The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight

What is Art?

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.
Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 22nd, 2018, 12:56 pm

As someone well past the age of the average lifespan my fears lie in the transition to non-existence which has a probability of wild disorientation and loss of basic functions. I accept being a kind of spark rising in a thermal and flickering out. Life itself has its fascinations to be enjoyed but even the prospect of a delicious dinner lasting forever holds no attraction, which holds for other delights as well. Ethics are mere social regulations which differ between individuals and societies. The general instruction for life is to sustain and reproduce. I have done both so I am free to expire like any other temporary phenomenon.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 22nd, 2018, 1:35 pm

I differ on this matter with you altogether. It is the suffering that first inspired my opposition to ethical nihilism. It wasn't the ordinary things that occur in the typical life of an average "1st world" citizen with health insurance and the promise of a golden morphine parachute on the hospital death bed that brought me to realize something was seriously amiss in the casual perspective you lay out. Moral questions become very serious matters, and our terms to describe what has to be the case to explain such things must far exceed a material mechanistic notion. I speak of those born into horrible suffering. Perhaps I can give the incidental cuts and bruises in my life a miss, but for the, say, 50,000 women or so that were burned to death (or worse?) as witches, I thought this: Let's say it is me, the reality cannot be understood armchaired and pondering. This needs time to settle in. The world is doing this, that is, these flames licking the soft flesh of the foot's arch are a feature of the world just as much a causality.

If you're going to give an account of the world, you have to look very closely at this, like a physicist looks at her data when estimating trajectories of objects in space.

Death is a termination, but as such, it is incomplete as an account for the experience of being human. This is not to elaborate metaphysically, but simply to put forth an error theory: causality cannot explain our world, and our world must be explained because it is not a fiction, the experiences that constitute ethics are real.

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 22nd, 2018, 2:27 pm

Back in 1969 when I was on a contract with the UN for 2 years in Israel my three year old son attempted to cross a streat nearby my house in a suburb of Tel Aviv and an idiotic driver in a sports car drove straight at him and knocked him about 15 feet in a stupid attempt to cross in front of him. I heard the horn as I was in the rear of my house and I rushed to the road and found him lying on the street. The driver remained in his car down the road but a policeman had already arrived and a cab with two passengers was stopped at the accident. With the cop's permission I commandeered the cabb and with the agreement of the passengers we rushed my son to an emergency ward of a hospital. By acting quickly I had saved my son's life but he was rendered quadriplegic on a respirator for the rest of his 32 year life. Neither the UN nor the US government( my son was born in Tennessee) showed any real interest but my Finnish wife's country accepted my son and granted him Finnish citizenship so that he could spend the rest of his life in the Finnish medical system. He was paralyzed from the neck down and the rest of my life was involved in giving him a reasonable life, He died in 1996. ( see http://finapple.hho.fi/finapple/index.p ... e-ii-user/ ) My son loved to be alive but aside from Finland I became fully educated as to the ethics of our civilization and it seems no better officially than that of any other predator species. Individuals, of course, are another story and I am deeply grateful to the medical professionals of Israel, Holland, Sweden, and Finland who all contributed to my son's life. I am well informed in the value of being alive.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 22nd, 2018, 7:33 pm

It is an awful thing to happen; can't imagine what that was like. How does this affect your philosophy?

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 22nd, 2018, 9:06 pm

As bad as it was, it made me aware that terrible things that happen to people every day throughout the world which can be a lot worse. It sharpened my personal directives as to what are important in life. The driver was a well off businessman who responded to my requests for help as if I were attempting to blackmail him and the Israeli legal system more or less absolved him of responsibility. I did not waste my energy with anger for him or Israel because there was too much required of me to give my son whatever decent life was possible. If the man was too stupid and totally lacking in human decency to understand the situation it was not up to me to re-educate him and it revealed to me the nature of Israel which is now quite apparent to the rest of the world. And not all Israelis can be held responsible for one totally disreputable individual.

Almost all of my subsequent life was devoted to give my highly clever and remarkably self sufficient injured son a decent life and this was immensely rewarding. Much of the rest of my family suffered from this necessity. I am a very poor linguist and my Finnish never became fluent with obvious economic consequences. Nevertheless I came to appreciate the people and the culture here in Helsinki as far more congenial and less ferocious than that of the USA. Life is what it is and being alive itself is an extraordinary adventure and there is little other than that to require of it. The more I learn of my species the more I am sad it never learned to understand to utilize its potentials properly. I am continually impressed with Einstein's observation that two infinities exist, the extent of the universe and the stupidity of humanity and the latter is far greater and more certain

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 6:16 am

Since I have plunged the scalpel of analysis with some depth into myself for examination in this discussion it has struck me that it is appropriate to detail why art concerns me so since both my parents were artists and the inherent qualities of the fundamental natures of art are unique in a way that science rarely touches. The concepts of science originally were quite closely allied with those of art even as recently as a couple of centuries ago and scientists in those times frequently called themselves naturalists. One of the most outstanding of these was Leonardo da Vinci who permitted the fluid of his thinking to flow freely to penetrate multiple aspects of both what we identify as art and science today. Although, as a child, I was ignorant of much of his accomplishment, I sensed, even then, the wonder of his skills in connecting vast knowledge of understandings into the delights of illustration.

