Do We Learn To Love Bad Art?


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So I choose to do business with people like me with whom it is not possible to have an argument because of our common ethical values.

I've been involved in a fulfilling romantic relationship for almost 45 years with someone with whom I share "common ethical values" and a whole lot else. We argue over something or other, or several somethings or others, most every day. Rarely angry arguments. Disagreements, mostly temporary.

That's purely a matter of personal style, Ellen. And each of us has different approaches to life as befits our being. Realize that it is impossible to argue with your spouse unless both of you first agree to argue. If that style fits your relationship, that's just fine, because you both have tacitly agreed to those ground rules. So your arguments are actually agreements... to argue. :wink:

I argue with myself in process of coming to conclusions.

See? You even have the same style when no one else is around! :wink: It's just a matter of the different kinds of personalities we each posses.

Have you ever wondered how it is that you can argue with yourself? That fact in itself reveals an important principle. You are not your thoughts. You are that which observes your thoughts. It is the real you which decides whether or not to emote on, or to engage, or to act upon your thoughts...

...or to simply let them pass by unresponded.

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In my view, the objective value of something to us influences our view of it as beautiful or ugly.

I share your view, Darrell.

What we subjectively perceive as beauty has a harmonious correlation to that is inside of us, just as what we subjectively perceive as ugly does not.

Now whether or not our subjective perception agrees or disagrees with what you describe as "objective value" is a completely separate issue, and is determined by what is inside of us. For, as I see it, we cannot be that objective value. Because as wholly subjective beings, we only have the power to subjectively affirm or deny the reality of "objective value". And neither our affirmations or denials have any effect on the reality of that "objective value"...

...only on ourselves.

Greg

Greg,

I am sympathetic with your point of view to some degree. However, among other things, I think you're misusing the words "subjective" and "objective." It is possible for a person to be objective by observing and reasoning about the facts of reality. For example, a scientist might establish the relationship between temperature and pressure by measuring it. Or, in the field of ethics, a subjectivist might say, it's right because I feel that it is right. An intrinsicist, might say, it's right just because it's right, or it's right because God says so. On the other hand, an objectivist would say that it is right because it is in my rational self interest. Since rational self interest can be known (at least approximately) by observing and reasoning about the facts of reality, the conclusions of the objectivist are objective. They might not not true, if the objectivist made a mistake, but if he arrived at his conclusions by objective methods (observation and reason), then his conclusions would be objective.

Now, of course, things get a little tricky when discussing values. Something may objectively be more valuable to a person than something else, but that person may choose to value the second thing more highly than the first. That is his choice. That is what I think you mean by, "affirm or deny the objective value." The problem is, in many posts, you make it sound as if people have no access to objective values --- that the only way to know whether you've made the right choice or not is to suffer the consequences. But, that's not true. People do have access. How? Through a process of observation and reason.

Darrell

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You seem to me to argue in your replies to Darrell that pleasure responses are deuces wild and have no relationship to survival needs. If that were the case, how would our ancestors after ancestors after ancestors in previous generations have survived?

Ellen

Go Ellen!

Darrell

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It's not a valid comparison. Looking for correlations between diseases and genes is not like trying to establish objectivity through majority opinion. There are reasons to believe that diseases can be genetically caused. There are no reasons to suspect that majority aesthetic opinions are indicators of objectivity -- no one has ever followed an objective process as a means of experiencing beauty. There's one way to establish objectivity: demonstrate that the judgment in question is the result of following the process of volitionally applying logic and reason using a clearly identified standard of judgment, and that's not the way that judgments of beauty work.

An aesthetic reaction is basically an emotional reaction. A person's emotional reactions depend upon that person's values which are chosen, at least in part, by a process of observation and reason --- that is, by an objective process.

When people say that someone has beautiful eyes, they don't mean, "I have scientifically analyzed the person's intraocular dimensions and determined that they are optimal to human survival."

Have you ever been bothered by a painting that was leaning just slightly to one side? Was it necessary to get out a level to notice the problem? Human eyes are extraordinary measuring devices and people are pretty sensitive to other people's facial features.

I've never experienced any danger at landfills or from other rubbish heaps. On the other hand, in skyscrapers I've been stranded in a malfunctioning elevator, and I've had to deal with lots of arrogant and aggressive Dilbert-like business twits who have had significantly more negative effects on my life than any rats or insects ever have.

