Sunday, September 03, 2006

Knowledge, Understanding, and Jazz Corollary.

This question goes along to the story told in "Knowledge, Understanding, and Jazz"
How do we know art to be good?
And if you answer simply "Art is Subjective" Then answer this:
Why is the claim "I know Coletrane is a good musician" really that different from "I know Penicilin is a good antibacteriant" or even "I know the sky is blue".

17 comments:

Vvyynn said...

My answer: We don't know art to be good. We only say art is good because we want to think that something we like (i.e "good art") is good, because if we like bad things then we're terrible people. Thus, the art in question can not be "good" or "Bad", much less than a rock can be "good" or "bad". Art is a material object that is given meaning through our interpretation of it. So, our interpretation is that Jazz (for example) is good. This interpretation changes according to different people who see/listen to Jazz (Evan's parents for example). Well, I feel i've lost sight of the original topic, so I'll stop now.

Big E said...

I would argue that we do "know" that art we like is good, even if we would never say it like that. If you like art, then almost by definition you have to think, or believe, it is good. We all have justifications for why we believe the art is good. So we have justification, and we have a belief, what keeps it from being knowledge?
-Evan

Shayden said...

If the art can provoke an emotional response, regardless of what that response is (particularly if it's an intense emotion), then it must have effectively accomplished something, making it "good". In other words, how "good" something is depends on its level of influence and how it inspires change in some form or demonstrate exemplary human potential. "Bad" art might not necessarily be bad (it might be quite pretty, actually)--it would just be superfluous and the world could have done without it because it didn't turn a head or cause someone to question or be inspired. In a word, it would be useless and it would sit and collect dust. Who needs that?? But now I digress on a random tangent. Hats off to Seurat and Monet!:)

Big E said...

So that means we are getting down to the definition of art. According to Sara, art is something that stimulates an emotional response or inspiration. I wouldn't consider that to be a complete definition though (which is fair, Sara had no reason to give a full definition) because just about anything can inspire or cause an emotional response. It would seem to me that a more complete definition of art would at least include some sort of commentary from the artists perspective.
-Evan

Shayden said...

Fair enough, Evan. I suppose the definition of art should also include that art must have some kind of aesthetic purpose.

Big E said...

Well, thats somewhat confusing. Do you mean to say that art should look or sound "good"? Because aesthics is sort of a synonym for art (Or at least Aristotle used it as one)
-Evan

Shayden said...

Earlier you said anything could evoke emotion or inspiration. Art, to distinguish it from "anything", needs to have some kind of sensory appeal, which is where the term aesthetic comes in. It doesn't have to be pleasing, exactly (if that's what you mean by "good"). Something that is aesthetic simply has to stimulate the senses. Out of curiosity, what is the complete quote by Aristotle?

Vvyynn said...

Are we asking for a definition to the concept of "art" or to the material object of "art"? The material object of art can probably be anything, from an empty beer can on a sidewalk, to a bunch of yellow umbrellas along the California counrtyside. The concept of art is when emotional response, criticism, avant garde, etc. comes in. A man walking could be considered the object of "Theatre", however a man walking accross stage could constitute a Samuel Beckett play. Where I am going with this? I have absolutely no idea. I'm just writing. Writng. Writing. Writing. Is this art? Dada? Is Dada art or is dada stupid? Yeah. Yeah that sounds like ti could go somewhere. Alright. I stop now. Wait. No. No I'm still typing. Hmm. How to stop. I know! I'll just

Big E said...

Well, I suppose I should clarify. I mena in the philsophical sense, as in when philosophers talk about "Aesthetics" they are talking about the concept of art (Which clarifies it as different from objects of art). Aristotle was teh person who divided philosophy up into different areas of study, one of whihc being aethetics (What is art and what place does it have in society.) I understand, though, that by aesthetic you mean "sensualy stimulating".
-Evan

Shayden said...

Yup. Aesthetic=sensually stimulating. Examples: a really soft fuzzy scarf--that's art (appeals to touch), a huge wad of gum in Chicago or somwhere that people add their alredy-chewed gum to that one artist decided would make classy modern art (visual, could be taste, but we won't go there--it also serves as a clever bit of recycling, if you ask me), culinary arts (taste), perfume (smell), and a song that has a title like "2 minutes, 37 seconds" or something along those lines (audio--absolute silence on the musician's part--the artsy part is the shuffling of people as they get ancy and feel awkward, expecting something for 2 min., 37 sec. from the silent guy at the piano). These all evoke something. Ideas can evoke something as well, but they have no physical form, so I suppose what I'm trying to get at is if you can grasp something with any of the physical senses and if it evokes an emotional/intellectual response, then it could be art. One just has to declare it to be so, and *POOF*--instant art.

Vvyynn said...

Spelling, Spelling, spelling. Also, let me see what we're talking about here. Well that was exciting. So, how can we tell if art (the concept) is "good". I would have to agree with Shayden on this one, If art creates a positive response from you (whether it be intellectual or emotional) then to you it is "good art". Of course a universally good piece of art is different. To be universally good you have to bribe every single art critic to say your a genius. THen Suddenly your a Van Goh, a Matisse, and to a lesser extent a Pollock.

Big E said...

Pollock is a tool. And the piece of music is four minutes thirty two seconds. But seriously, are you beign darcastic Sara? I didn;t really catch teh poitn of your last point.
-Evan

devin said...

I'm going to jump in the middle here and go back to the original question, so ignore me for your ongoing argument if you wish.
The question was "How do we know art to be good?" The obvious answer is that we can't, in any way shape or form, according to TOK, know that any given piece of art is "good". Why? Because given the definition of knowledge=pjtb, this question is made irrelevant. Truth is the key here. The big TRUTH itself, not the 3 Truth "theories" which doublessly you would use to contradict me, but do not lead to the TRUTH. To know a piece of art is "good" is impossible because art is, as per its intentions, ENTIRELY relative and bound to the stuff of interpretation, and as such cannot be proven TRUE (not "true", notice the use of capitals) in any sense. Therefore, we cannot "know" whether it is good or not. This may be just a pointless rant on semantics, but it was fun. As I said before, ignore me if you wish to.

Shayden said...

Oops: 4 minutes 32 seconds. I stand corrected. Darcastic=sarcastic+drastic?? My point was art has to have physical form and evoke a response, but it has to be considered art by someone somewhere. Back to Vinny's ex. of a beer can on the sidewalk. In most people's eyes that would not be art. It's just a beer an on the sidewalk. The minute someone says, "Wow--Amazing! Look at the exquisite placement of that beer can on the sidewalk! How artistic!" and appreciates its values, it's art. Is that what you wanted to know, Evan, or have I totally confused you and myself? Let me try again. Art, like truth can be, is relative. Actually, I just realized Devin already clarified that quite nicely. Thank you, Devin.

Vvyynn said...

Then once again we need to clarify. Are we talking about how we know art is individually good, or universally good? Individually good just has to do with convincing yourself that the art is good (i.e my chocolate ice cream example), however Devin is correct to say that art can never be universally good. Neither can a book, a play, an object, or any type of theology.

Vvyynn said...

Art is great, art is good. And we love it and we thank it for our food...or lack thereof.

Vvyynn said...

My God! By eating Ice cream i'm eating one of my kinfolk! I'M A TERRIBLE PILE!