Comments

  • The definition of art
    That particular theory uses Shannon information theory, but others, including myself, are looking toward a non quantifiable theory of information, where information is a fundamental non-quantifiable observable.Pop

    This is where you have to comes to terms with reality: The only non quantifiable theory of information there can be, is the art experience itself. You have, in my thoughts, arrived at the critical point: To the extent that a theory is non quantifiable, it is the very embodiment of the quality it is supposed represent. I wonder, what could this be? A poem? Or am I completely missing something?

    Qualities are demonstrable. Information that conveys, transmits, carries qualities, elicits aesthetic responses itself.

    Academia is coming around to the understanding that information is fundamental - is equal to energy and matterPop

    Energy and matter are just place holders for metaphysics, as I see it. Information presupposes these, just as it presupposes metaphysics.
  • The definition of art
    If something has “nothing whatsoever” to do with qualitative distinctiveness why should it offend?praxis

    "But then, life and death qualitatively has nothing whatsoever to do with actuarial tables. This is why your announcement that art in information offends others here. They think art is profound, religious, or deeply meaningful. Others look to the meanings in play, how truth connects to images, how images are iconographic reflections of the self; and so on."

    Talk about actuary tables in matter of life and death is about an affect neutral response to something that carries great significance for people. The idea is, of course, intended to refer to occasions of life an death outside of contexts where actuary tables are relevant and expected. This much does rely on the reader's discernment.
    Anyway, since I hold that art is essentially about an aesthetic response, about affect, and affect is a qualitative distinction, then having the principle feature of the definition of art to be quantitative, and altogether excluding qualitative properties, is absurd.
  • The definition of art
    These are experiential qualities, and whoever 'they' are, experience art as profound, religious, or deeply meaningful. This has "nothing whatsoever" to do with Pop's claim so it's strange that you say it's offensive.praxis

    What is art? Information.

    What is life and death? An actuary table.

    I thought this clear: The latter is meant to be analogous to the former in that it takes something qualitatively distinct and reduces it to terms quantitative. Read the part where I talk about this.
  • The definition of art
    Strange take, I don’t know anyone who is offended by an actuarial table, or anyone who’s not emotionally affected by artistic quality.praxis

    I cant match what you say here to what I wrote. They are wildly different.
  • The definition of art
    Not really sure what this means. Nevertheless, I am impressed with your energetic, and enthusiastic, philosophy. If you don't mind, I would like to tell you why I hold the fort pretty well. My understanding is based in systems theory, constructivism, enactivism, integrated information theory, and yogic logic. Half of these are main stream science, and the other half are about to be, and Yogic logic agrees with a lot of it. They have an information theoretic running through them, which I am in the process of understanding. They create a picture of everything existing as interactive systems and subsystems in an enmeshed and interdependent evolutionary process. This mix of theoretical understanding unifies and integrates very well, and can be used to understand almost any system or situation, from complex financial systems, to tiny simple microorganisms.

    As I see it, most contemporary understanding is based on a mix of these theories, spiced up with insight and data from here and there. Such as this theory of individuality released last year. Unfortunately most understanding on this forum is rather old - being based on old philosophy that did not have the benefit of these theories, or the contemporary view that information is something fundamental. Most of this older philosophy is fundamentally flawed in this way, and as a result so is the understanding that is based on it. This is largely my opinion, which I thought I'd share with you if you are interested. I thought it might be something you might want to look into as a way to strengthen your philosophy, by expanding it to incorporate an information theoretic. Of course it is hardly my place to tell you what to do
    Pop

    Heh, heh, careful what you call old. Speaking for myself, the post, post modern works that have a lineage that reaches back to Kant, through, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, and into the current French Husserlians who examine the phenomenological reduction of Husserl, like Jean Luc Nancy, Michel Henry and others; and, speaking of yoga, the way the reduction aligns with, explains phenomenologically, yogic practices (yoga, from the Sanskrit meaning, to join. I suspect when you talk about yoga logic, you have this in mind. Keep in mind, the point here is to establish a union with something ultimate and profound), as well as others contributions.
    I read through The information theory of individuality you provided a link for, about half way through. I find this:

    Shannon did not describe entropy in terms of heat flow and work but in terms of information shared through a channel transmitted from a signaler to a receiver. The power of information theory derives in part from the incredible generality of Shannon’s scheme. The signaler can be a phone in Madison and the receiver a phone in Madrid, or the signaler can be a parent and the receiver its offspring. For phones, the channel is a fiber-optic cable and the signal pulses of light. For organisms the channel is the germ line and the signal the sequence of DNA or RNA polynucleotides in the genome

    The virtue of this concept seems to lie in the way it describes the fluidity and interference in passing from one agency to another of some quantity, the original form of which is entropically diminished, distorted, etc. in transmission. The "information" designates a wide variety of possibilities, from sound vibrations across a wire to hereditary biological features found genetic material.

    Such a concept even applies to the preservation of the self in time: how much is actually preserved of this constructed self in the transmission of self in time from past through to future? The self is in decay, or, each moment is an entropic loss of the previous, and perhaps a reconstruction: the self is thereby defined as a fluid reconstruction of information, what Husserl called predelineation: We live in an adumbration of the past that is presented in eidetically formed predicated affairs, to use his language. I find this interesting, and perhaps I will look into it.

    My trouble, as I read through this, is that it is entirely a quantifiable analysis. Aesthetics is not quantifiable, or it is (in some hedonic scheme), but this is not the point; the point is, quantifying is altogether absent of the quality, and aesthetics is all about quality. All talk about complex transmissions of information may be true, as the actuarial tables are true for people selling insurance, and no one can say such tables are false, or wrong. They're not. But then, life and death qualitatively has nothing whatsoever to do with actuarial tables. This is why your announcement that art in information offends others here. They think art is profound, religious, or deeply meaningful. Others look to the meanings in play, how truth connects to images, how images are iconographic reflections of the self; and so on.

    To me, it is a bit like looking at the human condition and its most meaningful dimension, and saying, well, what does the actuarial table say? You may be right, I mean, the table might be a true account. But how is this quantitative account even remotely adequate?
  • The definition of art
    But here again, the Experience of Solidity is only justified by the existence of Truth, imo, yes, but I see no other possibility.PseudoB

    But what does this mean? Solidity? Truth? These are meaningless without context, even if the context is talk about acontextuality, which would need further discussion. Explanations can be a way to terminate explanations, in Occam's razor fashion. But this has to be, well, explained, laid clear.
  • The definition of art
    So can anyone explain why “the Good”, in and of itself, supposes the opposite to have to be?

    I understand that most use contrast to justify this, but clearly the Gnostics have found no need to maintain giving life to death. To be clear, I am not set on any particular “religion”. I do however equate the Experience of Solidity whatsoever with Truth, and all Ideas as a Water, thus making much sense, or shall I say, making such Thoth, Thought, sensible, tho clearly Cabalistic in revelation.

    This Absolution of Good, presents as an accessible Kingdom, a Realm in which Mind is a realm tainted by Division. This division is maintained throughout all society, and as noted in the scriptures, “a house divided cannot stand”. It may be necessary to maintain a Forceful mindset, but to maintain Humility in a Circle would put Nature under Subjection, and without Force….

    Some would call this the Stone.
    PseudoB

    Lots of metaphors in there. Perhaps you could say it in straight prose. Doing this, using language with as much clarity as possible, without yielding to dogmatic clarity, which I think is what analytic philosophy has done, is the only way to reveal the idea.
    On dogmatic clarity: this is the insistence that meaning is confined to the accessible, familiar language possibilities. Alas for this as an abiding principle, the world is not like this at all. It is a mystical place, to put it flatly, the foundations of which are intimated as revelatory. This is why I don't condemn such talk as yours as blatantly obscurantist. It is obscure, but the world is obscure at the level of basic questions. But this doesn't mean we shouldn't try our best to clarify---not at all. This clarifying what is at a distance from what language can say clearly is philosophy's job.
  • The definition of art
    But we can not put the cart before the horse.Pop

    Not to provoke, but just a quick note: this cart before the horse? The real construction of horses and carts lies in the hor-ca-se-rt. This is phenomenology. Dewey was close to this, but like I said, he missed the boat...or cart.
  • The definition of art
    Well, without being too open, I will try to point at it. Reason being because one must invest into the equation, to have a personal experience with the Truth, else one is just taking another’s experience as Gospel, with no personal evidence.

    The scientific mind is indeed the closest to the Truth in these days, but on needs to see the relationship between where we came from and how the four Elements function. The relationship of the Elements, in practice, presents as a fire heated seven times hotter than normal.

    This furnace is depicted in every Cathedral, and the hints in concrete and metal artwork throughout history. The Key allows for the greening and growing of Splendor Solis, that is also in every business building’s artwork, whether in stone or art.

    Once one can see this unspoken Cabala all throughout every aspect of society, as a constant reminder of the renewing of the mind needed to accomplish the Worke.

