Jonathan

Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

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1 hour ago, Roger Bissell said:

You can find it yourself, unless you've been barred from accessing Michelle's blog. In the late June discussion of Rothko, two sizeable posts by you remain UNcensored, in all their glory. Michelle may not be the last word or final authority on visual art, but she recognizes a nihilistic take-over artist when she sees one. Even then, she allows your non-redundant rude remarks to remain. Rather magnanimous, considering.

REB

 

Yeah, as I said earlier, those posts of mine are polite and factual, not to mention potent.

"Nihilistic take-over artist"? Hahahaha!

Still no substance in response to my questions! Lots of huff and puff and sniff and sneer, but no substance. Why is that, Roger? The questions that I've asked are simple, fundamental issues, and are really nothing but my asking Rand's followers to demonstrate their applying of their own criteria to works that they accept as validly being art. I'm merely asking for objective proof to back up the assertions. Why does that make you so angry? Why do you so emotionally interpret requests for proof as horrible rudeness? Heh.

You're only enraged because I've identified a reality that you don't like. You're pissed off because I've called the bluff, and revealed that there's nothing to back it up.

If you or any of Rand's other followers had anything to back it up, you'd be presenting substance instead of whining about how viciously you're being treated, and praising yourselves for being "magnanimous" for not practicing total censorship.

Come on, Roger, you're better than this, aren't you?!!! Get a grip on your emotions, and practice Objectivist Epistemology! Answer the challenges. Provide the proof. No more evading reality.

J

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Here, once again, are the questions that Kamhi originally deleted from her blog in late June, and which I reminded her of recently, and which none of Rand's followers has been able to answer:

1. If your argument does not boil down to your basing your claims of others’ “depth of meaningful response” on nothing but your own personal lack of response, then please identify the objective method that you’ve used to scientifically measure others’ depth-of-meaning responses to the art forms in which you personally experience little or no depth-of-meaning.

2. Please post the data and results of such objective testing methods and experiments so that we may analyze and review the research, weight its merits, and criticize any potential errors.

3. Please reveal experiments in which you’ve tested people’s ability to identify "artists’ meanings” in works of art which you have accepted as validly qualifying as art by your own criteria. Please objectively demonstrate that any work of alleged art has been objectively shown to comply with your criteria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tested many Objectivists with representational paintings, and none, so far, has succeeded in identifying “artist’s meanings.” Have your tests yielded better results?

4. You suggest that, since some viewers “misread" Rothko’s intentions with his art, then it therefore surely indicates that there was something wanting in his approach. In the deleted post of mine, I identified ways in which people have interpreted Rand’s The Fountainhead much differently than she intended, and they did so based on the objectively identifiably content in the novel (Roark’s violating his own morality by working on a project to which he is morally opposed, his conspiring to commit the fraud of passing off his work as someone else’s in order to subvert the rights of the owners to not hire him, his presenting the false and irrational argument in court that a contract that he did not have with the owners was violated by them when the reality was that he actively hid his involvement in the project from them, etc.).  Applying your own method that you just used on Rothko, shouldn’t we conclude that people’s “misreading” of Rand’s intentions also “surely indicate that there was something wanting in [her] approach [to literary/aesthetic theory]”?

-----

Come on. Behave like grownups, and like serious intellectuals. Address the substance. Quit with the distractions and evasive maneuvers.

J

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9 hours ago, anthony said:

Still, you don't get me. The "universal" that all have in common, is man's consciousness and its nature, (agree?) - that's my over riding concern here, and much of art doesn't perturb me much, to me it can just be what it is. (Notice how few things are 'craft' or 'decoration' today. Good words, for good work by people - but replaced by 'Art' so everyone feels inclusive!)

'Which is why I refuse to be cornered into any caricature of Oist "condemnation" of art works ,per se. 

But the mind and thinking, is another story, and where I become vehement in their defence. Ever wondered why all the significant philosophers (inclusive of Rand) all have their own art/aesthetic theories? Simplistically, I think they knew that you get people by the balls of their (unidentified and 'causeless') emotions on art, their minds will follow.Then they will fit tamely into a nice, orderly society' planned for them.

Also, like several here, I am old enough to have seen the slow and at times, steep descent of cultures and values in Western societies. The main theme today, is don't identify, don't judge. Familiar.

 At the same time has been the declne of standards of art to 'whatever goes'. Coincidence?  

