Do We Learn To Love Bad Art?


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How do know that it wasn't beautiful, and that your current subjective opinions about it aren't wrong?

The same way I know that Ayn Rand was beautiful and that M Cyrus is ugly.

Do you understand that you're being asked to identify the "way" that you know that your judgments of beauty are consistent with what you're calling "objective beauty"?

Not sure if I can keep up with all of the objections that have piled up in this thread... but as time allows I'll do my best. :wink:

I only know that our subjective judgments of beauty will always be an external corresponding harmony with what is inside of us. And likewise what is subjectively judged as being ugly will always be repugnant to what is inside of us.

Whether or not our subjective judgment of beauty agrees or disagrees with objective beauty is solely determined by the just and deserved consequences of our own actions we take as the result of our subjective judgment.

So, bottom line:

Objective reality is the final judge.

...Miley Cyrus is beautiful.

J

Then the objective reality is that creature harmoniously matches what is inside of you.

Oh, wait. Maybe I misunderstood.

Are you saying that, since I reported that objective reality says that Miley Cyrus is beautiful, and you're saying that objectively reality dictates that she harmoniously matches what is inside me, then, therefore, what's inside me is beautiful?

If so, thanks for recognizing objective reality! I am indeed objectively beautiful on the inside!

Cheers,

J

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Moralist,

Your position is that truth is objectively beautiful, right? Well, it's true that Ted Bundy killed people. So, according to your theory, the statement "Ted Bundy killed people" is beautiful, no?

J

Yes.

It's a beautiful truth to know what is ugly.

Wow. It's pathetic that you think that it's beautiful that Ted Bundy killed people.

J

No. That is not what I said.

Here, I'll untwist what you had twisted.

It's beautiful to know the truth of what is ugly.

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How do know that it wasn't beautiful, and that your current subjective opinions about it aren't wrong?

The same way I know that Ayn Rand was beautiful and that M Cyrus is ugly.

Do you understand that you're being asked to identify the "way" that you know that your judgments of beauty are consistent with what you're calling "objective beauty"?

Not sure if I can keep up with all of the objections that have piled up in this thread... but as time allows I'll do my best. :wink:

I only know that our subjective judgments of beauty will always be an external corresponding harmony with what is inside of us. And likewise what is subjectively judged as being ugly will always be repugnant to what is inside of us.

Whether or not our subjective judgment of beauty agrees or disagrees with objective beauty is solely determined by the just and deserved consequences of our own actions we take as the result of our subjective judgment.

So, bottom line:

Objective reality is the final judge.

...Miley Cyrus is beautiful.

J

Then the objective reality is that creature harmoniously matches what is inside of you.

Oh, wait. Maybe I misunderstood.

Are you saying that, since I reported that objective reality says that Miley Cyrus is beautiful, and you're saying that objectively reality dictates that she harmoniously matches what is inside me, then, therefore, what's inside me is beautiful?

If so, thanks for recognizing objective reality! I am indeed objectively beautiful on the inside!

Cheers,

J

The only objective reality is that what you are matches the Cyrus creature.

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I know the lad needs a lot more helip:

[....] Beauty is not defined by us, because we all agree by our very nature, it seems on St. Thomas Aquinas definition: Beauty is that which when perceived; pleases. Even the dictionary agrees!

beau·ty/ˈbyo͞otē/ Noun:

  • A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.

  • A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/10/beauty-is-objective.html

[....]

To deny objective beauty is to deny the existence of that which when perceived; pleases.

That's a non-sequitur. It doesn't logically follow. Not even close. If it were true, then it would also have to be true of all judgments of taste, including, as I've already mentioned, flavors, in which one would have to say that there must be an "objectively best flavor," and to deny the existence of an objectively best flavor is to "deny the existence of that which when perceived, pleases." Complete and utter nonsense.

Denying the existence of "objective beauty" is not to "deny the existence of that which when perceived, pleases," but to recognize the reality that that which pleases when perceived, pleases some differently than others, or pleases some while not pleasing others.

J

Agreed about the non-sequitur. Agreed regarding the statements Jonathan makes. (And, like Carol, I think the formulation is succinct and clear.)