    Many have said there is more Truth in the first ten scriptures of Genesis than in all the libraries of the world. To answer the question, “what is Truth”, I can only answer: what has no opposition, and is always, regardless of Experience. Truth accounts for all experience of solidity, where all came from a Water.

    I hope I have not overstepped.
    PseudoB

    As for me, I don't think you overstep at all. It is rather welcome, and this is because, while I don't attend much to religious scriptures, I do take them seriously as a means of addressing the world at the threshold of thought where the totality of ideas meet their match and simply have to fall away.
    I think one always has to keep Wittgenstein in mind. The Good, he said, was divinity, but one may not speak of it. It is a given, and language cannot penetrate this, so one should simply not try to speak of it. This goes to aesthetics, for these feelings and these extraordinary encounters at the threshold of things in music and art are absolutes. Value is an absolute. An unpopular position, but then, everyone else is wrong on this. I would make the point that philosophy can make inroads into religious matters. The way to do this lies with ethics and aesthetics, or, more precisely, metaethics and metaaesthetics. MetaValue! This is at the philosophical core of religion.
  • The definition of art
    So the basis of the scientific method being used to validate Experience, would only ensure the solidifying of a grand circular idea??PseudoB

    Circular in that a pragmatic theory of knowledge knows no way out. Peirce was the only one who had this "long run" part of his thesis that suggested that affairs in a community of inquirers eventually would resolve in something inevitable, and opposition would be won over. Something like that. Rorty seemed to think something along these lines, holding his liberal irony thesis in which ethical systems would eventually become stable out pure pragmatic necessity. I'd have to read his Contingency, Irony and Solidarity again to recall it well. He said the world is made, not discovered. I think he is both right and wrong.
    But look at the scientific method. It is the conditional logical structure of causal events in the world. What is a star, for example? It is, "when one observes a star, certain effects result, and are designated by erms like brightness, distance, doppler red shifts, and so on. Of course, the whole matter is extremely complex, but that is what knowledge is, the "forward looking" anticipation of a thing that predelineates the thing antecedent to encounter. So, to know, is to anticipate what will happen with regard to engagement. This is the hypothetical deductive method, so called. Pragmatists think this is what a knowledge experience is, an event that confirms an anticipation. Circular? There is in this no Hegelian finality.
    But then, while I agree that this is what knowledge of object is about, and this is a temporal theory, which has to be the case, I don't believe it is the be all and end all of our being in the world at all.
  • The definition of art
    But the reductive direction of this for a human being is appalling
    — Constance

    Ha, ha, You mean this is far different to the ingratiating and romantic philosophy of the likes of Dewey and co. Yes it is. The thing to remember is that this is just the barebones underlying logic. It still need to be interpreted in terms of daily life and aspirations, and so on. So there is plenty of room to romanticize it if that is what you wish, and any sensible philosopher wishing to be popular would be wise to do this to some extent. :grin:

    But then, the aesthetic of art, which I claim is essential, indeed, the most essential, defining, dimension of art, is subordinated to information, hence, the trouble with the direction of this reduction, and it is the same as calling food information or a sprained ankle information: such a reductive tendency leads to a foolish loss of MEANING. Meaning must be front and center, and information is just a dimension of meaning.
    — Constance

    I'm afraid you misunderstand, and I can not see a simple way to redirect you. I will be doing a few more information threads in the near future, so If you are interested perhaps take it up then.

    Instead I'll say: Meaning only exists as integrated information - when information is unified and integrated it becomes meaningful, and not before.

    And: In an experience you are inFormed, and you have an experience in relation to how you are informed. So information is the fundamental observable - the fundamental interaction that gives rise to experience, in all situations, including art.
    Pop

    No worries Pop. I think you're qualifiedly wrong here, wrong in spades there, but you hold the fort pretty well. Looking forward to future posts, but frankly, you'll have a very hard time winning me over to this line of thought. Consider: I vigorously defend precisely the opposite of your views. Integrated information's meaning is meaningless without value. All things have their foundational grounding in the aesthetic dimension of our existence, for as Hume said of reason, the same holds for information: in itself, it is empty. This is why Dewey had the right approach, just the wrong ideas. The aesthetic is not wrought out of pragmatic consummatory experiences; rather, the aesthetic is discovered in these.
    Wittgenstein opened my eyes to this, in his Tracatus and his Lecture on Ethics. But the issues here have nothing to do with contemporary theory and its infatuation with information.
  • The definition of art
    Art devoid of Truth is merely imagination without will.PseudoB

    What can this mean????????? Not that it is wrong, but it requires some explanation as to truth, will. I mean, where does will enter into it?
  • The definition of art
    I was an idealist, but am now an enactivist. It is a slightly better understanding, imo.

    Yes, it is a different understanding of information, compared to what generally prevails. It fits the following theories: Integrated Information Theory tells us that consciousness exists as moments of integrated information. Systems Theory tells us that interaction is information, and nothing exists outside of interaction. Enactivism tells us that we are enacted / interacted in the world informationally, and Constructivism tells us that it is a body of integrated information that becomes knowledge, in an evolving and idiosyncratic fashion and what we are is a product of this.
    Pop

    But the reductive direction of this for a human being is appalling. Surely you see that, even while you want to allow consciousness its breadth and depth of experience, by generalizing to information, you lean toward this term to do your explaining. Keep in mind the way behaviorists dealt with human meanings in their reductive tendencies.
    Idealism? Better, phenomenology: this term makes MEANING front and center, a meaning is broad enough a term to be inclusive if information (say, dictionary or encyclopedic knowledge) as well as affective experiences.
    Of course, to give this the benefit of the doubt, consider that an art object is a system of signs, and we are the interpreters. Just as I see a cup AS a cup, I see an artwork AS an artwork. This would be as close as I can imagine the idea of information being plausible. But then, the aesthetic of art, which I claim is essential, indeed, the most essential, defining, dimension of art, is subordinated to information, hence, the trouble with the direction of this reduction, and it is the same as calling food information or a sprained ankle information: such a reductive tendency leads to a foolish loss of MEANING. Meaning must be front and center, and information is just a dimension of meaning.
  • The definition of art
    Yes information needs to be redefined, or perhaps better put - it's original meaning needs to be reinstated - which is to inForm - literally change the shape of, including changing the shape of mind.

    Information and consciousness are related and enormous topics in information philosophy which is the way of the future, imo. I think we are near enough in our understanding. I will do more information threads in the future, so perhaps we can discuss in more detail later. This relates to your previous post.
    Pop

    Not my post. No matter. So you're saying the art object (not art) is reducible to a transcendental information bearing medium. This turns the object into pure potential. And information? IF information is defined as being free of information, as this definition tells us it is, for the object is divested of all observable qualities (hence, transcendental) and all that remains is dispositional "qualities" whatever that could be, then this is also true of newspapers, and everything else.....; then this would be a real stretch from the way we think of information, and you would have to be an idealist of sorts.

    Well, I am an idealist of sorts. So my only gripe is that you have defined information by the limits of its meaning.
  • The definition of art
    There is no correct definition of artRussellA

    The reason art cannot be given a definition is that art is affect-entangled, and entanglements are arbitrary, meaning there is nothing in affect that constrains what art can be since there is no thing that cannot be so entangled. Art is IN the fabric of experience, taken up by those with a purpose to do so. Dewey was right, but problem solving's consummatory feature seems an unlikely explanation. Affect is, as Wittgenstein said (reluctantly), mysterious, but it is THE essential feature of art.

    The definition "art is a bottle of Guinness" is as correct as any other. Definitions are determined by Institutions and the majority of interested people.RussellA

    Begs the question: But then, I ask, what is it about a bottle of Guinness makes it art?

    Various definitions of art

    @Constance - "Art has this, I say. It is called the aesthetic"
    @Constance - "The question of art lies with one question: is there anything that is both the essence of art, what makes art, art, and absolute?"

    My personal definition of visual art is aesthetic form of pictographic representation
    RussellA

    And, you mean that which elicits aesthetic rapture? Bell's book ART says this. There is something plausible about this, but then, visual form may elicit the aesthetic, but form as such is not some emerging quality of form, for form itself is not aesthetic. One has to go elsewhere for this.
    But it is the formal properties that make or break the affect. Music as well. Literature, narratives, poetry are far too entangled for this, though. These are not "fine" arts, are they. But then poetry is closer, concentrated, if you will. Dewey was right on that account.

    Across the board, it is affect that endures as the essence of art. Entanglement makes theory indeterminate, as with ethics; nonetheless, no affect/aesthetic, no art.

    I can describe objective facts about the colour red - seen in strawberries, sunsets, etc, has a wavelength of 625 to 700nm. I can also describe objective facts about the aesthetic - unity in variety, observed in a painting by Matisse, a book by Cormac Mccarthy, a song by Sade, etc. But I can never describe the subjective experience of the colour red or the aesthetic to someone who can never experience the colour red or aesthetic. However, I can use language to communicate my subjective experience of the colour red or aesthetic to another person who has also experienced the colour red or aesthetic.

