Jonathan

Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

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22 hours ago, Jonathan said:

Nice try. Have you focused on any other thinkers when trying to distract from the subject at hand? No. You don't know any of their views. Nor do you really know Kant's, but Rand trained you to hate him anyway, so that's what you do. When you can't answer challenges against the Objectivist Esthetics, you resort to attacking Kant when no one is advocating for him (and you alternate those attacks with claims of axiomatic status to that which you can't prove, or to pretending that Rand didn't require what you're trying to eliminate or deny).

 

Not in the realm of aesthetics. Rand adopted his views without knowing it. It's clear that she didn't actually read his work. I think that what happened is that one of the followers in her "inner circle" went out looking to confirm Rand's uninformed opinions on Kant, just like you do, and misread his work with absolute hostility through freaky distorted Rand Goggles™.

We've seen the phenomenon a few times here on OL. Newberry, for example, had been fond of intellectually immolating himself in the past with posts wher

22 hours ago, Jonathan said:

...the words which make the statement benign, if not downright Objectivistically heroic.

An example was: "Every affection of the STRENUOUS TYPE (such, that is, as excites the consciousness of our power of overcoming every resistance [animus strenuus]) is aesthetically sublime, e.g., anger, even desperation (the rage of forlorn hope but not faint-hearted despair)."

I've bolded the words that Rand's acolytes don't see, or refuse to understand.

 

 

An example was: "Every affection of the STRENUOUS TYPE (such, that is, as excites the consciousness of our power of overcoming every resistance [animus strenuus]) is aesthetically sublime, e.g., anger, even desperation (the rage of forlorn hope but not faint-hearted despair)."

I've bolded the words that Rand's acolytes don't see, or refuse to understand.

 

2

The "Objectivistically heroic" utterance by Kant is meaningless in reality, but that you understand. No, an "affection" (sensation) "strenuous" or not, does not presuppose an individual acting in any specific way, e.g. "our power of overcoming every resistance".

In other words, Kant claims our "excited' consciousness and the will to act and overcome, is dependent on feeling strongly. (Anger, desperation, etc.)

Much like David Hume who said he wouldn't "scratch a finger to save the world" unless he felt an emotion.

An Objectivist "hero" or any rational individual, isn't a pawn of sensations. After recovering from the initial shock to his senses, he identifies and evaluates the cause before and only then (obviously) experiencing an emotion. Emotion is a consequence of values. What you find heroic in Kant's statement, is no more than the primacy of sensations and emotions, most appealing to sentimentalists. It seems he made a leap of faith over the self-evident fact that an individual must know what something IS, assess whether it's good or bad for him (and his values) and only then act/decide no need to act. Although perceiving, recognizing and evaluating (and the appropriate emotions) occurs so quickly in a consciousness, Kant had no excuse for overlooking a mind's perception and self-value. This nicely corresponds with his reduced-awareness, noumenal-phenomenal epistemology (Kant's Goggles) and explains the need for his sensationalist-emotionalist-Sublime, which, if you remember from Paul Guyer's analysis, prepares an individual in advance for the self-sacrifices he must make in his duty to others. 

You take such things very narrowly. A theory of art doesn't exist in a vacuum, for a systematic philosopher. With a comprehensive philosophy like Kant's (or Rand's), it's advisable to understand better his whole context, up to his ideas of planned and obedient society and ultimately including his faith in a supreme creator and moral arbiter - since one's self-sacrifices at cost to one's happiness (in this lifetime) necessitate an immortal soul and God - and how he made his parts connect. Cherry-picking "heroic" sounding lines out of Kant might lead to accepting anything else on faith.

 

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I'm really not interested, not even slightly, in your nutjob tangle of misinterpretations of Kant. Or of any other thinker.

You're deflecting, and I'm not going to fall for the stupid distraction. It's sooooo fucking boring witnessing the lack of creativity and originality in your style of denying reality.

 

There are still no objective criteria of aesthetic judgment.