"Culture" as the main thought and morality of a time is influenced by art, and art influences behavior and thinking in return, it seems is clear. Parallel mirrors. Modern art, abstract art, willl largely fade as temporary fads, when people start to think for themselves again.

Yuck.

--Brant

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4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Here, once again, are the questions that Kamhi originally deleted from her blog in late June, and which I reminded her of recently, and which none of Rand's followers has been able to answer:

1. If your argument does not boil down to your basing your claims of others’ “depth of meaningful response” on nothing but your own personal lack of response, then please identify the objective method that you’ve used to scientifically measure others’ depth-of-meaning responses to the art forms in which you personally experience little or no depth-of-meaning.

2. Please post the data and results of such objective testing methods and experiments so that we may analyze and review the research, weight its merits, and criticize any potential errors.

3. Please reveal experiments in which you’ve tested people’s ability to identify "artists’ meanings” in works of art which you have accepted as validly qualifying as art by your own criteria. Please objectively demonstrate that any work of alleged art has been objectively shown to comply with your criteria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tested many Objectivists with representational paintings, and none, so far, has succeeded in identifying “artist’s meanings.” Have your tests yielded better results?

4. You suggest that, since some viewers “misread" Rothko’s intentions with his art, then it therefore surely indicates that there was something wanting in his approach. In the deleted post of mine, I identified ways in which people have interpreted Rand’s The Fountainhead much differently than she intended, and they did so based on the objectively identifiably content in the novel (Roark’s violating his own morality by working on a project to which he is morally opposed, his conspiring to commit the fraud of passing off his work as someone else’s in order to subvert the rights of the owners to not hire him, his presenting the false and irrational argument in court that a contract that he did not have with the owners was violated by them when the reality was that he actively hid his involvement in the project from them, etc.).  Applying your own method that you just used on Rothko, shouldn’t we conclude that people’s “misreading” of Rand’s intentions also “surely indicate that there was something wanting in [her] approach [to literary/aesthetic theory]”?

-----

Come on. Behave like grownups, and like serious intellectuals. Address the substance. Quit with the distractions and evasive maneuvers.

J

Ah--you want to combine philosophy with science and the others just want the philosophy straight?

Do you have any brilliant but pure philosophical arguments to counter theirs?

Watch out for using logic--that pushes everything to close to the edge of the cliff.

Philosophical arguments go on forever--or at least book after book after book.

--Brant Peter Gaede

my name is a work of art; mommy and daddy said so

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11 hours ago, Jonathan said:



3. Please reveal experiments in which you’ve tested people’s ability to identify "artists’ meanings” in works of art which you have accepted as validly qualifying as art by your own criteria. Please objectively demonstrate that any work of alleged art has been objectively shown to comply with your criteria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tested many Objectivists with representational paintings, and none, so far, has succeeded in identifying “artist’s meanings.” Have your tests yielded better results?
.

J

"Please reveal experiments..."

1. Objectivity is not empiricism. 2. Art is not "empirical", and it's surprising that an artist would think so. 3. If however empirical "proof" is required for "meaning", then the burden of proof is on the asserter - the artist - that what he depicts is communicable to all, some, a few. Not on the viewers. Let us see the experiments!  I don't know of one, and do not expect the art establishment to expose abstract art to such rigorous testing. ;)

The objective object of art - J - is not the "meaning" by the artist. It is to SEE something for what it IS. It's to "ground" one's concepts in percepts. If it is a (re-created) tree, then one identifies "a tree"; the artist's rendition and styling provides his specific view of existence which the viewer takes away. One sees reality through the artist's eyes and mind, which one concurs with, or not. "Meaning" is imprecise or diversionary.

Whatever you may claim, and I believe you are sincere, an abstract artwork - at BEST - can convey A MOOD, which at BEST, other viewers agree with. That art has a basic 'vocabulary' (color harmony, lines, balance of elements, etc.) is as old as the hills and is a good part of art training. The selected stylizing by a good artist is what imparts the all important mood to the millions of realist paintings.

Right. And with abstract art, one could sometimes feel (say) "tranquillity", by an arrangement of color harmonies. But. I challenge you to 'prove' you can see what the object(s) in any abstract painting IS, (abstract, mind, not impressionist) and how you know, and that the artist meant for it to be so, and that other individiuals see the same thing. You can't. Because if anyone could consistently identify an existent in the painting, it would hardly be "abstract" art...

