• macrosoft
    The response is only thought insofar as we're talking about things like "this is pleasurable"/"this is more than pleasurable" etc.

    I suppose you're otherwise referring to non-mental physiological responses they might have, or actions they make take--like if it's a painting and they walk to view it at a different angle, etc
    Terrapin Station

    Well for me a simple continuum of pleasure doesn't get it right. What I have in mind are different kinds of feelings that we experience as we also experience the work sensually -- along with thoughts. We can reasonably say that the work is there to provide pleasure, but IMO only if we allow for some complex pleasures that don't only vary quantitatively.
  • Terrapin Station
    Well for me a simple continuum of pleasure doesn't get it right.macrosoft

    I was just addressing what was brought up, though, and it was brought up by you. You had said, "Doesn't some some art stand out as not just clever, not just skillful, not just pleasant?"

    "Clever, skillful and pleasant" are all mental judgments we make. "This is not just clever" and so on would also be mental judgments we make, and they're nothing more than that.
  • macrosoft
    "Clever, skillful and pleasant" are all mental judgments we make. "This is not just clever" and so on would also be mental judgments we make, and they're nothing more than that.Terrapin Station

    Well, sure. But then 'They're nothing more than that' is also nothing more than that, and merely one more mental judgement we make. The idea that only some kind of stuff 'out there' is 'really' real is, on its own terms, a mere 'illusion' or 'projection.'

    To be clear, I know very well where you are coming from. If I put my amateur physicist hat on, then sure that method treats some kind of mind-independent nature (that doesn't care about us or have preferences) as fundamental. This seems to be something like educated common sense, though admittedly plenty of people do indeed add God to the equation.

    But I'd say that most atheists and agnostics think of nature as a blind machine. They will grant that (from within one perspective among many possible and useful) we 'project' value on what is essentially or 'really' dead and meaningless necessity. I'm at peace with this view, but I don't think it's very important to argue over the details. The important thing is whether one grasps existence as situated within such a dead machine or within a world organized by some trans-human intelligence. I think and act as if we are alone down here, and from that perspective I am concerned with what can be made of existence. Where can art take me? To what degree is even traditional religious thought 'true' 'subjectively and intended 'subjectively' in the first place? It seems to me that sometimes individuals with a particular epistemology or ontological ax to grind project that kind of concern onto discussions where that's not really the central thread or intention. The hammer sees only nails. To what degree does method constrain what appears in the first place?
  • Terrapin Station
    'They're nothing more than that' is also nothing more than that,macrosoft

    Actually, it is more than that, because it's a non-mental fact that "This is pleasant" is just a mental phenomenon.
  • macrosoft
    Actually, it is more than that, because it's a non-mental fact that "This is pleasant" is just a mental phenomenon.Terrapin Station

    I understand where you are coming from, but I still think there are problems with that approach. It sounds something like a correspondence understanding of truth. But then we end up with problems: if it is the truth that truth is correspondence, then to what does the correspondence theory correspond? Surely not to some Platonic entity called truth which is out there among the atoms-and-void. IMO, I think our sense of objectivity and the shared world is less explicit than that and perhaps evades formalization.
  • Terrapin Station

    No, I said it's a non-mental fact. That's different than saying it's true. Facts and truths are not the same thing.

    Facts are states of affairs in the world. Ways that the world is, in other words.

    Truth is a property of propositions, namely, a semantic judgment about the relationship between a proposition and something else.
  • macrosoft
    No, I said it's a non-mental fact. That's different than saying it's true. Facts and truths are not the same thing.Terrapin Station

    OK. Could you explain that? (Sketch the relevant difference.)
  • Terrapin Station

    Just added an explanation above.
  • macrosoft

    OK, thanks. But I still think there is some difficulty here. A fact exists for us, it seems, as a state of mind. Would you say that a fact exists for us as a truth? As a proposition that corresponds to the way of the world?
  • Terrapin Station
    A fact exists for us, it seems, as a state of mind.macrosoft

    "Exists for us" you mean re how you know about it? If so, sure, but it's important not to conflate epistemology and ontology. Facts do not need us to exist in order to be facts.
  • macrosoft
    "Exists for us" you mean re how you know about it? If so, sure, but it's important not to conflate epistemology and ontology. Facts do not need us to exist in order to be facts.Terrapin Station