    IE, language can communicate general things about subjective experiences but can never communicate the particular subjective experience.
    RussellA

    Something like that, or not. Too many issues in this. My take is that there is no world, only worlds. Not to say there isn't anything outside of a given world, just that whatever that is, it is not a world. But the interiority of a world, now that is where all meaning is, that Cartesian center: not just a cogito, but an affective-cogito discoverable, it is argued, through apophatic argument.

    But this is particular knowledge, in that I am not able to imagine an bitter taste independent of experiencing through my senses an object in the world that gives me the subjective experience of a bitter taste. This a priori knowledge is about the possibility of being able to experience a particular subjective experience, not the subjective experience itself. The point is that this a priori knowledge of the possibility of experiencing a particular subjective experience exists in the brain prior to any observation of the world through the senses.RussellA

    Take a look here: Ours senses deliver experiences to us. Predication is not apriori, but empirically discursive, as when we say the the sky is blue, this has to be affirmed with a reference to the empirical event in which the sky appears, and is blue. Apriority is a reference to what is discovered In this experience but is not delivered through predication, but is true by virtue of the experience's givenness. Reason, thought Kant, is apriori because, while it is discovered in judgment and thought, the empirical conditions of its affirmation do not deliver this. It is rather in the form of a judgment. When you talk about the apriority of color, taste and so on, you are then saying that there is something in the delivery of color, say, AS color that is not discursive, but simply given.

    Calling an eclair sweet is certainly not apriori, for one has to taste the eclair, recognize the sweetness, associate the eclair with the sweetness, then make the judgment. You are saying the taste in its givennes is not determined by experience. Givenness is not determined empirically because it is not a determination based on experience, it IS experience. It is not about the brain at all. It is a phenomenological matter, looking exclusively to the givenness, and not to extraneous discursions.
    One trouble thinking like this comes from Derrida and postmodern thinking on direct apprehensions in the "immediacy" of the given. But I am not interested in that here. I follow Husserl and his epoche as it is developed in post post modern thinking (Jean luc Marion and others). And it is here I will leave off making any references to who said what, for my thinking is in a simple (certainly related, though) argument:

    I think art is to grounded in the aesthetic, and the aesthetic is to be grounded in affect. Beyond this, something may HAVE an "art" to it, as in the art of winning friends or basket weaving, or the culinary "arts" but to the extent a thing is appreciated for its utility or its cognitive "properties" (definitions, predications of other things or within its own parts, say), or it "informational" properties (the OP here) it is not art. The "art of such and such" certainly does possess affect, but then, everything possesses affect, which is why "everything is art" seems to hold up. Art requires taking a thing AS art, and this AS looks to its affective dimension.

    This brings the issue to Wittgenstein, and why he refused to talk about ethics and aesthetics. The Good and the Bad here are not contingent, but absolute, and he would talk about such things because they are simply givens, and discussion cannot be useful. In fact, conversation is nonsense on matters like this. He goes too far, I think, in denying that sense can be made here (in the Tractatus. Language games? Not so sure).

    The reason I say a definition of art is qualifiedly possible is because art's aesthetic is given, and givens, I claim, are absolutes. I can argue this pretty well I believe, but that would be up to you and your interests.
  • The definition of art
    The viewer experiences the art work in a Enactivist fashion, where the consciousness of the viewer and the form of the art work, interact to cause an experience. The experience is not entirely the result of the artwork, nor entirely the result of the viewer, but is an amalgam of the two - experienced by the viewer. In the best of cases, these two gel to cause a pleasant experience, rather than repel, which would be an unpleasant experience, or one that is bypassed altogether.Pop

    Enactivism? If a person wants to examine at the basic level the interface between things and their subjective counterparts, one will NEVER be able to distinguish the two. You can argue against this if you like, but analytic philosophers gave up on this impossible idea long ago. They now simply put the whole epistemic embarrassment aside and imagine Kant through Heidegger never existed.
    If you are interested in, as Hegel put it, the truth, then basic level assumptions have to be dealt with, and this leads only to one place: phenomenology.
    So the information bearing object has no status at all until it is received. I would call this a qualified information bearing transcendental object (hermeneutically defined AS art upon arrival. This "AS" of course, puts art back in the hands of the aesthetic and its nature. This is inherently affective); but information has to be redefined in a way that defies its essential meaning.
  • The definition of art
    When information informs you, it changes your neural state such that you ultimately have an experience.Pop

    But the art object did not carry or transfer or simply "inform" about something else. Rather, when the art object is absent, and one is left with the "information" we actually find the presence of the object. What is it that is there in consciousness, the authentic locus of art, that is not the object, but rather, what the object delivered, told about, informed about? When I think of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, it is the same music I hear in the "object" of the performance. What does a Dickens tale tell that is not the tale itself?

    Suggested here is the myth of the art object: There is no object that properties inhere in. All along, the consciousness itself is what inheres in the art work. for boundaries fall apart in analysis. The art work and its affect and ideas are one "object". Thus, (and this is very much Dewey) there is no separation in anything, but rather, all separations (like Kant's reason) are analytically abstracted. Information, in cognitive, truth bearing vehicles like paintings and novels, cannot be distanced at all from consciousness, for they are an intrinsic part of it.

    Is information inherently aesthetic for you? There never really was any consciousness-neutral object that informed simply, for to even mention the object, to conceive it is to "make" a conscious construction. Perhaps you think the object is a transcendental medium, appearing to consciousness AS information (for this is what we do at the moment of apprehension), but in itself without any identifiable features. After all, once such features are posited, we are then IN consciousness. If the art object is a transcendental medium, then there is overcome the objection that the object and conscious apprehension of the object are the same thing, for the object now has no features at all. There is no symphonic performance out there and in here (my consciousness) the artistic event, for the performance itself is a conscious event. I actually come close to endorsing this.

    But you do insist on that one big point of contention: Information???? Here I am enjoying this novel or aesthetically enraptured (Clive Bell) by a Van Gogh: Is it the case that I have been "informed" by the actual object. whatever it is? Informed by a newspaper, yes, but....One is not informed when have an aesthetic experience. This is cognitive, this being informed.

    The art object is not information bearing, it is evocative, arousing, empassioning, and so forth.
  • The definition of art
    Sentient life is not just an observer of the world but is a part of the world

    The human observer does not lead an existence separate to the world. The human is an integral part of the world, and has been part of an evolutionary process stretching back at least 3.7 billion years - a synergy between all parts of the physical world, of matter and force, between nature and life.

    IE, the human is not an outside observer of the world, but part of the world
    RussellA

    And Rorty would agree with you, as long as you are not stepping into metaphysics. His pragmatism, at the level of basic questions, agrees with Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Dewey (and Khun, his favorites for the 20th century). Science is unassailable in the language and pragmatic affairs that make our world work. But just don't think science has some grasp on the things foundationally: Even a LITTLE, don't think this. This is nonsense for him, for all things are, at this level, pragmatic constructions. Evolution, at this level, says nothing, and claims that it does is just bad metaphysics.

    Most are not inclined to go this far.

    The pragmatist holds the position that the purpose of our beliefs as expressed in language is not to understand the true nature of reality existing on the other side of our senses, but to succeed in whatever environment we happen to find ourselves. As with Kant's synthetic a priori, we make sense of the world by imposing our a priori concepts onto the world we observe

    However, the human observer does not have a separate existence to the reality of any world external to their senses, but is an intrinsic part of reality. The observer is part of the world and the world is part of the observer, they are one and the same.
    RussellA

    But then, when you are pressed to say what world is that you are a part of, you re referred back to the self, same as Kant. The question about all this really lies with metaphysics, good or bad? Bad metaphysics extends theory beyond what can be "witnessed" (challenging here the positivists), but good metaphysics asks, what is there in what is witnessed that gives rise to metaphysics at all? Your "observer is part of the world" goes to this, for to speak of a world of which we are a part is to speak of something not witnessable, like a chair or a pen: the world is not a particular, but nor is it general concept. Life gets a little spooky, or it should, at this point. Most philosophers don't see it this way, holding a reductive view of "the world" to this or that identifiable category. Husserl to Levinas makes sense of this for me.

    Anyway, keep in mind that the Tractatus Wittgenstein would throw up red flags to expressions like "part of the world" for world's opposite here cannot even be imagined. Thoughts draw limits, and no limit can be seen. (I have always thought this threshold itself was the nonsense, though. Metaphysics is In the physics, if you will.)

    And finally, the whole matter collapses into triviality regarding ethics and aesthetics, if nothing can be affirmed at this level.

    As the observer is part of reality, then any beliefs the observer has about the reality of logic, aesthetics, ethics, space, time, etc must also be an inherent part of reality itself.RussellA

    I agree with this. But I don't think we have the same views on it.

    Rather than we make sense of a reality external to our senses by imposing our a priori concepts onto it, part of reality makes sense of itself through a priori concepts.

