Do We Learn To Love Bad Art?


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Glass buildings are causing serious reflective burns and harm in London.

Moralist, could you please not quote the whole thread when responding? Just the comments you are addressing. Or just do a new post, we will know what you are referring to.

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Glass buildings are causing serious reflective burns and harm in London.

Moralist, could you please not quote the whole thread when responding? Just the comments you are addressing. Or just do a new post, we will know what you are referring to.

Will do. I can deal with Jonathan's complaints that I'm truncating his quotes. :wink:

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

That is your subjective view because you failed to make a distinction between an ugly act, and the moral value of knowing that an act is ugly. In my view I do make that distinction, because knowing acts like that are ugly is absolutely essential to appreciating what is beautiful.

I fully understand that you don't agree with this... so that has clearly defined the difference between our two views. The point of our exchange is only to clarify each of our views, and to clearly define how they differ from each another.

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

That is your subjective view because you failed to make a distinction between an ugly act, and the moral value of knowing that an act is ugly. In my view I do make that distinction, because knowing acts like that are ugly is absolutely essential to appreciating what is beautiful.

Here's the post in question: http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13569&p=191633

I asked, "So, according to your theory, the statement 'Ted Bundy killed people' is beautiful, no?"

You answered in the affirmative.

J

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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.

As I've already explained, it is I who agrees with objective reality, and it is you who does not. Objective reality says that Cyrus is beautiful, and that you have inner ugliness which makes you have the false subjective opinion that she is ugly.

J

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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?

Evidence isn't always conclusive. That's why it is called evidence, rather than proof.

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?"

Would you like the answer in millimeters or as a percentage? Seriously. Understanding shape is still somewhat of a black art. Should we talk in terms of b-spline approximations, radial basis functions, or triangular mesh models?

The fact that you can state, "most people think that beauty includes some asymmetry," is evidence that there is some underlying, factual basis for their assessment. Of course, that correlation type of evidence needs to be backed up with some appeal to causal evidence such as the fact that people tend to see too much symmetry as "cold, inhuman, artificial, etc."

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.

How do you know that such proportions have nothing to do with health and fitness? Isn't it possible that having eyes that are too big or too small or too close together or too far apart could have detrimental effects on survival? What about having a nose that is too small for a dry climate?

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.

If could, and in the experience of some people, it probably does, which is why there is a subjective component to beauty.

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.

But, wouldn't you agree that there are objective dangers in rubbish heaps? If not, feel free to wade right in.

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.

Please provide some such 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.

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.

Are you arguing that life affirming values are subjective? Or don't you believe in the connection between such values and the concept of beauty?

Darrell

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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.

As I've already explained, it is I who agrees with objective reality, and it is you who does not. Objective reality says that Cyrus is beautiful, and that you have inner ugliness which makes you have the false subjective opinion that she is ugly.

J

You have your view, and I have mine.

One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

Moralist's grammar is as poor as his logic.

Good point.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

In this instance, there is no third alternative.

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

In this instance, there is no third alternative.

And you are, again, incorrect.

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In this instance, there is no third alternative.

Here is a little lesson in logic for you (God knows, you need it).

Two propositions P and Q are contrary (as opposed to contradictory) if and only if both cannot be true.

the possibilities are (1) P true, Q false (2) P false Q true (3) P false Q false.

Now go forth chastised but educated.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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In this instance, there is no third alternative.

Here is a little lesson in logic for you (God knows, you need it).

Two propositions P and Q are contrary (as opposed to contradictory) if and only if both cannot be true.

the possibilities are (1) P true, Q false (2) P false Q true (3) P false Q false.

Now go forth chastised but educated.

Ba'al Chatzaf

If you inflate any more you'll pop, Baal. :wink:

In this situation you're wrong.

My view is:

The truth of knowing an act is ugly, and an ugly act itself are two distinctly different things.

Jonathan's view is:

The truth of knowing an act is ugly and an ugly act itself is only one thing.

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In this instance, there is no third alternative.

Here is a little lesson in logic for you (God knows, you need it).

Two propositions P and Q are contrary (as opposed to contradictory) if and only if both cannot be true.

the possibilities are (1) P true, Q false (2) P false Q true (3) P false Q false.