IMO, 'abstract artists' in their rebellion against a cruel reality and against art convention, attempted to cut out content, and take viewers direct to a preset emotion through (um...) beauty - so bypassing and eliminating men's identification and judgment - and eradicating men's OWN emotional responses - by not providing any real existent to identify..

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Quote

 

"Please reveal experiments..."

1. Objectivity is not empiricism. 2. Art is not "empirical", and it's surprising that an artist would think so. 3. If however empirical "proof" is required for "meaning", then the burden of proof is on the asserter - the artist - that what he depicts is communicable to all, some, a few. Not on the viewers. Let us see the experiments!  I don't know of one, and do not expect the art establishment to expose abstract art to such rigorous testing. ;)

 

Tony has apparently forgotten the criteria that he proposed for testing whether or not abstract visual art may or may not qualify as art. He proposed empirically testing it with several double-blind experiments:

Quote

 

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?/topic/16100-concerning-essences-especially-in-art/&do=findComment&comment=257035

As long as the works remained quite representational, on the border-line between clear and unclear, and still teasingly close to identifying the subject, and still evoking emotions, that's fine and fairly honest. Crossing the boundary altogether into fully abstract art is where deception may come in and surely does. For one to claim that a blurred hodgepodge image can be 'seen' by the educated and sensitive viewer, is doubtful. She may sincerely 'believe she knows'; she may be 'cheating' from what she's heard or read by the artist himself and his visual intentions in a specific painting; she may be dippy. Who knows? To know better, this intuitive insight should be empirically tested in several double-blind experiments, using unknown artworks by unknown artists. Claimants would state what they 'see', against the artist's testimony of what he 'meant', or at least what he was feeling at the time. (If he meant anything beyond a nice design).

 

I'm simply proposing applying the same exact methods and standards to works that Rand's followers assert are art.

 

Quote

The objective object of art - J - is not the "meaning" by the artist. It is to SEE something for what it IS. It's to "ground" one's concepts in percepts. If it is a (re-created) tree, then one identifies "a tree"; the artist's rendition and styling provides his specific view of existence which the viewer takes away. One sees reality through the artist's eyes and mind, which one concurs with, or not. "Meaning" is imprecise or diversionary.

Then music does not qualify as art! Please notice that you've evaded this point over and over again. You ignore it, and pretend that the point wasn't made. It's a silly little game of double standards. You apply one standard to the abstract art forms that Rand wanted to reject, and another to the abstract art forms that she wanted to classify as valid.

 

Quote

Whatever you may claim, and I believe you are sincere, an abstract artwork - at BEST - can convey A MOOD, which at BEST, other viewers agree with.

Prove that music can convey more that "at BEST," a mere "MOOD."

 

Quote

 

That art has a basic 'vocabulary' (color harmony, lines, balance of elements, etc.) is as old as the hills and is a good part of art training. The selected stylizing by a good artist is what imparts the all important mood to the millions of realist paintings.

Right. And with abstract art, one could sometimes feel (say) "tranquillity", by an arrangement of color harmonies

 

One? Which one? Is Tony the "one"? Are all "ones" exactly the same in their awareness and sensitivities? No "one" could possibly have more awareness and sensitivity than Tony? Where is the objective proof of the limits of what "one" could "sometimes feel"?

And are you saying that feeling "tranquility" through a work is not enough to qualify it as art? What more is needed? Precisely, objectively, what more is needed? After all, mere "tranquility" would be enough to allow a piece of music to qualify as art by Objectivism's double standards! 

 

Quote

But. I challenge you to 'prove' you can see what the object(s) in any abstract painting IS, (abstract, mind, not impressionist) and how you know, and that the artist meant for it to be so, and that other individiuals see the same thing. You can't. Because if anyone could consistently identify an existent in the painting, it would hardly be "abstract" art...

I've challenged you, and all other Rand-followers to do the same with pieces of music, and you've failed. I've also challenged Rand-followers with realistic, representational art, and they were unable to identify its subject matter, its thematic subject, and its meaning! One idiot, who is a moderator at an Objectivist site, was so unaware, unobservant and Rand-demented that he thought that famous works of romantic representational realism were "bad" abstract art.

 

Quote

IMO, 'abstract artists' in their rebellion against a cruel reality and against art convention, attempted to cut out content, and take viewers direct to a preset emotion through (um...) beauty - so bypassing and eliminating men's identification and judgment - and eradicating men's OWN emotional responses - by not providing any real existent to identify..