However, I don't think that Aquinas' definition, if that indeed was his definition, is adequate, since it includes too much. For example, I wouldn't call a flavor which pleases "beautiful." At this moment, if I look up from the screen, I perceive a room which was vacuumed and dusted yesterday (the cleaning people did a number on the room yesterday). I'm pleased by the spiffy clean, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it beautiful. Another immediately current example. I'm pleased that the weather has changed and that it's crisply cool today, not warmly humid. Again, I wouldn't say that I find the perceived weather change beautiful.

Nor do I think that the quoted dictionary definition sufficiently improves matters, since, again, I can think of plenty of examples which please "the aesthetic senses" or "the intellect or moral sense" (accepting the terminology for the sake of discussion), but which I wouldn't call "beautiful."

I doubt that any definition could be proposed which would thoroughly do the job of discriminating, but I think the cited Aquinas definition falls way short and the cited dictionary version is only slightly better.

Not meaning to imply, Jonathan, that you were signing on to the definition. The logical point holds irrespective of the definition's adequacy.

Ellen

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Wow. It's pathetic that you think that it's beautiful that Ted Bundy killed people.

J

No. That is not what I said.

Here, I'll untwist what you had twisted.

It's beautiful to know the truth of what is ugly.

No. I asked you if the statement "Ted Bundy killed people" is beautiful. And you answered "yes." You think it's a beautiful statement.

J

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Just checked my innards, and half are still ugly for disagreeing with J about guns, but the other half are as cute as Miley! Objective reality should correlate my outards with my innards, so it is just a question of keeping my cute side facing the public, and my social life will soon start looking up!

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Objective reality should correlate my outards with my innards, ...

Really?

The entire fabric of the universe should adjust to your rhythms?

Not happening babes.

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How do know that it wasn't beautiful, and that your current subjective opinions about it aren't wrong?

The same way I know that Ayn Rand was beautiful and that M Cyrus is ugly.

Do you understand that you're being asked to identify the "way" that you know that your judgments of beauty are consistent with what you're calling "objective beauty"?

Not sure if I can keep up with all of the objections that have piled up in this thread... but as time allows I'll do my best. :wink:

I only know that our subjective judgments of beauty will always be an external corresponding harmony with what is inside of us. And likewise what is subjectively judged as being ugly will always be repugnant to what is inside of us.

Whether or not our subjective judgment of beauty agrees or disagrees with objective beauty is solely determined by the just and deserved consequences of our own actions we take as the result of our subjective judgment.

So, bottom line:

Objective reality is the final judge.

...Miley Cyrus is beautiful.

J

Then the objective reality is that creature harmoniously matches what is inside of you.

Oh, wait. Maybe I misunderstood.

Are you saying that, since I reported that objective reality says that Miley Cyrus is beautiful, and you're saying that objectively reality dictates that she harmoniously matches what is inside me, then, therefore, what's inside me is beautiful?

If so, thanks for recognizing objective reality! I am indeed objectively beautiful on the inside!

Cheers,

J

The only objective reality is that what you are matches the Cyrus creature.

I've now been in further direct contact with objective reality. It says that Miley Cyrus is beautiful on a couple of different levels. First, she's just physically beautiful, and second, her performance, in its entirety, from which Moralist took the image, was beautiful because it objectively represents rational defiance in the face of sexual puritanism, and celebrates the virtue of liberty and unashamed sexual enjoyment. It's a rational rejection of unearned guilt.

Objective reality says that Moralist thinks Cyrus and her performance are ugly because Moralist is a sexually uptight puritan who wants to control other people and tell them what they can and cannot do with their bodies, and he therefore sees objective beauty as being ugly. He envies others' happiness and wants to destroy it.

Objective reality told me to tell Moralist to quit being such a jackass, and to stop lying about knowing objective reality. It says that Moralist has never met it, and it would appreciate if he would stop lying about knowing it. Objective reality says that in any discussion, it gives me permission to speak for it, and that Moralist should stop pretending to speak for it.

J

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I know the lad needs a lot more helip:

[....] Beauty is not defined by us, because we all agree by our very nature, it seems on St. Thomas Aquinas definition: Beauty is that which when perceived; pleases. Even the dictionary agrees!

beau·ty/ˈbyo͞otē/ Noun:

  • A combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.
  • A combination of qualities that pleases the intellect or moral sense.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/10/beauty-is-objective.html

[....]

To deny objective beauty is to deny the existence of that which when perceived; pleases.

