoriously difficult to articulate in a broadly satisfying way. What are the criteria? Complexity, flow, originality, visceral appeal, cohesiveness, depth of message?

The difference between science and art is that one objectifies and the other "subjectifies". Opinions need to be justified in the former but not the latter.
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 3uGH7D4MLj » May 20th, 2016, 11:29 am

John Bruce Leonard wrote:
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I would think we are best served by giving respect and importance to all fields of human endeavor.
I do not give such respect and importance so indiscriminately, 3u; moreover, I will wager that you do not, either. Let us see. There are individuals who make their living by smuggling drugs and weapons out of certain countries and into certain others. Even today, there are many persons along African coasts who survive off of piracy. Still others in some parts of the world trade slaves and make a fine profit from this business. Are we to say that endeavors of such trades as these are to be given the same respect and importance as that which we willingly grant to farmers, sailors, or honest businessmen?
I didn't expect you to go to piracy and drug running as human endeavors. You were talking about the importance of determining the superiority of the work of a research scientist over a dancer or playwright, or vice-versa. I can't imagine why, I can't see the utility of that, but it's a side point.
fair to say

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

Post by John Bruce Leonard » May 20th, 2016, 4:10 pm

Greta wrote:Yes, to those who can appreciate it. Who are the arbiters?
Why, you and I, Greta, and Aristocles and 3u here, and whoever else would like to have a part in this discussion. And more than anything, over and above us all, the standard of clear rationality that we hold as the judge of these discourses. I do not see that we need seek any arbiter beyond that.

Everything that you have said about the difficulty of the rank ordering of the good, or of determining the criteria for any such ranking, is abundantly clear and evidently valid, Greta. Yet as I am sure you will agree, the difficulty of the task does not excuse us from attempting to perform it. On the contrary, I say it is the pitch and pith, not only of the subject that here confronts us, but of philosophy itself, that the question of the good things and their relative value be examined with whatever care we have at our disposal.
3uGH7D4MLj wrote:I didn't expect you to go to piracy and drug running as human endeavors. You were talking about the importance of determining the superiority of the work of a research scientist over a dancer or playwright, or vice-versa. I can't imagine why, I can't see the utility of that, but it's a side point.
On the contrary, 3u, I believe it is of the essence of the point. We are confronting Aristocles' claim that science and art have more in common than is generally believed to be the case – indeed, much more. That claim is based on the premise that both activities seek the good. That premise in turn is either erroneous or justified. If it is erroneous, we can only discover that it is erroneous through articulation of the differing ends of science and art. If on the other hand Aristocles' premise is justified, then we must see whether the aim shared by science and art in turn furnishes the possibility of an artistic science and a scientific art, as Aristocles has averred, or if instead one or the other of them is better equipped at aiming toward the good than the other. All of this is nothing other than the rank ordering of these two human activities, the one respect to the other.

Now, you expressed some doubts, if not about the possibility, then certainly about the desirability of ranking human activities. I introduced piracy and drug running as clear examples of deplorable human activities, human activities which we must rank lower than others. This says nothing, to be sure, about the value in particular of art or science, nor even about the possibility of ranking them respect to each other; yet it does bring to our attention, I claim, the impossibility of simply granting equal respect to all human activities, prior to any analysis of their nature. It may be in the end that art and science are of equal value; it may be that we cannot determine their relative value; it may be that such a determination has, as you say, no utility. These are, however, questions that must be addressed.

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