    I roughly agree that facts don't need us in order to be facts. I believe that there is a world with particular ways that will continue after all of us talkers are gone. I have just tended to find that any attempt to formulate or make explicit objectivity tends to run into specific difficulties, usually because the theory itself gets entangled in its own assertions. That said, I think I agree with you on the larger vision. I'd just say that once god is dead that the rest is just details that are no longer terribly important. Of course that's preference. I'd just prefer moving on to more existential questions, having accepted something like a mind-independent nature that doesn't care about me 'in' which I have my meaningful 'illusions' or mental states. Since we live and die for these mental states, calling them 'only' mental states mostly has value as an antidote to dogmatism.
  • DiegoT
    I think any human work has different purposes. All we do is Art, as all we do is done with skill and some measure of subjectivity (self-expression).
  • hks
    That definition as given is flowery.

    I would define art as anything made to look attractive to its viewer and to command a lot of money in trade.
  • Terrapin Station
    I would define art as anything made to look attractive to its viewer and to command a lot of money in trade.hks

    What about art that's grotesque, disturbing, repulsive, harsh, etc.?

    Sometimes we use "attractive" in a broader sense, so that with art, we're talking about whether we're "aesthetically attracted" to it, rather than being finding it attractive a la thinking it's pretty, beautiful, etc. "Aesthetically attractive" is another way of simply saying that we feel it has aesthetic value, even though on the pretty/beautiful/etc. level we find it repulsive (or whatever) instead.

    If we try to parse art as being just about beauty, etc., we get into a pickle when we try to understand why people enjoy horror fiction, visual art grotesques, musical genres like noise, etc.
  • hks
    If a creation is not beautiful then it is not art. Then it is trash.
  • Terrapin Station

    So no concern with talking about art from a broader sociological perspective?
  • Queen Cleopatra
    I think the goal of art is to exhibit beauty. Most times that beauty is appreciated through our emotive faculties but even the intellectual faculty has as much participation in appreciating art especially in this century of virtual reality and cyber media.

    On a side note, I have some of the great art masterpieces, the mona lisa, the last supper, the storm of galilee, the madonna - they're mostly religious. Anyway, they are all printed using modern technology. To some, that lessens their beauty because they lack the original artiste's idiosyncrasies and it may be true but they're still just as beautiful.
  • Tomseltje
    It's conceivable that some varieties of 'personal' transcendence are less shared than others, and that art based on this might be less popular and yet no less effective for the smaller group sensitive to it.macrosoft

    I'd say that in order to recognize anything, one needs to have at least some familiarity with the subject to be recognized. For instance in order to appreciate mathematical differential equasions, one first needs to learn what mathematical differencials are. I'd say the same goes for art, wich could be about any subject; In order to recognize the value of the subject portrayed by the art form, one needs to be familiar enough with the subject to be able to recognize it. Subjects that are not recognized don't get any appreciation. Hence very well perfomed art containing less known subjects don't get as much appreciation as lesser performed art on more commenly known subjects.
  • Tomseltje
    Well said, so maybe the best approach is to think in terms of shared potential for subjective (feeling-based) transcendence.macrosoft

    I'd like to add that when I said subjective I didn't mean to reduce the concept to just feeling-based. I intended to make it also include logically deduced possibilities from an inconclusive data set. Feeling-based is one way but I didn't intend to exclude other ways to approach the same phenomenon.
  • Guy Osborn
    I think it's maybe notable that, when you get into discussions about objectivity in the fields of ethics or metaphysics, lots of people seem to admit that both of these things can be infinitely reduced to the point of practical relativity, but nonetheless it's, sort of, a waste of time to do so. It's a useless practice that will end in a cyclical argument and doesn't get us anywhere so you have to, kind of, draw your line in the sand somewhere.
    In the case of objectivity in art, however, it's the general consensus that any claim of objectivity is simply off the table. Has anyone else noticed this inconsistency? Or am I, perhaps, missing something?
  • Terrapin Station
    both of these things can be infinitely reduced to the point of practical relativity,Guy Osborn

    I don't understand what you're saying there.
  • Avro
    with regards to the side question I basically agree with OOO and Graham Harman here... Work of art is "something" just like this galaxy, Ford Motor Company, Emperor Penguin, or lyrics of Lady GaGa song.

    With regards to the goal of art we must look at particular and at universal here. So a single work of art can have a very specific goal in mind, it can be made for profit, or for display, or whatever the goal that the artist states it is.