    IE, the pragmatist holds the position that the human observer only has an indirect contact with reality through the senses, whereas in fact, the human observer's knowledge also comes from being in direct contact with reality, being an intimate part of reality.
    RussellA

    That is a sticky wicket you just said. There is a good reason Rorty and others deny that knowledge can in any way align with "reality" at the foundational level. The reason is that it seems impossible to remove from what we know the means of knowing itself. This is why analytic philosophers are so bad at epistemology: Affirming (believing, knowing) P, by S, never gets beyond justification. This means the "aboutness" of P is entirely lost unless you can make that essential "connection" between knower and known. All claims to some "objective" world independent of justification simply falls away. 'Objective' simply becomes part of the whole, as you say below.
    But this doesn't mean there is no way to affirm the Real in an absolute sense (my sticky wicket): it is affirmed through value, the interest, caring, affect,desire, enjoying, suffering, and on and on. This is the only dimension of judgment that survives the failure of the terms of justification, because, while it is delivered in language (pragmatically construed, contingent), it has a determinacy that is not a construct of language. This is the issue for metaethics, meta aesthetics, metavalue: the noncontingent Good and the Bad. What IS music's affect?

    And this "partial contact with Reality" will not hold water with the likes of Rorty, Dewey, or anyone else. Such a reality is, as with all things, a pragmatic construction, future looking in an anticipated response, the truth being the consummatory conclusion. It is a hard pill to swallow for most, but we live in pragmatic Time, events, and Being/Reality is just a vacuous construction in the matter of ontology. To call something partial implies the whole to make sense. It doesn't.

    The question as to whether the aesthetic exists in the object observed the other side of the sense or within the observer disappears, as the reality on the other side of the senses is the very same reality as within the observer, in that there is only one reality. The aesthetic within the world and the aesthetic within the observer are one and the same, as any aesthetic in the sentient life is exactly the same as the aesthetic in the world from which it evolved over billions of years. IE, The word "aesthetic" only exists within human language, which only exists within humans, which exist within the world, meaning that "aesthetics" must exist in a world within which humans exist.

    As I see it, the aesthetic is an abstract expression of the human ability to discover pattern in seemingly chaotic situations, to discover uniformity in variety, an invaluable trait in evolutionary survival. As Francis Hutcheson wrote in 1725: “What we call Beautiful in Objects, to speak in the Mathematical Style, seems to be in a compound Ratio of Uniformity and Variety; so that where the Uniformity of Bodys is equal, the Beauty is as the Variety; and where the Variety is equal, the Beauty is as the Uniformity”.
    RussellA

    The "other side" is noumenal impossibility if you're talking about what is left when all experience making faculties leave the room. But then, there is this side, the Cartesian center fomr which all meaning issues. Not observable in the usual sense, but philosophy cares nothing for the usual sense, or shouldn't. Not so much as the cogito as a transcendental locus of intuitive disclosure. Meanings emerge here.

    There is no billions of years to measure things at this level of analysis. Evolution, physics, and all empirical science are out the window. This is now phenomenology. But I agree completely that "aesthetics exists in (the) world". Itis simply arbitrary to localize human affairs apart from the whole. But the question then lies with how to determine where the center is to all this. Science is dethroned, and meaning (as Heidegger said) is front and center. A new ontological hierarchy, and Rorty is on board, as am I. Evolution has always been uninformative, anyway, for it could never explain meaning, aesthetic, ethical. Dictionary meanings? Somewhat.

    As to Beauty, I don't think, frankly, Hutcheson had a clue, for all that is said to account for beauty, lacks the very element of the beautiful. It is like emergent qualities theory: X emerges from Y, where Y is qualitatively absent of X. Senseless. The aesthetic is "its own presupposition". It is simple, unanalyzable. Value is this, which is why Wittgenstein would never talk about it. Nothing to say. He was wrong on that account.

    For me, important visual art requires aesthetic form of pictographic representation. As expressed by Hegel, formal quality is the unity or harmony of different elements in which these elements are not just arranged in a regular, symmetrical pattern but are unified organically together with a content of freedom and richness of spirit (though for me not a content of the divine).

    Summary

    In summary, the pragmatists are making the mistake of not taking into account the fact that because we are in intrinsic part of the world, this world "is also discovered, as well as made".
    RussellA


    Yes, that part about the divine is important, though. The artwork is a mirror of the spirit, for Hegel, and the aesthetic discovered therein is metaphysical. The meta aesthetic question is the only one there is at the basic level. I think Hegel is right about this (though I won't be winning many friends on this point. People don't think this is intellectually responsible talk. But call them on this, and they can't defend it.)
  • The definition of art
    Yes, it possesses information about that affair, as you put it. It is entirely information about that affair.Pop

    You mean it "informs" which is does. But you are bypassing the point: That thing out there is not nor ever was independent of what is "in here"

    Anything deemed to be art is art, end of enquiry. This is because we have a long history of this being the case, and the fact that art was thought to be indefinite.Pop

    Well, if THAT i what you think art is, you are starkly begging the question: what is it that art IS, such that when you call something art you have some property in mind? No property, no predication, then no meaning. Like saying, "Snow is W*&^$&@*." (Keeping in mind that yours is a definition of art, or, the art obejct.)
    We have a long history of explaining what good government is, but this by no means tells us us we are finally right because history has been around all these years. It always has to be understood that philosophers are professional thinking people, and, as Hegel said, all propositions carry their own negation. The trick, I believe I mentioned, is to find a grounding for art that is not contingent of language. That is the aesthetic. Philosophers have PUT art in disarray, just as they chase everything around until exhaustion and absurdity rule. They do this because they will not admit foundational talk, and, I have to add, rightly so, because this is the death of free thought, dogmatism; BUT, the vagaries of art's definition do not mean there is no "presence" that is there. (A very interesting issue. Wittgenstein said ethics and aesthetics make impossible claims-- absolute claims! For value is not observable. This is why it is so hard to talk about it, well, meta-art issues. But: there is no mistaking the, call it, the ontologicality of good and bad. In art, imagine music or a painting that is so compelling, so affectively stirring, and the "aesthetic" is unmistakable. Without this, the music would be nothing. The aesthetic makes music, music. The same with all else. Remove this dimension of the experience, and the is no art, just talk

    Talk, language, logic and cognition, is not AS SUCH, aesthetic. This is a prima facie resaon to dismiss the statement, Art is information. But then, your argument is that the art OBJECT is information, right? There is a big difference. But I say, the art object cannot be removed fromt he inner experience because this experience is not about something else, as with information, but IS that object, just as you cannot experience inwardly Van Gogh's Boots painting without an explicit reference to the object. This is different from, say, a letter sent INFORMING of something that has nothing at all to do with the medium of information: Good news that you won the lottery has nothing to do with those words on a page.

    Art IS informed, transported from one to another through an information medium, most certainly. But the art work itself IS IN that which is informed. So the art object cannot be simply information.

    As I have explained a number of times now - we cannot predict what art will be in its form, or what the experiential reaction to this form will be. These things are endlessly variable and open ended, so can not form part of any definition of art.

    Hopefully this answers your question - yes an art work is information, and it is information about the consciousness of the artist. It exists in some form, and this form by virtue of being something physical is aesthetic, so is always experiential. But there is nothing definite about the form, or any resultant aesthetic, or experience. We can not predict what the form of art will be in a hundred years, or the experience that will result from it, so can not define art in these terms. These terms are variable, they do not always exist in art, and it is unpredictable how they might exist in future. For a definition, we need to focus on the things that always exist in art, and the only thing that always exist in art is that art work is information about the artists consciousness - everything else is variable! That is why this is a definition - such as it is. :grin:
    — Pop

    There is a limit to art however, and that limit is the artists thinking - an artist cannot make art about something that they cannot think about. So art is an expression of consciousness, and no more. It is not an expression of something beyond the consciousness of the artist - cannot possibly be. So is information about the consciousness of the artist, including the subconscious.
    Pop

    Some things here a bit odd: "by virtue of being physical is aesthetic"? But this says the physical is what produces the aesthetic. But if anything is aesthetic, it is not the object, but the subjective response to the object. The object is supposed to be merely "information" about the goings on in consciousness. Are you saying the aesthetic lies in the evocative powers of the object? But evocative brings in a new dimension to information that don't really hold: is what "informs" that which is evocative? This latter is more causative, isn't it? To inform means to possess X and to pass it along. Evoke is to inspire, motivate, cause. If an art work is evocative of something, it is not informing me, but eliciting something else within. Information is a troubling term here throughout. N
    Nothing definite about the form? Why, what do you mean by "definite"? You mean, the "what it is" is indeterminate? But all things are this if you look to explanatory affairs exclusively, for you are deep in metaphysics now and are simply denying absolutes, and this is a point of contention. I cannot SAY what being in love ism for language does not speak the world, does not say the ISness about the presences encountered, which leads to the post Heidegger world of postmodern thinking. But in aesthetic and ethics, therein lies true presence. A highly debatable issue. Postmodern thinking is right on the money in much I have read; but when value is brought before it, it falls flat.