But it's okay for music to do the same. Double standard! Silly, irrational theory!

J

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I think each category of art--music, literature, painting, etc.--should be separately considered esthetically and that's the only possible way to any objectification. Just "art" covers way too much and many disparate items.

--Brant

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

I think each category of art--music, literature, painting, etc.--should be separately considered esthetically and that's the only possible way to any objectification. Just "art" covers way too much and many disparate items.

--Brant

I think that, if the idea is to actually be objective -- rational -- about the topic of aesthetics, then each of the art forms and their effects should be properly scientifically researched rather than just guessed at based on nothing but the personal aesthetic limitations of a handful of devout Rand-followers who approach the subject with a predetermined outcome due to having an emotional investment in trying to validate their favorite philosophy regardless of its adherence to or deviation from reality.

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29 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

I think that, if the idea is to actually be objective -- rational -- about the topic of aesthetics, then each of the art forms and their effects should be properly scientifically researched rather than just guessed at based on nothing but the personal aesthetic limitations of a handful of devout Rand-followers who approach the subject with a predetermined outcome due to having an emotional investment in trying to validate their favorite philosophy regardless of its adherence to or deviation from reality.

How does one scientifically research an Art Form?   Carrying out an art has to be physically possible and not rely on something the violates a physical law.  Other than what can one ask?

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Good questions! And they're ones that Rand and her followers haven't bothered to ask, and, in fact, they're questions which Rand's followers find to be extremely vicious and upsetting! Asking such questions is the ultimate in rudeness and vile personal attacks! Heh.

Which aspects of art and aesthetic response might be objectively measurable, and what means and methods would we used to measure them?

 

Here's Rand on the subject:

"In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life..."

 

Notice that she conveniently left out the how one might go about making such "objective" measurements of taste and aesthetic judgment! What standards, means, criteria would one use to "evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work"? Blank out. We'll just leave those tiny, unimportant details to lesser technicians in the future. Just trust me, I believe that there are objective means of measuring purely esthetic elements in all of the art forms, and I'm a philosopher-god/novelist who is in charge of guiding science, so therefore it must be true, and some little scientist will someday do the dirty work of obeying my guidance and proving me right. QED. But don't anyone else dare use this same smug method yourselves, or I'll rightfully accuse you of being ridiculous!

 

Rand also quite hilariously said:

"The esthetic principles which apply to all art, regardless of an individual artist's philosophy, and which must guide an objective evaluation, are outside the scope of this discussion, I will only mention that such principles are defined by the science of esthetics -- a task at which modern philosophers have failed dismally."

 

Heh. Those "modern philosophers" have done much better than she and her followers have. They, at least, are investigating the issue, and asking all sorts of questions, where the Objectivists are simply ignoring the issue, getting angry about it, arbitrarily denying others'  aesthetic responses, and merely baldly asserting that their own personal tastes and responses represent the universal limit of aesthetic response. The Objectivist Esthetics is little more than a really lame pose!

J

 

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13 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

Good questions! And they're ones that Rand and her followers haven't bothered to ask, and, in fact, they're questions which Rand's followers find to be extremely vicious and upsetting! Asking such questions is the ultimate in rudeness and vile personal attacks! Heh.

Which aspects of art and aesthetic response might be objectively measurable, and what means and methods would we used to measure them?

 

Here's Rand on the subject:

"In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life..."

 

Notice that she conveniently left out the how one might go about making such "objective" measurements of taste and aesthetic judgment! What standards, means, criteria would one use to "evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work"? Blank out. We'll just leave those tiny, unimportant details to lesser technicians in the future. Just trust me, I believe that there are objective means of measuring purely esthetic elements in all of the art forms, and I'm a philosopher-god/novelist who is in charge of guiding science, so therefore it must be true, and some little scientist will someday do the dirty work of obeying my guidance and proving me right. QED. But don't anyone else dare use this same smug method yourselves, or I'll rightfully accuse you of being ridiculous!

 

Rand also quite hilariously said:

"The esthetic principles which apply to all art, regardless of an individual artist's philosophy, and which must guide an objective evaluation, are outside the scope of this discussion, I will only mention that such principles are defined by the science of esthetics -- a task at which modern philosophers have failed dismally."