Nothing has been objectively proven to qualify as art by Rand's definition and criteria.

 

So, nothing qualifies as art, and even if it did, there are still no objective aesthetic means of judging it.

 

The Objectivist Esthetics, still quite dead.

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16 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

I'm really not interested, not even slightly, in your nutjob tangle of misinterpretations of Kant. Or of any other thinker.

You're deflecting, and I'm not going to fall for the stupid distraction. It's sooooo fucking boring witnessing the lack of creativity and originality in your style of denying reality.

 

There are still no objective criteria of aesthetic judgment.

Nothing has been objectively proven to qualify as art by Rand's definition and criteria.

 

So, nothing qualifies as art, and even if it did, there are still no objective aesthetic means of judging it.

 

The Objectivist Esthetics, still quite dead.

You need it simple: Screwy thinking leads to screwy art and to screwy societies.

(Disprove my "misinterpretations of Kant", otherwise one more arbitrary assertion by you).

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17 minutes ago, anthony said:

You need it simple: Screwy thinking leads to screwy art and to screwy societies.

(Disprove my "misinterpretations of Kant", otherwise one more arbitrary assertion by you).

Borrrrring! Deflectinnnnnng!

 

There are still no objective criteria of aesthetic judgment.

Nothing has been objectively proven to qualify as art by Rand's definition and criteria.

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So, I went to the Bossypants Blog to comment on the "scurrilous hatchet job" of Award-Winning Critic Maligns Ayn Rand’s Theory of Art:

Quote

 

“But does she consider what ‘fundamental concepts and values’ (a key part of Rand’s theory that she ‘can get with’) are communicated by abstract painting or sculpture? Hardly.”

I’ve mentioned in the past on this blog that I’ve tested people who have been influenced by Rand, including you, Ms Kamhi, with realist representational artworks to which they hadn’t been exposed previously, and therefore about which they had been allowed no access to “outside considerations.” None of them has yet been able to identify the intended “artist’s theme” in any work. They do even worse with the abstract aural art form of music. So, the communication requirement that you seek to impose on abstract visual art is something that you might want to reconsider. You’ve only assumed that realist representational works would easily meet that criterion, but the reality is that nothing has ever been objectively demonstrated to qualify as art by your definition and criteria.

 

Auntie Kamhi took my comment down in less than half an hour. Heh.

Tony, see, this is the way that the pros do it! Don't just mentally blank it out, but actually physically erase it from your little corner of existence. Don't argue against the challenge, or offer up lame distractions and deflections. You have to believe that the issue has disappeared, and you can't do that if you're continuing to acknowledge its existence by arguing about it. Your mistake is commenting in a forum that you don't own and control.

J

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I wrote:

On 1/17/2018 at 12:44 PM, Jonathan said:

Tony, see, this is the way that the pros do it! Don't just mentally blank it out, but actually physically erase it from your little corner of existence. Don't argue against the challenge, or offer up lame distractions and deflections. You have to believe that the issue has disappeared, and you can't do that if you're continuing to acknowledge its existence by arguing about it. Your mistake is commenting in a forum that you don't own and control.

...and Tony didn't respond!

Way to go, Tony! Congratulations on learning and being open to adapting to new and better strategies!

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It's time again for a reminder:

There are still no objective criteria of aesthetic judgment.

Nothing has been objectively proven to qualify as art by Rand's definition and criteria.

So, nothing qualifies as art, and even if it did, there are still no objective aesthetic means of judging it.

I've challenged all of the biggest loudmouths in O-land to objectively demonstrate that anything has ever met Rand's (or their own) criteria for art, yet none has ever done so. Usually, they whine like infants, claim that they're being severely abused, and delete my posts when they have the power to do so, or outright ban me. And still no answers to my challenge. Not even from the published royalty of Objectivish aesthetic thought -- Kamhi, Torres, Bissell, etc.

Objectivist Esthetics, dead and rotting in the grave.