Which are more likely to have abusive lawyers, rights-violating bureaucrats and Dilbert-like management types? Which are more likely to have James Taggarts and Wesley Mouches? Which are more dangerous, rats and insects or James Taggarts and Wesley Mouches?

If skyscrapers are so terrible, why do people build them?

People's preferences for where they'd like to have their offices is not the universal standard by which to judge the goodness or badness of everything, or by which to interpret what a location represents aesthetically. I wouldn't want to have my office beneath Niagara Falls, or on a space shuttle launch pad, but that doesn't mean that I must therefore judge Niagara Falls and space launches to represent death.

What I was trying to get at was the unpleasantness of rubbish heaps. That unpleasantness is at least partially a function of the objectively detrimental aspects of rubbish.

There can be objective reasons for preferring one kind of clothing over another if one's goal is workplace safety or efficiency, etc. But there are no objective reasons for aesthetic preferences of one piece of clothing over another. Your confusion is that you're equating establishing objective utilitarian standards with establishing objective aesthetic standards. You've succeeded only in accomplishing the former.

Perhaps, at "aesthetic/cultural events" people wish to flaunt the fact that they are thriving, that they have no need for protection. They are purposefully making a negative reference to the needs of survival. The same could be true of delicate flowers, large breasts, and bound feet --- though large breasts could also be taken as a sign of female vitality --- a woman with large breasts would have more milk available to suckle her babies.

So what you're saying is that your theory is unfalsifiable: All possible conditions and outcomes confirm your theory.

No, what I'm saying is that any reference to observation and reason is a reference to objective facts. If a reason for feeling a certain way ultimately, only references other feelings, then the reason could be considered purely subjective. But, if there is a reason based at least in part on observable facts, then it is at least partially objective.

Your opinion of Mullins is not relevant. Your subjective responses to her appearance are not the universal objective standard of aesthetic judgment. Others do not share your opinions.

I never claimed a universal objective standard because I never said that aesthetic judgments were purely objective.

If you wish to argue that beauty is purely subjective, you must argue that the objective value of a thing has absolutely no influence on a person's judgment of its attractiveness.

That's exactly what the history of the philosophy of aesthetics argues and successfully demonstrates! People judge things to be beautiful despite the fact that those things offer no utilitarian value. People don't measure and test an object's functions and purposes, or its intraocular distances or fitness to survive, before judging it to be beautiful. They don't objectively identify goals and purposes and analyze the most rational means of achieving them as a standard by which to judge beauty. They simply look at the object and instantly experience the pleasure of its beauty.

People immediately have emotional reactions. Are you arguing that all emotional reactions are purely subjective?

Are you arguing that people never consider objective value when making aesthetic judgments?

When people encounter someone who is beautiful but stupid and annoying, they don't change their mind on the person's beauty. They say that it's too bad that the person's intelligence and personality don't match their appraisal of his or her physical appearance.

They experience beauty despite the fact that the object in question has negative non-aesthetic values -- despite the fact that it is detrimental to their existence.

If a man meets a beautiful woman --- a young, healthy, curvaceous woman with radiant skin --- she doesn't cease to be young, healthy, curvaceous or cease to have radiant skin just because she turns out to be stupid and annoying. So, the aesthetic judgment of beauty remains because such a judgment is made based on limited information and still conveys objectively valid information about her ability to have healthy children.

Darrell

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Greg,

I am sympathetic with your point of view to some degree. However, among other things, I think you're misusing the words "subjective" and "objective." It is possible for a person to be objective by observing and reasoning about the facts of reality. For example, a scientist might establish the relationship between temperature and pressure by measuring it. Or, in the field of ethics, a subjectivist might say, it's right because I feel that it is right. An intrinsicist, might say, it's right just because it's right, or it's right because God says so. On the other hand, an objectivist would say that it is right because it is in my rational self interest. Since rational self interest can be known (at least approximately) by observing and reasoning about the facts of reality, the conclusions of the objectivist are objective. They might not not true, if the objectivist made a mistake, but if he arrived at his conclusions by objective methods (observation and reason), then his conclusions would be objective.