    I cannot understand this at all:
    This is For a definition, we need to focus on the things that always exist in art, and the only thing that always exist in art is that art work is information about the artists consciousness - everything else is variable!

    Frankly, just the opposite is the case. Information is interpretative, for all meanings are indeterminate. It is the aesthetic that remains after all talk is done. Wittgenstein held this, and he was right, only wrong about his strict line of what was allowable in meaningful speech (in the Tractatus, that is).

    Finally all this remains blind to the artwork's inextricable presence in experience: the symphony is not a vehicle of aesthetic information, for the artwork IS the experience. See the above.
  • The definition of art
    With postmodernism, where anything can be art, then there cannot be good art or bad art. Then the well-known artwork A mail box in a lake is equal to the most prominent postmodernist works in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (badly named, however)

    But in modernism, where art has been defined (albeit in more than one way), there can be good and bad art. Then a child's crayon sketch of a dog can never be the equal of a Rembrandt or Matisse.
    RussellA

    Just to add: Rorty thought things could be reconciled pragmatically. I look at him like this: there are no absolutes for, in good old Hegelian fashion, all utterances contain their own contradiction, and for Rorty, this world is "made, not discovered" and the contradictions are essentially pragmatic. But it is in pragmatics that things get settled. Art may be an open concept, utterly, but it is grounded in the pragmatic authority of our times, our zeitgeist, if you will. Peirce has a "long run" view that Rorty had to dismiss, but I think Rorty believes that in the play of thought, irony, that is, some things comes out ahead of others in concepts like a successful society, a well structured social environment.
    There was this essay by Simon Critchley which called him on this. Sound like Rorty wants to have his cake and eat it. too: Pragmatism holds NO favorites, and cares nothing for a well governed world.
  • The definition of art
    The problem is, how can the idea that "the essence of art is as an aesthetic" be expressed but not in propositional form, if as you say that "propositions are inherently defeatable" and "words all carry their own negation" ?RussellA

    Why, RussellA, you surprise me. That IS the question. It is the issue of "presence" or the metaphysics of presence, which issues from the assumption that any given moment of experience can never be this immediate apprehension: affirmations of the world are inherently expressions of underlying complexity, "adumbrations" of what was past that, on apprehension of an object, or anything at all (eidetic or otherwise), gather to produce identity and knowledge. This general line of thought is Heidegger's contra Husserl, claiming the latter was "walking on water". This is picked up by Derrida, who coined "the metaphysics of presence". The solution lies with Kierkegaard's Concept of Anxiety. Kierkegaard saw that temporality subsumed the past-into-future dynamic. The real solution is this: past and future can only be In the eternal present, in and of and throughout, the unrealized present; unrealized because, and this becomes a major theme is the existentialism to come, in our everydayness we are naturally disposed ignore the present AS present, and we live in an inherited body of culture which fixates and dazzles our engagements.

    Fascinating, really. I am reading Hegel now and everywhere I see Kierkegaard, and everywhere in Kierkegaard I see Sartre, Heidegger, and so on. But this doesn't advance my point.

    The real issue lies in meta-aesthetics/ethics: what is the Good? Wittgenstein thought the Good was divinity, and I think this problematically right. Witt was very fond of Kierkegaard. My entrance into this issue begins with the concrete: that spear in my side and the pain it produces: this is not an interpretative construction of language, even though language brings its disclosure to "light". This pain/joy dimension of our existence is the existential essence of aesthetics. Dewey didn't talk like this, but he was right: the Real is an originary whole, cognitive, aesthetic, sensory, intuitive, that is in essence pragmatic. The understanding is pragmatic, I claim, which is why the aesthetic cannot be spoken (and Wittgenstein does not speak of it. Though, Witt was no pragmatist). It is a "presence" which is simply there.

    Interesting how this works out. If you follow Heidegger, no foundation can exist, for hermenuetics resists such a thing (though he is attacked on this very idea). We take up the world "as" the interpretative meaning (and Derrida later saying these meanings are self referential in their Saussurian differences). I admit this is right, not to put too fine a point on it, but in aesthetics and ethics, there is value. Value is non cognitive; of course, as with all things, cognition "takes up" present pain or joy and the recognition of it in thought depends on this (accepting that we are agencies of thought) . The difference here is that these aesthic/ethical modes, if you will, "speak". They have a nature beyond what can be spoken, yet they speak undeniably, intuitively of what they are. This is a very different affair from say, some qualia, like Moore's color yellow.

    Of course, these thoughts are a work in progress. Any contribution you can make would be appreciated.
  • The definition of art
    Language is not part of the essence of a modernist artwork.
    I don't want to give the impression that I think that linguistic descriptions are part of the fundamental essence of a modernist artwork. Descriptions and definitions (succinct descriptions) may be helpful in the viewer's understand of the artwork but any such description is external to the artwork.

    Though language is important in understanding the artwork
    For example, when looking at a Classical Greek sculpture such as Laocoon and his Sons, admired by Hegel for its form and content, a deeper understanding of both the artwork and artist may be gained by knowing that for Hegel formal qualities meant "a unity and harmony of different elements in which these elements are not just arranged in a regular, symmetrical pattern but are unified organically" and content meant "an expression of freedom and richness of spirit".

    Language is part of the essence of a postmodernist artwork
    Language in postmodernism has a different function to that of language in modernism.
    In postmodernism, there has been a blurring of the lines between art and language, where language itself has become a part of the artwork and where through the text the viewer is invited to directly engage with political and social issues within contemporary life. In postmodernism, the artwork is not an end in itself, but is an instrument by which the viewer is directed to political and social concerns held by the artist.

    Modernism is more profound than postmodernism
    Modernism (whose essence is aesthetic form of pictographic representation) enables a profundity not present in postmodernism because the viewer's interpretation is not restricted by having to comply with any language imposed on the artwork by the artist, as would be the case within a postmodernist artwork (where the aesthetic has been deliberately excluded and whose essence is symbolic representation).

    IE, modernism is democratic in allowing the viewer a free interpretation, whereas postmodernism is authoritarian in directing the viewer's interpretation by means of the language imposed by the artist.
    RussellA

    I don't buy any of this. The question of art lies with one question: is there anything that is both the essence of art, what makes art, art, and absolute? The reason art theory becomes so diffuse is because this question is considered a lost cause, and foundational talk "nonsense" (Wittgenstein encouraged the damage here).
    But I claim art has this foundation: there is an intuitive absolute foundation to art, and that divergence in theory has entirely to do with the intellect's will to diversity. Hegel said that the object stands before the modern mind as an historical fixity with its own negation built into it, and this power of negation has no limit. In other words, anything and everything can be negated, thus, in the effort to affirm, there is instant denial. This, incidentally is also Derrida, or close. Putting aside the whole of Hegel's thought (pls!), he is right about this. Propositions are inherently defeatable. The only recourse in art (I say, though Hegel is over my shoulder) it to look for what is NOT propositional. Art has this, I say. It is called the aesthetic. And the historical movement away from this is simply word play. After all, words all carry their own begation.
    Fascinating argument in this, but only if you're interested.
  • The definition of art
    As per the definition, and the OP. Everything can be reduced to information, as otherwise how would you know about it? When you stand in front of a painting, it informs you - literally changes your neural state such that you become aware of it's presence.

    Hopefully this establishes that art is information?
    Pop

    It is not that art is not information. It is about whether the art object is nothing but information, such that the thesis, "Art is information" holds up as a definition of art, as you say it does.

    Everything is information, though I'm not sure you see it like this. You could say the tree standing before me is information: The observation itself is a thing of parts, the cognitive, the familiarity nd the recollection that makes it familiar, the implicit interest of looking at all. this latter is the aesthetic in everyday life. So put explicit information aside, like a newspaper: all I observe is like this; the world is information about myself (kind of what Kant was all about), the structure of thought exhibited in the form of judgment and perception (which leads to further dimensions in phenomenology). Further, the tree and everything about it, one could argue, is nothing BUT a reading of the productive source which is consciousness.
    Such a surprisingly interesting issue. Here are a few thoughts, and I think, unless you can convince me otherwise, these have to be taken up to make your position tenable.

    Look at what can be called an unproblematic case of information, say, stereo instructions or the daily news. These deliver information, and if there is an issue here, then the matter turns to the ambiguity of the term itself, that is, if the news isn't information, nothing is. Two things: First, it can be claimed that even when I read and am informed, the medium is not discarded as simply a vehicle for delivery. As I consider the "information" I am repeating the medium of delivery: words and their structure. But then, the point of information is to be about something else, the war overseas or the shortage in gasoline, and the words are not the news! I think this idea captures what information is. So when there is information, there is talk of something else entirely, and the medium is the vehicle for this something else.