That's a non-sequitur. It doesn't logically follow. Not even close. If it were true, then it would also have to be true of all judgments of taste, including, as I've already mentioned, flavors, in which one would have to say that there must be an "objectively best flavor," and to deny the existence of an objectively best flavor is to "deny the existence of that which when perceived, pleases." Complete and utter nonsense.

Denying the existence of "objective beauty" is not to "deny the existence of that which when perceived, pleases," but to recognize the reality that that which pleases when perceived, pleases some differently than others, or pleases some while not pleasing others.

J

Agreed about the non-sequitur. Agreed regarding the statements Jonathan makes. (And, like Carol, I think the formulation is succinct and clear.)

However, I don't think that Aquinas' definition, if that indeed was his definition, is adequate, since it includes too much. For example, I wouldn't call a flavor which pleases "beautiful." At this moment, if I look up from the screen, I perceive a room which was vacuumed and dusted yesterday (the cleaning people did a number on the room yesterday). I'm pleased by the spiffy clean, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it beautiful. Another immediately current example. I'm pleased that the weather has changed and that it's crisply cool today, not warmly humid. Again, I wouldn't say that I find the perceived weather change beautiful.

Nor do I think that the quoted dictionary definition sufficiently improves matters, since, again, I can think of plenty of examples which please "the aesthetic senses" or "the intellect or moral sense" (accepting the terminology for the sake of discussion), but which I wouldn't call "beautiful."

I doubt that any definition could be proposed which would thoroughly do the job of discriminating, but I think the cited Aquinas definition falls way short and the cited dictionary version is only slightly better.

Not meaning to imply, Jonathan, that you were signing on to the definition. The logical point holds irrespective of the definition's adequacy.

Ellen

Right. A part of the illogic of Moralist's position is his assumption that since beauty is a form of pleasure, then all forms of pleasure must be beautiful.

J

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Further pursuant to my #129 - darn, I don't have time for this, but get me musing about artistic issues...

On the other hand, if I look up from the sofa spot where I usually work on my iPAD, on the directly facing wall is a water color of Joan Mitchell Blumenthal's which I like a whole lot with its delicate colorings and shadowings and the arrangement of objects across a sensuous drape, plus the old-fashioned wood figured frame which she selected for it and which I think is perfect for it.

The painting definitely pleases me aesthetically. Yet I'd use the adjective "lovely" rather than "beautiful."

And the Dali painting shown on the thread (in the original, which I've seen) I find extraordinary, incredible, amazing, awesome, but I wouldn't say "beautiful" trying to describe it. (At least I don't think I've used that adjective.)

However, in the ladies' restroom of a local restaurant where I ate last night there's an oil of a garden scene which I think of as "beautiful." And in my dining room is a fake floral arrangement which I like to look at and which I think is "beautiful."

Fine-detail nuances of descriptions as I personally use them. But the point I'm making - and, Jonathan, I think you agree with this - is that even with aesthetic response, positive response and "beautiful" aren't co-extensive.

Ellen

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This thread is hilarious! But, so far I haven't seen anyone give what I would consider a reasonable assessment of the question at hand, namely is beauty objective? I think the answer is partially yes and partially no. That is to say, the assessment of beauty is based partially on objective facts and partially on subjective judgment.

The evidence that beauty is partially objective comes from the fact that there is much greater agreement about what is beautiful than one would expect if such judgments were completely subjective. For example, I would wager that many more people would call Miley Cyrus beautiful than would find Dick Cheney beautiful, though I don't think she's particularly attractive. People often describe flowers, scenery, sunsets, young women, and sunlit skyscrapers as beautiful and rarely describe rubbish heaps, dilapidated houses, fat people, or sick people as beautiful (unless they're telling a white lie to make someone feel better). Why is that? Why do we find symmetry attractive, among other things?

I would argue that the we are attracted to positive characteristics and repelled by negative ones. We are attracted to life affirming values and repelled by their opposites. A glass walled skyscraper represents newness, modernity, cleanliness, a pleasant environment, achievement, and life. A large rubbish heap represents decay, the possible presence of rats, the danger of possible injury, disease and possible death. A person that is not symmetric, who has one leg longer than the other, is not attractive because we know that such a person will have trouble running. Although we're not going to have sex with everyone we meet, we nevertheless are attracted to people that we believe would be good mates and repelled by people that have objectively undesirable physical features. One could easily come up with many more examples. So, there is a sense in which beauty is objective.