Now, of course, things get a little tricky when discussing values. Something may objectively be more valuable to a person than something else, but that person may choose to value the second thing more highly than the first. That is his choice. That is what I think you mean by, "affirm or deny the objective value." The problem is, in many posts, you make it sound as if people have no access to objective values --- that the only way to know whether you've made the right choice or not is to suffer the consequences. But, that's not true. People do have access. How? Through a process of observation and reason.

Darrell

The difference in our views is easily accountable, Darrell... for I'm a Christian.

However, the practical result of our views is exactly the same,.as the actions born of what you describe as "being objective." and what I describe as "subjectively agreeing with what is objective" are identical.

Being an electrician, I'm intimately associated with something which is utterly impersonally objective. It does not give a crap what I think or feel about it. It just is what it is and does what it does. It obeys fixed laws 100% of the time, and never deviates from them. Now while I can literally stake my life on its consistency by acting in harmony with the laws which govern it... nevertheless, I can never be objective like it is.

In regards to values... in my view, we are governed by moral laws which are just as impersonally objective as the physical laws governing the behavior of electricity. However, we can choose to act contrary to them which is the "flaw" that makes us subjective. But that "flaw" is a blessing for it is intrinsic to our existence as moral beings. While we can violate moral laws, is impossible for us to invalidate them any more than we could invalidate the law of gravity by jumping off of a cliff. So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg

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So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg:

Were these "objective moral laws" revealed, or, learned by you through your Christianity?

A...

Post Script: I ask this question with no hidden agendas.

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So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg:

Were these "objective moral laws" revealed, or, learned by you through your Christianity?

A...

Post Script: I ask this question with no hidden agendas.

Thanks. I appreciate your lack of guile.

We each learn about objective moral laws by directly experiencing the reality of the consequences of our own actions. To a lesser degree their workings can also be discovered by observing the consequences of the behavior of others, and of least relative importance is verbal or written teachings.

Greg

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So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg:

Were these "objective moral laws" revealed, or, learned by you through your Christianity?

A...

Post Script: I ask this question with no hidden agendas.

Thanks. I appreciate your lack of guile.

We each learn about objective moral laws by directly experiencing the reality of the consequences of our own actions. To a lesser degree their workings can also be discovered by observing the consequences of the behavior of others, and of least relative importance is verbal or written teachings.

Greg

I understand that that is one point of view.

However, you did not answer my question. Unless that was the answe.

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Your mentioning you are a Christian, Greg, prompted my observation. I was thinking of a relative who is an Anglican priest. I have known him since birth. After Harvard Divinity he entered the ministry and seemed settled as a bachelor pastor when lo and behold, at 40 married a divorced parishioner whom , ahem, he had been marriage-counseling prior. He became the stepfather of tw0 (one special needs) and then the father of two more. One of his kids has just come out publicly as gay.

The effect of his life choices on him? Nothing, that I can see. He is the same well-balanced, energetic,cheerful, matter=of-fact, intellectual guy I have always known. He is busier now than ever, but seems to handle it easily.

Not making any special point here, but I have seen the same thing in others who have a central belief, be it atheist or environmentalist or anarchist or whatever. We shape our lives to our personalities.

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So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg:

Were these "objective moral laws" revealed, or, learned by you through your Christianity?

A...

Post Script: I ask this question with no hidden agendas.

Thanks. I appreciate your lack of guile.

We each learn about objective moral laws by directly experiencing the reality of the consequences of our own actions. To a lesser degree their workings can also be discovered by observing the consequences of the behavior of others, and of least relative importance is verbal or written teachings.

Greg

I understand that that is one point of view.

However, you did not answer my question. Unless that was the answe.

To be more explicit, the answer is no. Verbal or written teachings are the lowest on the order of importance. However, taking to heart the moral wisdom contained within them, opens the potential of avoiding a lot of painful first person lessons. Stubbornness is what necessitates the later.

Sometimes objective reality is just a gentle tap on the shoulder... and other times it's a baseball bat over the head.

My own personal aim in life is to act in harmony with objective reality by observing the flow of events as well as the seeds of events before they sprout. These ancient words address this moral principle of reality as well as the results of living in accord with it:

"...all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose."