    I am convinced at this point that if something is to reduced to information, as you are doing, the information and its "aboutness" has to exhaust the analysis of the medium. But then the question arises: Is this possible? Can a medium of information be reduced exclusively to the terms of delivery? Words are not events in the news, but events in the news cannot be word-free affairs. Then again, two killed in a car accident is not the news about them being killed. It seems like it depends on what the information itself is. If I say what someone said earlier to inform you, then the saying the second time is the same or similar as the first, making the second information bearing utterance not merely information about the first, but essentially sharing in content. In this case, the utterance is not simply news about an event, but the event itself. And this is my current objection to your position: An art work, once exhaustively analysed as information about what is substantively an inner, consciousness affair, possesses something of that affair itself.

    Respond? I mean, it's a genuinely interesting piece of philosophy you raised, but only as good as the such things as the above are given their due. (I'm not a fan of philosophy banter).

    (In this is another issue: is conceptual art, really art?)

    Second: What your definition lacks is an actual account of what the art IS, in the consciousness that receives it, creates it. I mean, if say X is the definition of art, and the true seat of art lies within and the object is simply that which carries it, deposits it, if you will, then a major part of your thinking should go to what it is that is there, in consciousness that the art work carries and delivers. This, I would think, is central to any definition of art.

    My thinking has for while now been that to "discover" the essence of art, one has to do the phenomenological reduction of Husserl. See his Ideas I. An analysis at the level of basic questions, assumptions has to look at experience apophatically: not this, not that.
  • The definition of art
    So when you say morality is beneath the level of perspective you mean you don't decide what's right and wrong. You want to identify the causal agent here, and its obviously beyond your whims?

    I suppose a candidate would be Augustinean Christianity. "Love and do what you will". It's an amoral command, but it serves as a moral guide at the same time. And maybe love is unanalyzable. I'm not sure.

    Anyway, you could think of it as where amorality meets it's opposite?
    frank

    If we were talking in a scientific context, and I wanted to give analysis to, say, a rock formation or a symptom of something else, I would be looking causal accounts, yes. But this is more descriptive: I look at a rock formation and ask, what it is. This is classificatory, and in science, of course, it gets into taxonomic terms and features that these designate. In ethics and aesthetics, I observe what is there and ask the same question. Simple analysis: what is it that lies before me that everyone is calling art, that is, what is it that makes it art? The scientist's question is, what do I observe as identifiable features, and what are my classificatory options? The options are two: on the one hand, aesthetic, which have to do with value. This object (music, novel, poem, painting and so forth) is something "cared" for, the aesthetic being that which this caring is all about. On the other, there is cognition: talk about its features, predicative affairs like, the french horn's timbre contrasting against the sharp intrusion of the percussion, and so forth. The cognitive features of the judgment are always there, structuring the judgment, but as cognition, they are not what defines the art/music. The aesthetic does (which is why I like Dewey: the two are existentially one. Cognition is bound to the aesthetic, though, to know is not, as such, aesthetic.

    To know about ethics or aesthetics, one has to first identify what it is be discussed. As with regular science, this begins with observation of unproblematic cases.

    Again, art is entangled with all else, hence the confusion. Analysis abstracts from the whole to find the essential properties. like Kant did with reason. The assumption here is, cognition qua cognition is not wht art is about. I question, for example, that conceptual art is truly art. It is mostly a thesis.
  • The definition of art
    Any underlying definition of art is pointless in postmodernism, as anything can be art, but in modernism, definitions are an important aspect in understanding the great social, cultural and intellectual importance of modernist artworks.RussellA

    I don't buy any of this. The question of art lies with one question: is there anything that is both the essence of art, what makes art, art, and absolute? The reason art theory becomes so diffuse is because this question is considered a lost cause, and foundational talk "nonsense" (Wittgenstein encouraged the damage here).
    But I claim art has this foundation: there is an intuitive absolute foundation to art, and that divergence in theory has entirely to do with the intellect's will to diversity. Hegel said that the object stands before the modern mind as an historical fixity with its own negation built into it, and this power of negation has no limit. In other words, anything and everything can be negated, thus, in the effort to affirm, there is instant denial. This, incidentally is also Derrida, or close. Putting aside the whole of Hegel's thought (pls!), he is right about this. Propositions are inherently defeatable. The only recourse in art (I say, though Hegel is over my shoulder) it to look for what is NOT propositional. Art has this, I say. It is called the aesthetic. And the historical movement away from this is simply word play. After all, words all carry their own begation.
    Fascinating argument in this, but only if you're interested.
  • The definition of art
    Agree, and personally I find the idea of a mailbox standing in the middle of a lake rather aesthetically appealing.praxis

    Then you think irony is art. But irony is cognitive. What can this be about?
  • The definition of art
    I think morality and amorality are aspects of one's perspective.

    You can look at the Holocaust as a mountain of evil, or you can look at it the way a zoologist looks at the behavior of Asian hornets destroying bee hives.

    You can flip back and forth between the two if you like. Where does an absolute show up in this situation?
    frank

    Ethics is analyzable at a level beneath perspective. Not that such perspectives don't exist, and that at a certain level of analysis, this "perspectivalism" doesn't work; it does. But here, one is asked to go deeper, e.g., it is not my perspective that makes medieval torture horrible.
  • The definition of art
    If you mean a god you can pray to, no, there isn't. That's a fairy tale. If you mean some sort of Neoplatonic divinity, maybe.frank

    Both of these are beyond what the question asks. Is there a way to show that in ethics and aesthetics there is an absolute embedded in the essence of what they are? Give analysis to an instance of these and is their something that is "its own presupposition" that defies analysis? What ever this is, it is beyond contingency and would be ontologically just as grand or authoritative as any Biblical narrative or metaphysical construction. It would be part and parcel of the world, just as "factual" as any other fact, but then, ineffably unassailable.
  • The definition of art
    Exactly - that is why the art work is information about what is occurring in the artist's mind, or in other words consciousness. Likewise this art object representing the artist's consciousness, then interacts with the consciousness of the viewer, to become something in their mind. So it is a communication of consciousness to consciousness and what is exchanged is information, but just like the information communicated in this forum, so little of it gelsPop

    But there was an objection in this! The term 'information' fouls up the works, for the painting, say, is not about a state of mind sans the painting. The painting itself cannot be reduced to information about something else, like ones and zeros of a program, because the consciousness that is the seat of art's meaning necessarily includes the painting itself. Take a Beethoven sonata. What is exterior is the vibrating piano strings, BUT, to say those vibrations are merely information about something else denies the obvious presence of those very sounds in the consciousness where the experience resides. That is, the art object is not some carrier of information; it is part and parcel of the art event within.
    Address this??
  • The definition of art
    I would too. Amorality appears to you against a background of morality, and vice versa.frank

    But then, what is morality, so that we can talk about amorality at all? This is, in keeping with the OP, an aesthetic question as well, by implication.

    Could be a result of hot sauce about to be drowned in some awesome beer as you celebrate with close friends. Could be the same pain in the back you've struggled to deal with for months and despair is setting in.

    What the pain is and how you deal with it is definitely a matter of how you cast it. Why would you analyze pain without a context? That doesn't happen very often.
    frank

    But how one casts it is incidental. We have the category of painful events. What is it that binds the particulars to the generality?

    Particularly as he was about to kill his beloved son. What does that tell you?frank

    I take it as something other than what it seems. Putting aside the puzzle of Abraham, there is beneath ethics, and the principles we abide by, a vacuum. The real question is this: Is there a foundation for art and ethics that is absolute? This kind of thing is not presented to us in our principled thinking. It is as Hegel said, each affirmation made contains its own negation. K's point is that value has no grounding in ethics. The matter must go beyond ethics for its affirmation.
  • The definition of art
    I agree - the postmodernist "Artworld" with its "institutional definition of art" is destroying any value in the definition of art by pushing the agenda that art is defined in whatever way they deem it to be defined.RussellA

    An interesting statement, and I am inclined to agree, if it wasn't for impossibility of pinning art's definition elsewhere. How else can you account for art's infinite malleability? Where did art theory lose its way? When it abandoned beauty? Significant form? If you can't really say, then art remains an open concept, like ethics: we continually try to make sense out of it, but it seems it is the kind of thing lost in contingencies that cannot be settled.
    And: in the end, all concepts are open. Art is just among the most intractable. The only way to pin it down is to move into metaphysics. This is not impossible, I claim.
  • The definition of art
    Consciousness, as an evolving process of self organization, encompasses all things mental and experiential.