 

Heh. Those "modern philosophers" have done much better than she and her followers have. They, at least, are investigating the issue, and asking all sorts of questions, where the Objectivists are simply ignoring the issue, getting angry about it, arbitrarily denying others'  aesthetic responses, and merely baldly asserting that their own personal tastes and responses represent the universal limit of aesthetic response. The Objectivist Esthetics is little more than a really lame pose!

J

 

esthetics is not a science and never will be.  How can it be falsified (even in principle)  by empirical means?  Popper 101. 

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I agree. But we can scientifically study some aspects of the field.

Anyway, my point on this thread is that, yes, aesthetics is not the objective phenomenon that Rand's followers pretend it to be, and the unanswered questions in my initial post expose and call their bluff of objectivity.

J

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6 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

I think each category of art--music, literature, painting, etc.--should be separately considered esthetically and that's the only possible way to any objectification. Just "art" covers way too much and many disparate items.

--Brant

Visual art is the only topic here, afaic, despite J's side excursions into - anything. Expect Roark's mutiny from Rand soon.

Rand isolated each art, on its conceptual differences.

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4 hours ago, Jonathan said:

I think that, if the idea is to actually be objective -- rational -- about the topic of aesthetics, then each of the art forms and their effects should be properly scientifically researched rather than just guessed at based on nothing but the personal aesthetic limitations of a handful of devout Rand-followers who approach the subject with a predetermined outcome due to having an emotional investment in trying to validate their favorite philosophy regardless of its adherence to or deviation from reality.

I will have to keep repeating til I'm blue in the face: "objective" is conceptual - not empirical. Art is the product of consciousness, so is sensory-perceptual-conceptual. In its creation, and in its contemplation. What needs more study is the science of aesthetics, the effects of colour (etc.) and all the techniques which render "beauty" and how the brain and mind responds to it. Stuck in that Kant groove, J.

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34 minutes ago, anthony said:

Visual art is the only topic here, afaic, despite J's side excursions into - anything. Expect Roark's mutiny from Rand soon.

Rand isolated each art, on its conceptual differences.

Of course! It's a "side excursion" to expect each art form to comply with Rand's definition of "art." Hahahaha!

As for Rand's having "isolated each art," she actually only made unsupported assertions about each of the art forms (while having very little technical knowledge about them, other than literature) based on nothing but her own personal aesthetic responses, or lack thereof. She liked to "introspect," and she seems to have believed that, after having graded herself as the smartest person who had ever lived, introspection was enough! She believed that she had experienced great depth of "artists' meanings" in music, and therefore declared that music complied with her criteria, despite offering no objective proof that she had actually experienced such meanings, and, conversely, she arbitrarily rejected and quite angrily denied others' similar reports that they had experienced great depth of "artists' meanings" in works of abstract visual art, and she did so based on nothing but her own personal lack of having experienced the same in abstract visual art. She never actually objectively tested any of these beliefs of hers. She never offered any objective proof to back up her positions, claims and judgments. It was all bluff.

And you and her other followers still have nothing but bluff.

J

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11 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Tony has apparently forgotten the criteria that he proposed for testing whether or not abstract visual art may or may not qualify as art. He proposed empirically testing it with several double-blind experiments:

I'm simply proposing applying the same exact methods and standards to works that Rand's followers assert are art.

 

Then music does not qualify as art! Please notice that you've evaded this point over and over again. You ignore it, and pretend that the point wasn't made. It's a silly little game of double standards. You apply one standard to the abstract art forms that Rand wanted to reject, and another to the abstract art forms that she wanted to classify as valid.

 

Prove that music can convey more that "at BEST," a mere "MOOD."

 

One? Which one? Is Tony the "one"? Are all "ones" exactly the same in their awareness and sensitivities? No "one" could possibly have more awareness and sensitivity than Tony? Where is the objective proof of the limits of what "one" could "sometimes feel"?

And are you saying that feeling "tranquility" through a work is not enough to qualify it as art? What more is needed? Precisely, objectively, what more is needed? After all, mere "tranquility" would be enough to allow a piece of music to qualify as art by Objectivism's double standards! 

 

I've challenged you, and all other Rand-followers to do the same with pieces of music, and you've failed. I've also challenged Rand-followers with realistic, representational art, and they were unable to identify its subject matter, its thematic subject, and its meaning! One idiot, who is a moderator at an Objectivist site, was so unaware, unobservant and Rand-demented that he thought that famous works of romantic representational realism were "bad" abstract art.