Now go forth chastised but educated.

Ba'al Chatzaf

If you inflate any more you'll pop, Baal. :wink:

In this situation you're wrong.

My view is:

The truth of knowing an act is ugly, and an ugly act itself are two distinctly different things.

Jonathan's view is:

The truth of knowing an act is ugly and an ugly act itself is only one thing.

Once again, your apparently delusional pronouncements have actual truth/reality values, convinces you that you need not have any other support.

You are alone in your pronouncements.

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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

He said that knowing the truth of the statement is beautiful, not that the fact described by the statement is beautiful.

He's actually right in his description of what he said.

Ellen

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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

He said that knowing the truth of the statement is beautiful, not that the fact described by the statement is beautiful.

He's actually right in his description of what he said.

Ellen

Correct Ellen.

I see the failure of any of his/its statements/pronouncements, as severely lacking in even a basic definitional foundation to build an argument upom.

A...

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

Moralist's grammar is as poor as his logic.

Good point.

Ba'al Chatzaf

There's nothing wrong with Moralist's grammar in the quoted sentences.

There is with Adam's punctuation. (Why, Adam, do you put a comma after "and" and after "or"? Is it a pet idiosyncrasy, like your giving in parentheses the numeric form of a number after the word form?)

And the logical point would more clearly be said:

"Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, but both of you could be wrong."

:laugh:

Ellen

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I see the failure of any of his/its statements/pronouncements, as severely lacking in even a basic definitional foundation to build an argument upom.

A...

Oh, well, as to that problem, I think there's no hope, that he actually doesn't begin to comprehend what a foundation for an argument would be.

How does he run a business? I'm baffled as to how he could.

Ellen

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One of us is right, and one of us is wrong.

You have your view, and I have mine.

Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, and, both of you could be wrong.

A...

Moralist's grammar is as poor as his logic.

Good point.

Ba'al Chatzaf

There's nothing wrong with Moralist's grammar in the quoted sentences.

There is with Adam's punctuation. (Why, Adam, do you put a comma after "and" and after "or"? Is it a pet idiosyncrasy, like your giving in parentheses the numeric form of a number after the word form?)

And the logical point would more clearly be said:

"Actually, only one (1) of you could be right, but both of you could be wrong."

:laugh:

Ellen

Ellen:

Properly chastised as to any grammar/punctuation issues. I just make my best semantic guess where any internal punctuations are concerned. Not one of my strengths. I am more driven by the spoken word first.

The numeric "aberration" stems from years of working on legal briefs and it is a chosen self-discipline to keep myself focused.

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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

He said that knowing the truth of the statement is beautiful, not that the fact described by the statement is beautiful.

He's actually right in his description of what he said.

Ellen

Your read on this issue is correct, Ellen.

Jonathan conflates those two distinctly different things into one. There's a reason why he's so adamant in doing that, but it doesn't matter what it is. Noting the fact of what he is doing is enough, as it serves to clearly define the difference between our two views..

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While we're picking on Adam, I'm wondering whether the word "chastened" might sound better in the above sentence than "chastised." The online dictionary isn't much help, but, to me, "chastened" is more inward, as in "humbled," but "chastised" is more outward. Using the word "chastised" makes it sound as if Ellen was "severely criticizing" or even "flogging" Adam, while "chastened" would seem to imply that he "humbly" accepted Ellen's criticism.

My apologies to Adam.

Darrell

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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

He said that knowing the truth of the statement is beautiful, not that the fact described by the statement is beautiful.

He's actually right in his description of what he said.

Ellen

Correct Ellen.

I see the failure of any of his/its statements/pronouncements, as severely lacking in even a basic definitional foundation to build an argument upom.

A...

That's because I'm not actually making an argument, but rather am stating a view and describing how it differs from another view. Each of us have already chosen our view, and no mere words on a monitor could ever have the power to change it.

Only the reality of the consequences we reap from the acts we sow have the power to change our view. :wink:

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My apologies to Adam.

Darrell

Mine, too. Normally I wouldn't have mentioned the issue, but I have wondered about his frequently putting a comma after "and" and "or," and the context seemed suited to asking.

(I suspected that the number in parentheses came from working on legal documents where that style is required.)

Ellen

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