At the same time, the fact that people often disagree about what is beautiful is evidence that there is a subjective component as well. Since everyone other than Greg has been arguing that beauty is subjective, I won't bother with any examples.

Darrell

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One of the explosive holes in what, if we could, actually, allow "moralist"to be clear, would assert your perception below:

And the Dali painting shown on the thread (in the original, which I've seen) I find extraordinary, incredible, amazing, awesome, but I wouldn't say "beautiful" trying to describe it. (At least I don't think I've used that adjective.)

Semantics and aesthetics is a tough blend of ancient and modern philosophy.

Gets real "clunky" and "clanky."

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How do know that it wasn't beautiful, and that your current subjective opinions about it aren't wrong?

The same way I know that Ayn Rand was beautiful and that M Cyrus is ugly.

Do you understand that you're being asked to identify the "way" that you know that your judgments of beauty are consistent with what you're calling "objective beauty"?

Not sure if I can keep up with all of the objections that have piled up in this thread... but as time allows I'll do my best. :wink:

I only know that our subjective judgments of beauty will always be an external corresponding harmony with what is inside of us. And likewise what is subjectively judged as being ugly will always be repugnant to what is inside of us.

Whether or not our subjective judgment of beauty agrees or disagrees with objective beauty is solely determined by the just and deserved consequences of our own actions we take as the result of our subjective judgment.

So, bottom line:

Objective reality is the final judge.

...Miley Cyrus is beautiful.

J

Then the objective reality is that creature harmoniously matches what is inside of you.

Why did you dishonestly edit my comment?

I only wanted to specifically respond only to your subjective judgment of Cyrus as being "beautiful".

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Excellent question and worthy of a separate thread*:

Why do we find symmetry attractive, among other things?
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Cultural influence is a big part of it. When I was growing up, thin lips on girls were considered attractive and big lips ugly. Yet now it is the opposite.

(I had medium lips and used to think they were too big)

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Wow. It's pathetic that you think that it's beautiful that Ted Bundy killed people.

J

No. That is not what I said.

Here, I'll untwist what you had twisted.

It's beautiful to know the truth of what is ugly.

No. I asked you if the statement "Ted Bundy killed people" is beautiful. And you answered "yes." You think it's a beautiful statement.

J

You're letting your unreasonable emotions cloud your vision.

I said that knowing that an act is ugly is a beautiful truth.

I did not say that an ugly act is beautiful.

"Knowing" and "act" are two different things.

You're conflating them, whereas I do not.

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Why did you dishonestly edit my comment?

I only wanted to specifically respond only to your subjective judgment of Cyrus as being "beautiful".

I did not give a subjective judgment in that post. Rather, I reported that objective reality judges Cyrus to be objectively beautiful, thus confirming that my previous subjective judgment of her was consistent with objective reality.

Why are arguing against objective reality?

J

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Wow. It's pathetic that you think that it's beautiful that Ted Bundy killed people.

J

No. That is not what I said.

Here, I'll untwist what you had twisted.

It's beautiful to know the truth of what is ugly.

No. I asked you if the statement "Ted Bundy killed people" is beautiful. And you answered "yes." You think it's a beautiful statement.

J

You're letting your unreasonable emotions cloud your vision.

I said that knowing that an act is ugly is a beautiful truth.

I did not say that an ugly act is beautiful.

"Knowing" and "act" are two different things.

You're conflating them, whereas I do not.

You said that the statement "Ted Bundy is a killer" is beautiful.

J

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Cultural influence is a big part of it. When I was growing up, thin lips on girls were considered attractive and big lips ugly. Yet now it is the opposite.

(I had medium lips and used to think they were too big)

Biting my tongue, However, the male dyad needs to cease and desist any projections on female lips...I have a plan...

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Cultural influence is a big part of it. When I was growing up, thin lips on girls were considered attractive and big lips ugly. Yet now it is the opposite.

(I had medium lips and used to think they were too big)

Another objective fact: People tend to be attracted to people that look like themselves. Of course, women tend to have thicker lips than men.

Could it be that when you were young, there were a lot more girls of marrying age with ancestors from northern Europe? Such girls tend to have thinner lips. Now, there are more girls of marrying age from minority groups that tend to have thicker lips. Well, Chinese don't tend to have thick lips, but a lot of other minority groups do.