 

But it's okay for music to do the same. Double standard! Silly, irrational theory!

J

I know in advance the outcome of impartial lempirical tests on subjects trying to identify objects in abstract art. Complete confusion. It's a bird! No, it's a plane! No, it is a flying man! 

I wonder if you consider interior decoration as art. Is wall paper, art? Is art, wall paper? The MOOD effects of colours of walls has been researched thoroughly by industry and colour consultants/decorators, and if 'tranquillity' (of cool blues and greens, say) - or 'vibrancy' of reds together with yellows, is all you need, well then why not just fill a canvas with two colours. Leave out the subject matter and cut to the chase. Voila. Abstract art.

Craft. Decoration. Design. And many more man-made constructs and skills. Do you want to subsume them all under art, as abstract art has been?

Crossing and mixing categories is what you are doing. Mood and emotion in music is all there is. In visual art, mood is one minor aspect. 

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46 minutes ago, anthony said:

I know in advance the outcome of impartial lempirical tests on subjects trying to identify objects in abstract art.

That's a good example of how the Objectivist mindset works: you imagine that you know outcomes in advance of testing.

Anyhoo, "identifying objects" is not sufficient (nor is it necessary in regard to Rand's favorite abstract art forms) for a work to qualify as art by Rand's theory (nor by Kamhi's, nor other Rand-followers). One must identify thematic subjects and "artists' meanings."

Besides, as I've already mentioned, Rand's followers were not able to "identify objects" in representational works of visual art. Heh. It's really quite entertaining testing Rand's followers. Nothing qualifies as art!

 

1 hour ago, anthony said:

I wonder if you consider interior decoration as art.

It cuts both ways: I wonder if you would consider technical installation manual drawings "art." After all, they show "identifiable objects," which, in the above, is what you're pretending is necessary and sufficient in order for a visual to qualify as art.

 

54 minutes ago, anthony said:

Craft. Decoration. Design. And many more man-made constructs and skills. Do you want to subsume them all under art, as abstract art has been?

I know that this is going to be difficult for you to understand, but my "wants," and yours, have nothing to do with it. I know that you believe that wanting makes it so, but that's just not reality.

 

55 minutes ago, anthony said:

Crossing and mixing categories is what you are doing.

No, I'm simply not accepting your or Rand's assertions about the categories without objective proof. Remember? Proof. It's the stuff that I've been challenging you to deliver, but which you've evaded doing?

 

57 minutes ago, anthony said:

Mood and emotion in music is all there is. In visual art, mood is one minor aspect. 

Arbitrary, unsupported assertions! You're simply making up rules. You're making empty declarations without anything to back them up. Like Rand, you've begun with the desired outcome, and have then invented and selectively applied the arbitrary double standards required to arrive at the desired outcome. The things that are still absent are objective proof and rational, consistent standards and criteria.

J

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Bunk. I see there is really no point to debating art to a mind-set which regards art as empirical (requiring 'proof' ... and, by the viewer!) thereby devaluing both the art concept and man's consciousness. I understand you believe you're standing up for art against unknowledgable upstarts, J, but ultimately you are not defending it well, I think. Moreso, championing the wrong people, considering that you are a realist, fine art painter who lends his weight and name to abstract art, which in fact stands against what you do and for artists who probably do not have your ability. 

I've got to know well the gripe levelled against Objectivists. It's the fallacy of perfect knowledge and/or that one must be 'expert', with authoritative status, before being passed competent: to see; to identify reality; to integrate; to make a value judgment; to pass an opinion.

What exempts art-viewing from the identical practice one continuously makes in real life?

Where better to 'practise' the process, and integrate ideas, than within art?

(Yes, and where better to learn about art further and observation skills too?)

The 'expert fallacy' is the skeptical rejection of conceptual knowledge/individualism.

Ironic, that. Art, the one medium without apparent practical purpose, and man-made expressly for the consciousness of Everyman, but is also (one is told) loftily above rational (conceptual) perusal, or value-assessment or personal, selfish use and gain. Leave your mind at the door. Only your (approved) emotions and reverence may enter.

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22 hours ago, Jonathan, quoting Ayn Rand said:

"In essence, an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it—i.e., taking his theme as criterion, evaluate the purely esthetic elements of the work, the technical mastery (or lack of it) with which he projects (or fails to project) his view of life..."