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Your mentioning you are a Christian, Greg, prompted my observation. I was thinking of a relative who is an Anglican priest. I have known him since birth. After Harvard Divinity he entered the ministry and seemed settled as a bachelor pastor when lo and behold, at 40 married a divorced parishioner whom , ahem, he had been marriage-counseling prior. He became the stepfather of tw0 (one special needs) and then the father of two more. One of his kids has just come out publicly as gay.

The effect of his life choices on him? Nothing, that I can see. He is the same well-balanced, energetic,cheerful, matter=of-fact, intellectual guy I have always known. He is busier now than ever, but seems to handle it easily.

Not making any special point here, but I have seen the same thing in others who have a central belief, be it atheist or environmentalist or anarchist or whatever. We shape our lives to our personalities.

Even being a priest doesn't exempt anyone from getting the just and deserved consequences of their own actions.

Intentions mean nothing.

Actions are everything.

Sitting inert in class in a government subsidized University to get a degree guarantees nothing. Objective moral law is totally unaffected by anything we do, and the playing field is perfectly level. Regardless of what anyone believes, everyone is playing by exactly the same rules and no one is exempt.

The effect of his life choices on him? Nothing, that I can see.

Nothing... that you can see.

What about the effect of your own life choices on you? Those are the ones that matter most.

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Not exactly nothing,,, he is still talked about as a candidate for Bishop.

Don't blame Jesus for Christians. They're not His fault. :wink:

My life choices have put me here among other places, and I still earn a living.

The question was only rhetorical and just offered for your consideration.

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Do we learn to love good art?

Is art appreciation innate or is it acquired?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Do we learn to love good art?

Only if we first learn how to be good people. :wink:

You think aesthetics and morality correlate?

Ba'al Chatzaf

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The difference in our views is easily accountable, Darrell... for I'm a Christian.

However, the practical result of our views is exactly the same,.as the actions born of what you describe as "being objective." and what I describe as "subjectively agreeing with what is objective" are identical.

Being an electrician, I'm intimately associated with something which is utterly impersonally objective. It does not give a crap what I think or feel about it. It just is what it is and does what it does. It obeys fixed laws 100% of the time, and never deviates from them. Now while I can literally stake my life on its consistency by acting in harmony with the laws which govern it... nevertheless, I can never be objective like it is.

In regards to values... in my view, we are governed by moral laws which are just as impersonally objective as the physical laws governing the behavior of electricity. However, we can choose to act contrary to them which is the "flaw" that makes us subjective. But that "flaw" is a blessing for it is intrinsic to our existence as moral beings. While we can violate moral laws, is impossible for us to invalidate them any more than we could invalidate the law of gravity by jumping off of a cliff. So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg

Hi Greg,

Knowing your perspective helps to understand your views on this and other threads. The practical result of our views may or may not be the same, but I still feel inclined to take issue with your use of terminology.

What you describe as "subjectively agreeing with what is objective" might more properly be described as "personally conforming to what is intrinsically true." In other words, you should probably be saying "personally" when you are saying "subjectively" and you should probably be saying "intrinsic" when you are saying "objective."

Electricity is not "objective." It is real. It is physical. But, it does not observe or use reason. Your knowledge of electricity may be objective if it is based on facts and logic, but the term "objective" can't properly be applied to electricity, itself.

Apparently, you believe in intrinsic moral laws, not objective ones. Objective moral laws are those that are arrived at by a process of observation and reason. Intrinsic moral laws just are. They are immutable. They are not subject to logical analysis. Knowledge of them is based on divine revelation.

Darrell

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The difference in our views is easily accountable, Darrell... for I'm a Christian.

However, the practical result of our views is exactly the same,.as the actions born of what you describe as "being objective." and what I describe as "subjectively agreeing with what is objective" are identical.

Being an electrician, I'm intimately associated with something which is utterly impersonally objective. It does not give a crap what I think or feel about it. It just is what it is and does what it does. It obeys fixed laws 100% of the time, and never deviates from them. Now while I can literally stake my life on its consistency by acting in harmony with the laws which govern it... nevertheless, I can never be objective like it is.

In regards to values... in my view, we are governed by moral laws which are just as impersonally objective as the physical laws governing the behavior of electricity. However, we can choose to act contrary to them which is the "flaw" that makes us subjective. But that "flaw" is a blessing for it is intrinsic to our existence as moral beings. While we can violate moral laws, is impossible for us to invalidate them any more than we could invalidate the law of gravity by jumping off of a cliff. So regardless of our subjective actions, the consequences of those actions are always governed by the same objective moral laws.

