Nov 4, 2009

Philosophy Assignments - Discussing Aesthetic Criteria & more

Hello Guys!
I know I am supposed to be giving you the test right now, but am really down at the moment. So lets discuss the work you guys did in yesterdays assignment and add to it. Lets go question-wise
  1. Apparently you didn't get the question. Ms Rand says that the sense of life is automatic and hence fallible, i.e. you may make up a wrong picture of things and thus go wrong in judging. The sense of life is therefore not the criteria for judgement, only a quick guide to appreciating art. It is individual and can differ from person to person as well as at different times in your life you may change your "sense". In this is it not very much like Kant's idea of "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder"? Then again this sense has developed through the various things you saw, did, heard, felt, etc. and so although it is supposed to be a super-concept of sorts, it is also possible to be corrupted by emotions. (i.e. as against reason) Kant simply observes that this "sense" is "usually faulty" and hence argues that one cannot depend upon concept-delivery through art, but rather one should let everyone percieve their own concepts through the art, using their own "sense" of life. Then Kant takes the quest of judging art to other issues. Both actually agree that the sense of life is not objective enough to judge a work of art - Kant says that there cannot be a clearly objective criteria, while Rand goes on to give that criteria.
  2. Most examples weren't good enough. Take Prathamesh's example about M F Hussein's painting of Mother India. The normative abstractions are the icons he has used to depict the specialities of the country. The cognitive abstractions are when he makes you think of the fuzzy boundaries (diffused and confused politics of our North-West borders) and the streaks of white which depict the Himalayas. The esthetic abstractions are in the use of red (specifically the color of Gheru) to indicate rural & traditional India and also the semi-clad lady which depicts the strife-torn and impoverished India.
  3. Diksha you seem to have got the point, but try using your original expression, rather than the language of the book. Kevin be careful while using the word pleasure and also an irrational man can have a confused or emotively justified code of ethics. Prathamesh you need to improve your language, but I think you got the idea. The bottom line is that an irrational man cannot explain his thoughts or acts to himself or to another person; and thus needs an expression in form of art. Thus for him art is a means of justifying his thoughts to maintain his (false) self-esteem.
  4. To put it simply, the criteris cannot be as to how much you agree with the artist's point of view. What is important, is ... What is the view of life projcted in the artists work? i.e. the abstract meaning conveyed, without getting biased by thoughts and norms outside of his work. With what degree of skill does he project his view of life? i.e. his technical mastery and the esthetic elements employed.
Now in the next chapter - Art & Cognition, the central thesis Ms Rand is making is that to understand art in general or in a specific work of art, one must understand the effect different arts have upon us, i.e. What view of life is projected and how different arts do it using different medium. Here she alleges that most recent esthetic philosophers have defaulted on Philosophy. What does she mean by this? Why should it matter? How does it affect the layman?