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On 9/14/2016 at 3:12 AM, anthony said:

1. Objectivity is not empiricism.

We hear a lot about 'objectivity,' which has several connotations.  One of the connotations is that an 'objective' finding or claim or assessment is true to reality -- but "outside of a subject's individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings." (link)  

More broadly and from the same source, a connotation that a truth condition be "met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, opinions,"  an ability to "judge fairly, without partiality or external influence."

So, there's that.

But what about 'empiricism' on an equally broad foundation of understanding? Is 'empiricism' a part of or related to 'objectivity'? Well, I would argue yes: reliable and valid judgments about reality are made in a context of objectivity -- but that objective 'stance' needs to be tested against reality. If an 'objective'' judgment is shown by observation or experience or experiment to be untruthful, it is the blade of empirical inquiry that shaves off the pretensions to truth. 

In other words, inquiry, rational inquiry, seeks to represent empirical reality, objectively. 

My naive personal philosophy thus holds that Empiricism and Objectivity are mutually-supportive and mutually-implicated in all clear-sighted inquiry.

18 hours ago, anthony said:

I will have to keep repeating til I'm blue in the face: "objective" is conceptual - not empirical.

This is puzzling to me. Maybe an example or two would help illustrate the contention.  

Can 'objectivity' be said to  require tools? Are there actual tools that help maintain an objective stance?  I say yes, it appears you say no.  It appears you believe hat empirical inquiry is no part of an objective inquiry.  It may be that you find empirical sciences as without objectivity. Puzzles.

Consider an analogy, an example of a  trial.  The charge is not important, but the process and outcome are. We hope for an impartial judge, an attitude of objectivity, and a process that meticulously tests each item of evidence given in support of the charge. In this case a rational inquiry is objective because it is constrained by empiricism. 

Another analogous situation might be found right here on this thread.  We can begin with Ayn Rand's Art Is, Art Isn't pronouncements as perfect in and of themselves, as a kind of proven theorem, or -- to increase our objectivity --  put the supposedly objective pronouncements to the test, run them against reality, attempt to disprove or detect unsupported aspects of the claims.

In the end, which process is more rational -- a purported rational inquiry that sets aside empirical reality-tests as non-objective?

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8 hours ago, anthony said:

Bunk. I see there is really no point to debating art to a mind-set which regards art as empirical (requiring 'proof' ... and, by the viewer!)...

You’re displaying your typical slop-thought method.

We’re not “debating art,” nor has anyone argued that art requires proof by the viewer.

Rather, the issue at hand is that assertions made by Rand-followers, such as Michelle Kamhi, about the existence and/or depth (or lack thereof) of others’ experiences when viewing abstract visual art, need to be backed up by something other than the mere fact that the Rand-followers don’t experience anything themselves when viewing the same art, and have therefore concluded that no one else can.

 

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...thereby devaluing both the art concept and man's consciousness.

The real “devaluing” agent of “both the art concept and man's consciousness” is the Objectivist Esthetics, since nothing in reality has ever been shown to qualify as art by any Objectivist’s criteria. No one shows more passion for destroying the concept of art than Objectivists. You love screaming “NOT ART” at other people. And you can’t comply with your own criteria -- when tested with art works in reality, you can’t identify their subjects and meanings! 

 

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I understand you believe you're standing up for art against unknowledgable upstarts, J, but ultimately you are not defending it well, I think.

No, that’s not my position. I don’t think that Kamhi is an “unknowledgable upstart.” She’s very bright and informed, which makes her errors and her inability to address my criticisms all the more troubling and embarrassing.

 

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Moreso, championing the wrong people, considering that you are a realist, fine art painter who lends his weight and name to abstract art, which in fact stands against what you do and for artists who probably do not have your ability.

As a realist painter, you say that I have some “weight,” but apparently you believe that it is an insult for me to even suggest the possibility that I, due to being a disciplined professional practitioner of the art form, might have more awareness and observational abilities than non-artists. It just cannot be -- MUST NOT BE -- that anyone might have more awareness and sensitivities than Rand-followers!

 

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I've got to know well the gripe levelled against Objectivists. It's the fallacy of perfect knowledge and/or that one must be 'expert', with authoritative status, before being passed competent: to see; to identify reality; to integrate; to make a value judgment; to pass an opinion.

Completely wrong. That’s not my position at all. It’s nothing but the rationalization/mischaracterization you’ve come up with in order to dodge and evade my questions.