Whether those objective moral laws are a blessing or a curse in our lives is totally up to us.

Greg

Hi Greg,

Knowing your perspective helps to understand your views on this and other threads. The practical result of our views may or may not be the same, but I still feel inclined to take issue with your use of terminology.

What you describe as "subjectively agreeing with what is objective" might more properly be described as "personally conforming to what is intrinsically true." In other words, you should probably be saying "personally" when you are saying "subjectively" and you should probably be saying "intrinsic" when you are saying "objective."

I'm totally ok with your description as the results are the same. Because I'm a behaviorist it doesn't matter to me which back story people choose as long as it helps to inspire them to accept the responsibility for how their own lives are unfolding instead of blaming others.

Electricity is not "objective." It is real. It is physical.

And not only physical. Utterly impersonally absolute.

I define "objective" as being that which can never be affected by what we think, or feel, or say, or do. In that regard it renders us as being completely subjective beings, for we are affected by what others think and feel and say and do... just as we are affected by what we think and feel and say and do... and we are definitely affected by what electricity does.

But, it does not observe or use reason.

I totally agree...

It is us who need to observe and use reason in dealing with it, so that we don't destroy ourselves.

Your knowledge of electricity may be objective if it is based on facts and logic, but the term "objective" can't properly be applied to electricity, itself.

And as I see it... as long as my subjective understanding of electricity agrees with the objective laws which govern its behavior...

... I live. :smile:

Apparently, you believe in intrinsic moral laws, not objective ones. Objective moral laws are those that are arrived at by a process of observation and reason.

But objective moral law is not created by that process. How it works can only be discovered by calm centered reasonable observation.

Intrinsic moral laws just are. They are immutable. They are not subject to logical analysis.

Sure they are... they're just not altered by it.

Knowledge of them is based on divine revelation.

Darrell

Sorry, I don't buy into that stuff...

The only divine revelation is stubbing your own toe from not paying attention to where you're walking. :wink:

In my view, God designed all of the physical laws which govern time space matter and energy... just as He designed all of the moral laws which govern the just and deserved consequences of human behavior.

The rest is totally up to me what I do about it. :smile:

Greg

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Apparently, you believe in intrinsic moral laws, not objective ones. Objective moral laws are those that are arrived at by a process of observation and reason.

But objective moral law is not created by that process. How it works can only be discovered by calm centered reasonable observation.

Intrinsic moral laws just are. They are immutable. They are not subject to logical analysis.

Sure they are... they're just not altered by it.

Knowledge of them is based on divine revelation.

Darrell

In my view, God designed all of the physical laws which govern time space matter and energy... just as He designed all of the moral laws which govern the just and deserved consequences of human behavior.

Greg:

Sure sounds like your assumption forms the foundation of your statements and postiions on beauty.

A...

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Greg:

Sure sounds like your assumption forms the foundation of your statements and postiions on beauty.

A...

Yes, it does.

Perceived beauty:

outside = inside

Objective beauty:

beauty = morality

Only the objective reality of the just and deserved consequences of my own actions has the power to render the final verdict on my assumption.

And I trust that verdict implicitly.

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Greg:

Sure sounds like your assumption forms the foundation of your statements and postiions on beauty.

A...

Yes, it does.

Perceived beauty:

outside = inside

Objective beauty:

beauty = morality

Only the objective reality of the just and deserved consequences of my own actions has the power to render the final verdict on my assumption.

And I trust that verdict implicitly.

The needle on my bullshit meter just bent in a 90 degree L-shape.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Greg:

Sure sounds like your assumption forms the foundation of your statements and postiions on beauty.

A...

Yes, it does.

Perceived beauty:

outside = inside

Objective beauty:

beauty = morality

Only the objective reality of the just and deserved consequences of my own actions has the power to render the final verdict on my assumption.

And I trust that verdict implicitly.

The needle on my bullshit meter just bent in a 90 degree L-shape.

Ba'al Chatzaf

(shrug...) It's perfectly natural to believe that someone else made the wrong choice because it is different from your own.

Greg

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