    According to American philosopher John Searle: “Consciousness is that thing that presents itself as we wake up in the morning and lasts all day until we go back to sleep again at night.” It isn’t simply awareness or knowledge – I believe Carl Jung would agree that to every bit of consciousness is attached 100 bits of the subconscious, interwoven into a mental lattice presenting as a united front. It is fundamental to us. Consciousness is personality in action, yet we are hardly aware of it. Modern science has not been able to pin consciousness down, however panpsychism and eastern philosophy agree that consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe - from this perspective consciousness takes on a much deeper meaning
    Pop

    All I can say is, and I hope you give this more than a glancing thought, you're thesis is not about the definition of art. It is about the definition of the art object. You are saying, I am pretty clear by now, is that, that painting, novel, performance, and so on, are not where art is to be found. The true locus of art is experience, the perspective imposed on an object by the artist or observer, and here, of course, you have to distinguish yourself from others who argue like this.
    I would otherwise be close to agreeing except for this big objection: the physical art work in its actual presence is also what is in my mind when I think of the artistic nature of the thing. In other words, one cannot call the one art and the other, the art object, information because when it comes to an analysis of the art itself and not the information, the object remains in place. In general information, too,one could make a similar claim: information as to how a computer mouse functions, say, is words on a page, or verbally produced; but the consciousness that receives it, understands it, does not stand apart from the words. It recalls the words, written or otherwise, IN the conscious event. So, the exteriority of the object is not detachable from the interior conscious event.
    Not sure how you will handle this. Even in Dewey, the making of a chair and its physical engagement cannot beabout the making of a chair's interior value making events, for when this interior is conceived, the "object" dimension is necessarily there.
  • The definition of art
    You said it, not me. If all things are in space, then all things are in space. If all things are space, then things are space, right? If all things are space then there’s nothing to compare space with, right? There is only space, so space has no meaning.praxis

    You're a good man...errrr...woman....errr person... you're a good agency of interlocution, Praxis, who can spin tedium into levity. The world needs more like you.
  • The definition of art
    Yes!! Now we are on the same page. That is all I am trying to say with the definition. Art is always some manifestation of this - an expression of human consciousness, for the consumption of another human consciousness. This is what it provides - constantly, and everything else is variable. This defines art.Pop

    Errr, no. Art still remains undefined, because the question is still there: what kind of meaning, aesthetic, value phenomenon is this that makes art, what it is?Is it emotional? Is it pragmatic? is it cognitive? Is it form? What is there is experience that is already there that is taken up in art? What is aesthetic rapture? Is beauty only art? Can art be ugly, and if so, what does this say about art as a general concept?

    Or: you are saying artworks are essentially an index to states of mind, that they "carry" information about this inner experience, but: information as such is free of that which is carries, that is, information as information itself is not art, so calling art information certainly does not tell us anything about what art is; only that is can be represented in a medium and the medium is not the art--the interior experience is the locus of the REAL artwork.

    What is "consumed" is not information.
  • The definition of art
    Morality is only half the concept, right? The other half is amorality.frank

    I would deny that amorality is a fit description of the world at the basic level. Of course, I see as you do that the world does not give favor in its distribution of good and bad affairs, and in fact, on second thought, it likely favors the latter in terms of quantitative utility. But the argument I would defend would be grounded on qualitative distinctions.

    You could say when we jump into the car, this is amoral Eros. There's no good nor evil yet because the story arc is at its beginning. There's no action to judge. Only once we're hanging upside down (which would be an odd place to end the story), do we lay out our condemnations. Morality is a post-event perspective. We weigh the actuality against the ideal.frank

    But the ontology of pain and bliss looks to neither the beginning nor the end. It simply takes what is there as it is, a phenomenon of certain properties. I am not concerned about how other matters work out, only one: I ask, what IS this pain. Does it have a nature that is clear and present, and that figures into our understanding of ethics and aesthetics? I am not judging actions, but trying to understand in any given action, what is it that makes it ethical? Call it a secret ingredient: value, the most mysterious thing in existence, by far.
    Cognitive dissonance appears when we recognize that the very thing the artist needs: some sort of wreckage, is deadly to that innocent who climbed behind the wheel.

    But then there's the world's pain. It's a burden for some. Nietzsche says that if you long to save the world, you're rejecting it at the same time. We can say yes to life. Accept the car wreck in all it's glory. Isn't that what the Knight of Faith does?
    frank

    You mean if the artist is a novelist. But for the painter, say, it is not a car wreck, but it is the struggle to produce affect (the aesthetic) in the medium. For the composer it is the same. For the player, it is mastery of the instrument and the "work" of the performance. And so on.
    If the one bound to the car about to go up in flames grabs his pocket knife, struggles to cut free, then succeeds, then there is art in this, Dewey would say, and I would agree.
    I am not interested in saving the world, but I do think if we are going to understand what it is that all the fuss is about, then we have to look at the aesthetic simplciter, as such? When I am in aesthetic rapture listening to whatever, what is this rapture? Asking what it is means to allow its presence to come forward and be acknowledged., apart from all the contextualizing.
    The Knight of Faith is one who singularly lives in God's grace. See the first chapter of Fear and Trembling. S/he has posited spirit and unqualifiedly affirms God, the soul and their primacy over all things, securing eternal happiness. Abraham was this.
  • The definition of art
    There's a couple of issues, I'm afraid, that prevent your 'reductionist' theory from rising above the level of nonsense. I already pointed out the first issue in my previous post. Using our imagination we can take a concept or general mental representation of something like aesthetic or pain and do whatever we want with it. We can associate pain with hot burning coals, for example, and that's relatively easy to do. It's a bit harder to associate pain with distant billowy clouds, but we can still do it. Anyway, jumping to the point, the point is that what we can imagine doesn't always correspond to reality. I suspect that you already know that, but in any case, a practical example may help to elucidate the point further.

    Offhand, pain/panic is the most unaesthetic kind of experience that comes to mind. If I understand your reductionist theory rightly, we can 'reduce the context' of any situation where pain and panic are experienced and the experience will then be that of aesthetic experience. As I've pointed out, we can easily dismiss context with our imagination, but how do we do this in real life? How do we reduce or turn off context? For our purposes, it doesn't matter because reducing is changing, and we already know that changing a situation (context) can change our perception.

    The second issue has to do with the basics of meaning. If everything is aesthetic then nothing is aesthetic and the concept loses all meaning.
    praxis

    Again (technical issue screwed with the first)
    Don't know why you want to talk about hot coals or billowy clouds. It isn't to the point. The reduction is the phenomenological reduction, which moves away from explanatory accounts that are merely factual, and this is important because facts are, as such, ethically arbitrary. In a typical ethical case, the facts are what they are, like you owning the gun I borrowed and wanting it back under, say, dangerous and suspicious circumstances. The gun ownership, the circumstances and so on, these are facts that have no ethical dimension to them as facts. As Wittgenstein put it in his Lecture on Ethics: in all facts of the world, were they laid out in a great book, there would not be a mention of value at all. The sun is further from earth that the moon: a fact, and as such, nothing ethical about it. Then what is it that makes the case ethical (or here, aesthetic; same applies here) at all? it is the value: the injury and pain that is at stake, also my breaking the implicit promise to return the gun that could undermine confidence that thereby undermines friendship and comfort, and so on.
    So. you see the point being made here is to try to analyze an ethical case, any one at all, to find how its parts work, and what they are. This should be clear. Keep in mind that I am not the author of these ideas, but I do put them together as I see fit.
    Not clear why you talk about panic. I don't want to muddle things with what is not at issue.


    If all things are aesthetic, than nothing is aesthetic? If all things are in space, then nothing is in space? Are you kidding?
  • The definition of art
    There's a couple of issues, I'm afraid, that prevent your 'reductionist' theory from rising above the level of nonsense. I already pointed out the first issue in my previous post. Using our imagination we can take a concept or general mental representation of something like aesthetic or pain and do whatever we want with it. We can associate pain with hot burning coals, for example, and that's relatively easy to do. It's a bit harder to associate pain with distant billowy clouds, but we can still do it. Anyway, jumping to the point, the point is that what we can imagine doesn't always correspond to reality. I suspect that you already know that, but in any case, a practical example may help to elucidate the point further.

    Offhand, pain/panic is the most unaesthetic kind of experience that comes to mind. If I understand your reductionist theory rightly, we can 'reduce the context' of any situation where pain and panic are experienced and the experience will then be that of aesthetic experience. As I've pointed out, we can easily dismiss context with our imagination, but how do we do this in real life? How do we reduce or turn off context? For our purposes, it doesn't matter because reducing is changing, and we already know that changing a situation (context) can change our perception.

    The second issue has to do with the basics of meaning. If everything is aesthetic then nothing is aesthetic and the concept loses all meaning.[/quote

    Don't know why you want to talk about hot coals or billowy clouds. It isn't to the point. The reduction is the phenomenological reduction, which moves away from explanatory accounts that are merely factual, and this is important because facts are, as such, ethically arbitrary. In a typical ethical case, the facts are what they are, like you owning the gun I borrowed and wanting it back under, say, dangerous and suspicious circumstances. The gun ownership, the circumstances and so on, these are facts that have no ethical dimension to them as facts. As Wittgenstein put it in his Lecture on Ethics: in all facts of the world, were they laid out in a great book, there would not be a mention of value at all. The sun is further from earth that the moon: a fact, and as such, nothing ethical about it. Then what is it that makes the case ethical (or here, aesthetic; same applies here) at all? it is the value: the injury and pain that is at stake, also my breaking the implicit promise to return the gun that could undermine confidence that thereby undermines friendship and comfort, and so on.
    So. you see the point being made here is to try to analyze an ethical case, any one at all, to find how its parts work, and what they are. This should be clear. Keep in mind that I am not the author of these ideas, but I do put them together as I see fit.
    Not clear why you talk about panic. I don't want to muddle things with what is not at issue.