 

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What exempts art-viewing from the identical practice one continuously makes in real life?

What in the hell are you taking about?!!! Who and what do you imagine that you're arguing with?!!! Wow. Just, wow.

 

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Where better to 'practise' the process, and integrate ideas, than within art?

Um, heh, try to pay attention to what’s actually being discussed, instead of going off on your fantasy discussions with imaginary participants. Reread my challenges to Kamhi. Try to understand them rather than just having a nutburger emotional reaction to them and then arguing with straw men.

 

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(Yes, and where better to learn about art further and observation skills too?)

Um, observational skills are definitely something you need to work on, including in regard to realist art. You’re shockingly unaware and unobservant.

 

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The 'expert fallacy' is the skeptical rejection of conceptual knowledge/individualism.

The only people who are fallaciously posing as experts are Rand’s followers who arbitrarily deny others’ aesthetic responses simply because the Rand-followers don’t experience the same.

 

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Ironic, that. Art, the one medium without apparent practical purpose, and man-made expressly for the consciousness of Everyman, but is also (one is told) loftily above rational (conceptual) perusal, or value-assessment or personal, selfish use and gain. Leave your mind at the door. Only your (approved) emotions and reverence may enter.

No one has taken the position above that you’re trying to assign to me. You're being nonsensical.

My actual position is really not that hard to grasp: The fact that one or even several people do not experience anything when viewing certain artworks or genres is not proof that no one else experiences anything. And if one wishes to claim that various art forms do or do not convey or communicate “artists’ meanings,” then one would have to actually establish objective methods of testing all proposed art forms for their ability to meet the criteria.

It’s really quite a simple and rational position to take, and it’s hilarious to me that my proposing it is seen as being so controversial, vicious and unfair.

Silly zealots! Running away from the epistemoligical method that you claim to adore!

"We don’t need no stinkin’ proof or logic! Proof is bad, and anyone who asks us to prove our positions is an empiricist!"

Hahahaha!

J

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"In the end, which is more rational--a purported rational inquiry that *sets aside* empirical reality-tests as non-objective?". [William]

It is a fascinating line of enquiry if you're interested to pursue it more.

As I see it, in brief, objective cognition has a fundamental approach which 'by-passes' empiricism:

"The art of non-contradictory identification". Identity, and identification - existence, and consciousness, the bedrock of Objectivism.

I recommend The Stanford Encyc of Philosophy article - Rationalism vs. Empiricism - to get acquainted with an old philosophical conflict. E.g. The experience of the senses vs. innate knowledge("intuitionism") - a posteriori vs. a priori. Etc. You will see empiricism laid out in depth in the article, (more than I can take in at a time) and who supported it - and its relation for some philosophers to philosophical skepticism (David Hume, particularly)

Btw. Similar to skepticism, as we discussed once, I think it's correct to state that "the empirical" ~as scientific method~ must be carefully distinguished from "the philosophy of empiricism". Though there is overlap, the first is of course the methodology essential to scientists, and therefore to laymen too.

On the same subject, Rand: "Philosophers came to be divided into two camps: those who claimed than man obtains his knowledge of the world by deducing it exclusively from concepts, which come from inside his head and are not derived from the perception of physical facts (the Rationalists)--and those who claimed that man obtains his knowledge from experience, which was held to mean: by direct perception of immediate facts, with no recourse to concepts (the Empiricists). To put it more simply: those who joined the mystics by abandoning reality--and those who clung to reality, by abandoning their mind". [Rationalism versus Empiricism]

So, the two pose a false dichotomy - objectively.

Back to art:

"The source of art lies in the fact that man's cognitive faculty is *conceptual*--i.e. that man acquires knowledge and guides his actions, not by means of single, isolated percepts, but by means of *abstractions*. {Rand]

Nobody gainsays the necessary (empirical) study of art's ancient effects on the mind and brain (the science of "aesthetics") and how and why beauty appeals to us. But beauty isn't the sole part and purpose of art.

 

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38 minutes ago, anthony said:

"

So, the two pose a false dichotomy - objective

 

The solution is the doctrine of falsification.  By all means use reason + facts to produce a hypothesis.   Then test predictions logically implied by the hypothesis against observed fact.  If the prediction is falsified by the observation then some element of the hypothesis is false.

As Rand often wrote:  check your premises.  

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