In the comparisons of art and science it seems worthwhile to consider mathematics since that is a universe unto itself wherein science has settled and populated and where art still finds itself somewhat alien. This is, in no way, to deny the artistic values within the multidimensional objects math has revealed or the fascinating Mandelbrot explorations, amongst others, which have extensive art values.

In my own attempt to understand my thoughts I have arrived at the generality that my mind thinks in patterns of relationships of all sorts from shape to color to processes and many others. And it is patterns of various kinds that also form the contents of art and science and mathematics. We live today in a world of mathematics involving economics and finance and government and business and health and all our digital gadgetry.

All of my life I have both admired the intricacies dealing with numbers and felt that they were so foreign to my basic nature that they were somehow like hordes of insects that are driven to consume all my instinctive values and leave my world somehow lifeless. The recent rush of developments of robots impress me in the same way as crude attempts to invade the world of life and leave it bloodless and frightening. Evolution has manufactured organic instruments for sight and sound and all the other sense devices that my brain processes and those advances in scientific instrumentation that reveal the great inadequacies of my sensing set to know how unknowable the real universe may be right in front of me impress me with both wonder and fright as to how little I know or even can know.

Art, on the other hand, slips easily into my eyes, my ears, my sense of scents, and sits in the palm of my hand like a wonderful young bird that can spread its wings to explore the clouds. It is full of love and hate, delight and fear, visions and sounds. funny creatures that smile at me and sneeze and burp.
Art is a world of life.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 23rd, 2018, 8:05 am

Jan Sand
The recent rush of developments of robots impress me in the same way as crude attempts to invade the world of life and leave it bloodless and frightening.
But on the other hand, it will lead to our emancipation from practical necessity one day. Imagine waking up in an age where there are no mechanics, trash collectors, plumbers, electricians, even doctors, and so on; because these are done by some self sustaining, maintenance free body of mechanized middlemen. And humanity then looks to art and speculation and finally discovers its freedom and the real meaning of religion (and those awful metaphysical books written thousands of years ago are committed to the dustbin of abandoned thinking).
As I am on a Kierkegaard reading binge, I am behooved to recommend reading him. His Philosophical Fragments is a good start. But Kant should be read before anyone else.
Good Luck to you Jan Sand!

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 8:28 am

We evolved to function on this planet, and our skills delight us when we use them. No doubt simple tools can help us but to remove ourselves totally to become idiotic spectators is a rather fancy way to obliteration. Indications are we have simplified that process by preparing our planet to go the way of Venus.

What I have read of Kant and his rather weird suppositions is more amusing than instructive.

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 9:10 am

To be slightly more optimistic, if humanity manages to gather itself for the pragmatic purpose of survival, which seems more and more unlikely as each day passes, the raw fact of human history from the inception of civilization indicates the vociferous delights never abandoned in human human society of callous imbeciles controlling and dominating the general population for their own benefit and the deprivation of everybody else has never been absent. The advent of robots who can do the work of domination for their owners seem very close in development and one cannot beg mercy from a machine. The modes of society have changed immensely from the early beginnings but the dynamics have not changed at all.

I never wanted to dominate anybody nor be so dominated so I frankly do not particularly identify with other humans.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 23rd, 2018, 9:19 am

What I have read of Kant and his rather weird suppositions is more amusing than instructive.
I hear a lot of this kind of thing.......from people who have never read Kant.

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 9:57 am

Perhaps that's why. There is plenty of information about Kant available without actually reading him.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 23rd, 2018, 10:10 am

Take it from one who has read the Critique: there is nothing at all like this. This is an assumption endorsed by those who do not want to take time to read, but reserve to right to critical judgment. I am sympathetic as Kant is difficult and it takes more than a reading; it takes a desire to know the truth. All important things take time and work.

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 10:30 am

The described assumptions that Kant and Kierkegaard have made as the basis for their viewpoint developments seem to me so far from what I see as actuality that I am no more motivated to read their work than I am to read Donald Duck comic books and I must confess equal ignorance in that area as well.

User avatar
Hereandnow
Posts: 2108
Joined: July 11th, 2012, 9:16 pm
Favorite Philosopher: the moon and the stars

Re: What is Art?

Post by Hereandnow » August 23rd, 2018, 10:55 am

Pray, elaborate. Kierkegaard's "assumptions"?

Jan Sand
Posts: 658
Joined: September 10th, 2017, 11:57 am

Re: What is Art?

Post by Jan Sand » August 23rd, 2018, 11:09 am

From Wikipedia

"Kierkegaard's analysis of the present age uses terms that resemble but are not exactly coincident with Hegel and Marx's theory of alienation. However Kierkegaard expressly means that human beings are alienated from God because they are living too much in the world. Individuals need to gain their souls from the world because it actually belongs to God. Kierkegaard has no interest in external battles as Karl Marx does. His concern is about the inner fight for faith."

As someone who finds this kind of subjugation to myth to be quite ridiculous I cannot see pursuing the thoughts to make sense.

Post Reply