    If all things are aesthetic, than nothing is aesthetic? If all things are in space, then nothing is in space? Are you kidding?
    praxis
  • The definition of art
    I think Nietzsche is like several truckloads of feces into which a few diamonds and sapphires have been scattered. My connection to Nietzsche deep, like in the direction of dreams. But weren't Nietzsche and K saying something similar? regarding accepting evil?frank

    They are both appalled by philosophy's attempt to rationalize the world, leaving the true, well, power and the glory behind, civilized and contained and weak and objectified and reduced. K's issue ws with Christendom, Nietzsche the same, I guess; I mean, this emasculating metaphysics that takes great possibility and turns it monkish denies the greatness, the will to push through and create. K looked also to this authenticity that is oppressed or forgotten by the neutralizing effects of bad metaphysics and cultural distractions. There is something that has nothing whatever to do with reason that is always there: actuality. The actual is not rational, not part of God's rational self actualization (Zizek has a different take on Hegel in this. Available on youtube). But then K goes north and N goes south. Heaven and Earth. (Keep in mind N adored people like Emerson and his Transcendentalism-very religious and but very vivid and full of encounter and meaning. NOT the church's conventions and liturgies.)

    Could you say more about that?frank

    Metaphysics can be absurd, but then, it can be just the stark admission that all constructions of what the world is both end in aporia, openness, indeterminacy, and are part and parcel of the perceptual acts that reveal the world at the perceptual level. This latter is what Buddhism is essentially about, for what is it to meditate like this? It is a very radical process that is not confined to any particular part of things, but is the whole of things. To meditate as the Buddha tells us is to annihilate the world, the stream of existence produced moment to moment that informs us, gives us the habits of familiarity we deploy in everyday living.
    Get into this deeply, and metaphysics becomes a lived reality. This is a rather complex argument, and it takes more time and writing than is allowed here. But for now, Good metaphysics begins with the observation that finitude as an imposing totality on a world that defies all totalizing, and this is exactly what Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were about, I would argue, though it would take a thesis to do so.

    What's the final trouble?frank

    why are born to suffer and die? What is the nature of value, or, metavalue? To borrow a term, we "totalize" the world with our systems of understanding. There remains below this, or above it, or amidst it, actuality, which defies this, cannot be reduced to ideas we have of this. To bring Levinas' thought in, in all our ideas, the ideatum exceeds what the idea is, the desideratum exceeds what it is we desire. This is a delicate juncture. We did not invent metaphysics at the basic level. We invented a lot of bad thinking, but this terminus we encounter when we raise our fist to the sky, say, is very real. It is real in thought and its concepts, and in the actuality they try to contain.
    The ethical dimension to this is most disturbing, but this takes a phenomenological approach to see what it is we are fussing about so much when we talk about ethics and aesthetics: value. There you are, seat belted in your car, upside down, the gas slowing into the passenger compartment, then you detect the hint of smoke. The metaphysics of this situation is vry real, because once you exhaust all possible accountability, there is nothing else. The gravity of the condition exceeds the explanatory totality there is to account for it.
    We are not, of course IN the situation above, but to conceive it honestly shows that ethical nihilism is foundational inadequate to "totalize" what it is all about.
    The final trouble is metaethics.
  • The definition of art
    So you’re saying that there’s genocidal glee, just the concept of glee, and your mind can separate glee from any actual instance of glee, such as Hitler’s alleged genocidal glee.

    If I’m following what you’ve said correctly, you’ve separated the concept of glee from what you’re now referring to as an illustrative example (glee in context) of glee in order to perform an analysis of some kind.

    That’s about all the sense I can make out of what you’ve written. It not clear if this somehow relates to your claim that “the aesthetic is an integral part of experience itself.”

    Perhaps your analysis has revealed that you have the capacity to consider the concept of aesthetic out of context, or that having this capacity, you can apply this concept any which way that your imagination can manage.
    praxis

    It is rather that there is one, final context, and that is at the basic level, and this is phenomenology. On ethics and aesthetics: take lighted match and apply it to your finger. Now, there is a lot one can say about this anatomically, motivationally, psychologically, and any other context you can imagine; but put those aside and consider only the pain itself, pain simpliciter, qualia-pain if you like, or, the phenomenon of pain eidetically free, or context free. Forget about whether you think this is possible (Dennett doesn't, but that is another argument) for it being there AT ALL is a context, you can, and many do, including myself, argue. But IN this most foundational context of observing the pain just as pain and not of or in this or that, the pain can be seen most vividly for what it is, and not for what something tells us it is.

    This presence is, I argue, pure, or close to pure. Entangled, yes, but here in this "reduction" it stands before one as a pure presence, what it IS as presence prior, that is, logically prior, for you can't even think of Hitler's genocidal cruelty without know what pain is to begin with that makes the whole affair so horrible.
    This is what I have in mind.
  • The definition of art
    Art is an expression of consciousness. At it's simplest, consciousness is mind activity. Although art is not exclusively an expression of mind activity, this is the singular thing we find in works of art - always. Every work of art ever made has to be an expression of mind activity, agreed?Pop

    Okay.

    Mind activity is experiential. Phenomenology elucidates mind activity very well. It elucidates how human consciousness self organizes. How cognition is a disturbance in a state, how an emotion is felt due to the implications of the disturbance, and how the state reintegrates. it outlines how a self realigns itself due to this process, and so is a product of this process, agreed?Pop

    AS stated, phenomenology can be consistent with this as long as you don't bring empirical sciences and their categories into it. These are to be suspended, and, by some post, post moderns like Michel Henry's thinking, this suspension can go all the way down to presence as such.
    So, art is an expression of mind activity, and mind activity is experiential, agreed?Pop

    Okay.

    The experiential mind activity that creates consciousness is endlessly variable and open ended - we can see this in the art it creates - how it is always evolving- with no end in sight. Agreed? So it is not possible to define anything in terms of this, as it is endlessly variable, and open ended! And will continue to evolve into things we cannot possibly imagine.Pop

    If you follow the arguments laid out by Hegel and later, art has a place, a limit, and art's true p0urpose is to represent/reflect spirit and profound metaphysical intimations. Art became secular and lost its course because it became, as you say, open ended. Medieval art art was deeply religious and authentic. Renaissance art turned toward culture and human affairs because art cannot pass beyond the symbolic limitations of representation. NOW it is free and open and looking for its own consummation, never to be found in culture.
    I think this an interesting idea, really.
    AS to evolving into things unimaginable, perhaps; I mean, art, as with all things, is driven by existing paradigms. Kuhn's Structures does not apply only to science. All things progress like this. Not sure what there is in art to evolve into, but likely it will be just an extension of what is known and worked out. High tech versions of what we already know, as with music: did Schoenberg and others REALLY change the face of music? No. We are rather stuck with the basics and their intuitive possibilities.

    So we are left with only mind activity to define art with. Agreed?Pop

    With the one caveat that a term like "mind" we have in itself an open question. Heidegger used dasein, then there is the transcendental ego of Husserl, the generative source of the grounding of all things of Eugene Fink, the Citta of the Pali canon, and so on. It could be that the real unlimitedness is as Hegel said, without the rationalism: beyond art into foundation of experience itself. A move away from art. Art has the same destiny as all things: annihilation in the move toward finality and consummation in Being (aka, God).
    Hence art work is information about the artist's consciousness - This is all we can say that is. This information is present in every work of art. We cannot reduce this any further, and we can not add to it. Anything we add to this expression is not a constant of art. Only this expression is constant in art. So it is the only way to define art. Art can be defined to this extent and no further,.Pop

    You mean, the artwork being external to the events within the artist or art observer, it can only indicate, be a signifier, for what is REAL, which can only be the experience itself. One should look at the artwork as the outward manifestation of an actual consciousness, and its value reducible to palpable consciousness.

    SO. look at the Munch's Scream or listen to Ravel's Bolero, the actual painting or musical sounds/auditory vibrations, are NOT the actuality, just information about the reality, which is consciousness. And the aesthetic is just one feature of what art information can be about. The Scream's look of horror, the frustrated relationship of Bret and Jake in the Sun Also Rises and all the rest: these are information ABOUT internal affairs?

    Is this what you are saying? If so, how do you separate the artwork (information) from consciousness? It would be like separating language from consciousness" Consciousness in the world (putting metaphysics aside) IS language, and language is not information about consciousness. Thus, The Scream certainly is an expression of mood, affect, but the painting is not reducible to this, for the painting is itself incorporated into the structure of consciousness.
    If you are going to call something information, then it has to information ABOUT something. What is that? If it is consciousness, then you have to, in your descriptive account, explain where one ends and the other begins. Where is the to be drawn between information and what is real? Is it ALL information? Then nothing is information. Will you turn to hermeneutics?