    Now in universal terms it is much broader, but singularly not alien to our phenomenological receipt of it. For instance one may argue that a goal of medicine is to heal broken bodies in particular, but in universal terms that may mean to change human nature by extending life beyond its natural boundaries. Therefore, in particular art is to be looked at, but in universal terms art is to be seen in a manner that escapes particular approach. Thus looking at Statue of David particularly, is a vista of human creativity in universal terms... That creativity we expirience as extraordinary and we ( not all of us as I am not a fan of modern art ) expirience as art.

    Needless to say, various iterations of blue or red squares in my mind never move ones mind beyond the particular. Thus making it am common place expirience of blue colour.
  • Brett
    I’ve come in a bit late here and I’ve read through the posts. So I hope I’m not going over cold ground here.

    The question is the goal of art. But to answer that question, even in part, you need to address it through eras.

    What was the goal, the objective, of the cave drawings of Lascaux? I don’t think we could even come close to understanding that; our modern minds trying to comprehend the mind of someone who lived approximately 30,000 BC.

    We can begin to understand the goal of Michelangelo: he had to produce a commission for the Vatican.

    We can understand the goal of Velasquez: he was employed by the Spanish King Philip IV.

    We understand the economics and transactions. We we still don’t understand the artist. And we don’t understand him any more than the individual sitting next to us on the train. But because they produce a piece of art we feel that there is something revealed about them. That’s our position in relation to the artist. But if the goal is not financial, or aclaim (which is ultimately financial), or fame (ditto), then what’s left? What could their goal be?

    Who said there was another goal that you could take part in? Who said the art had anything to do with you and your thoughts? Who raised that question?
  • Jesse
    I agree with most of what was posited in this argument, however id find fault in your claim that art not being paraphrasable is only the effect of “great art”. Does this mean that bad art or any type of art can also not be paraphrasable?

    Your argument claims that great works of art exert power that has not diminished over time and that they hold objective truths that cannot be avoided because they generate new or deeper thoughts. I wonder if this is always the case for “great art”. Can bad art or just not “great” art still have power that doesn't diminish over time? Can bad art hold objective truths that when you revisit works of art they still generate new and deeper thoughts?

    I object to this definition of “great art”. Do not all works of art exert some sort of power that hold object truths? Even a simple finger painting of a tree done by a child holds power, objective truths and meaning that generates thought. This art is not necessarily “great”, not in the sense of a Picasso painting or a Shakespeare play, but it still exerts some power and objective truths that cannot be avoided. When I take a trip down memory lane and revisit finger paintings ive done as a child, these works of art still have the same power they had when they were first created and they also generate new thoughts and or deeper thoughts then when I last visited these works. Even though these works of art are not great they still fit in your definition of “great art”.

    If bad art can contain all of these definitions of “great art” couldn't we then claim that a simple drawing of a circle contains all the definitions of great art as well? From this then, we could also claim that a perfect circle does not exist and therefore paraphrasing the drawing of a circle by saying a shape in which all points are equidistant from a fixed center is a fully paraphrased work of art. I think it follows that great art can be paraphrased, certain abstract pieces in museums of simple (approximated) circles are considered great art however it can be fully paraphrased. One can fully paraphrase great art because great art is subjective.

    If bad art fits in your definition of great art and you can fully paraphrase bad art, ie example of the drawing of a circle then you can also paraphrase great works of art because great works of art are all subjective.
  • bronson
    Depends on what you believe about humans. If you believe we are created by God, then there would be the conscious goal of art in the mind of the artist, which could be anything, but that would likely be an illusion, and god would be manifesting the art through the artist for his own strange unknowable goals.

    Or if you believe god is hands-off like deists believe, then the illusiory goal from the previous example would actually be the real goal. Same with if there is no god at all.
  • 180 Proof
    What do you think the goal of a work [of art] is?Cavacava

    Making art seems (the) way we human beings share with - not only, or necessarily, communicate to - each other how one's subjectivity feels while playing with abstract forms or malleable things or bodily orientation to/with other bodies (e.g. dance, erotica) or our environments (e.g. architecture, painting). If there's a goal I suppose it's to give some fleetingly significant form to formlessness, sense to nonsense, or order to chaos ... such that we're briefly distracted from the latter by the former; thus, art may be a tool for survival via improvising 'counterfactual worlds' for us to explore (i.e. colonize ourselves with?) and thereby learn to be flexible/tolerant (i.e. adaptive).


    Aesthetics & Beauty
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