Darrell

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Cultural influence is a big part of it. When I was growing up, thin lips on girls were considered attractive and big lips ugly. Yet now it is the opposite.

(I had medium lips and used to think they were too big)

Another objective fact: People tend to be attracted to people that look like themselves. Of course, women tend to have thicker lips than men.

Could it be that when you were young, there were a lot more girls of marrying age with ancestors from northern Europe? Such girls tend to have thinner lips. Now, there are more girls of marrying age from minority groups that tend to have thicker lips. Well, Chinese don't tend to have thick lips, but a lot of other minority groups do.

Darrell

you are right Darrell. Everybody in my town was white, English/Scots/Irish descent, except one Jewish and one Chinese family.

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This thread is hilarious! But, so far I haven't seen anyone give what I would consider a reasonable assessment of the question at hand, namely is beauty objective? I think the answer is partially yes and partially no. That is to say, the assessment of beauty is based partially on objective facts and partially on subjective judgment.

The evidence that beauty is partially objective comes from the fact that there is much greater agreement about what is beautiful than one would expect if such judgments were completely subjective.

There's just as much agreement about the existence of God. Would you therefore say that, since the overwhelming majority of people believe in God, it is "evidence" that belief in God is objective because such a high rate of belief is much greater than what one would expect if such judgments were completely subjective?

For example, I would wager that many more people would call Miley Cyrus beautiful than would find Dick Cheney beautiful, though I don't think she's particularly attractive. People often describe flowers, scenery, sunsets, young women, and sunlit skyscrapers as beautiful and rarely describe rubbish heaps, dilapidated houses, fat people, or sick people as beautiful (unless they're telling a white lie to make someone feel better). Why is that? Why do we find symmetry attractive, among other things?

People find symmetry attractive, but they also find asymmetry attractive. As I've said before here on OL as well as on OO:

"First of all, technically, all human faces are a bit 'lopsided,' and most people think that beauty includes some asymmetry (they tend to see perfect symmetry as cold, inhuman, artificial, etc.). So, by what objective standard would Objectivists propose that we measure lopsidedness and how much of it is acceptable or required in a beautiful face, and how much results in ugliness?"

I would argue that the we are attracted to positive characteristics and repelled by negative ones. We are attracted to life affirming values and repelled by their opposites.

Then you're not talking about beauty, but about health and fitness and morality. Are you familiar with the examples of features that Rand gave when defining beauty? She spoke of eye size, the shape of a jawline, and the length of the nose. She was talking about proportions that have nothing to do with health and fitness or morality.

A glass walled skyscraper represents newness, modernity, cleanliness, a pleasant environment, achievement, and life.

It could also represent coldness, lack of privacy, too-big-to-fail arrogance, and a variety of other negative judgments.

A large rubbish heap represents decay, the possible presence of rats, the danger of possible injury, disease and possible death.

Decay could also be interpreted as "life affirming" in that it represents the consumed fuel of freedom, and the recycled fertilizer of future productivity. It could be interpreted to represent the abundance and power of a free society.

A person that is not symmetric, who has one leg longer than the other, is not attractive because we know that such a person will have trouble running. Although we're not going to have sex with everyone we meet, we nevertheless are attracted to people that we believe would be good mates and repelled by people that have objectively undesirable physical features. One could easily come up with many more examples.

And we could also come up with countless counter examples, in which health and fitness have nothing to do with beauty -- examples in which we find something beautiful despite its having physical features which are not good for its existence.

So, there is a sense in which beauty is objective.

At the same time, the fact that people often disagree about what is beautiful is evidence that there is a subjective component as well. Since everyone other than Greg has been arguing that beauty is subjective, I won't bother with any examples.

You haven't offered an objective component or examples. You've offered subjective interpretations of glass buildings, decay and asymmetry, and merely falsely put them under the category of objective judgments.

J

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Why did you dishonestly edit my comment?

I only wanted to specifically respond only to your subjective judgment of Cyrus as being "beautiful".

I did not give a subjective judgment in that post. Rather, I reported that objective reality judges Cyrus to be objectively beautiful,

Ok. That is your subjective judgment.

My subjective judgment is she is incredibly ugly.

And one of us agrees with objective reality... and one of us does not.

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