J

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It is interesting to a non artist like me, how some artist's paintings are worth more than others. I don't think monetary value correlates with artistic ability in a strict sense, but photographic (looking) paintings will not bring in the big bucks or praise, that less "realistic" paintings do. The fact that different schools and techniques come into style and then decline is interesting. Does anyone see any sense in the history of art from say, 1400 BP to the present?  

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8 minutes ago, Peter said:

It is interesting to a non artist like me, how some artist's paintings are worth more than others. I don't think monetary value correlates with artistic ability in a strict sense, but photographic (looking) paintings will not bring in the big bucks or praise, that less "realistic" paintings do. The fact that different schools and techniques come into style and then decline is interesting. Does anyone see any sense in the history of art from say, 1400 BP to the present?  

It depends on what you mean by "artistic ability." Is that measured in how realistically an artist presents his painting, writes his story or composes his song? Or is it more of an issue of how strongly his work impacts people emotionally/aesthetically?

Does anyone see any sense in recent art history, you ask. Yes. It's been a typical chain of discovery, experimentation and new inquiry.

J

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J wrote: "Or is it more of an issue of how strongly his work impacts people emotionally/aesthetically?"

I would say yes to that, but if I were an art dealer I would look for the monetary value. If I were looking to hang something in my living room, or even my garage or work shop, then how I emotionally react to art or music would be the prime motive.

Is there a constantly improving world of art?

I just looked at an article by Tracinski about using loud, classical music to drive transients and bums out of the subway waiting areas and away from stores.  

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

Is there a constantly improving world of art?

Yes. Like any other field, new ideas and means are always being invented. New knowledge is always being learned about how and why aesthetic elements affect humans, and used accordingly.

J

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

I would say yes to that, but if I were an art dealer I would look for the monetary value.

Uh huh. Economically, what's true of all other products is also true of art. Monetary value is determined the same way.

J

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Bump:

On 11/2/2017 at 1:35 PM, Jonathan said:

Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi, What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand (pgs 57-58)

"A work of art cannot be properly evaluated as 'good' or 'bad' on the basis of a sense-of-life response. She thus draws a crucial distinction between esthetic response (though she does not use that term) and what she terms esthetic judgment. The former is a spontaneous, emotional reaction to the work as a whole. The latter is a function of intellectual appraisal; it is a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. Whether one shares or does not share an artist's fundamental view of life, Rand explains, 'is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.'"

Torres and Kamhi are correct about everything in the above statement, including the appraising of the artist's intended theme.

---

So, what are the obstacles to bringing the deceased Objectivist Esthetics back to life?

First, there's the problem of Objectivism categorizing things as valid art forms which do not meet Objectivism's stated definition and criteria. There are restrictions which were apparently intended to be aimed only at "modern art," but which in reality hit a much wider target, definitely including music, architecture and dance, and very likely including most of all of the other art forms to one degree or another.

Second, there's the problem of the missing means by which to make objective aesthetic judgments. Rand recognized the need to identify "the esthetic principles which apply to all art," and which "must guide an objective evaluation," but she never provided them. Nor has any of her followers. Since, as Kamhi and Torres correctly note above, mere aesthetic responses are "spontaneous, emotional reactions," they therefore do not adhere to the Objectivist philosophy's notion of objectivity, which is the act of volitionally adhering to reality by applying the rules logic and reason to any given individual situation. Objectivity cannot be practiced until those missing "objective esthetic principles" have been identified and put into practice. And nothing can qualify as art until that time, since Rand's view was there was no place for "whim" or for "the unknowable, the unintelligible, the undefinable, the non-objective in any human product." Nothing, therefore, can qualify as art until the moment that the missing objective means of making aesthetic evaluations has been delivered. There is "no place" for art until those means have arrived.

Third, logically, the missing objective means must include the process of comparing viewers' interpretations of a work of art to the artist's intended meaning, and that intended meaning must be established by some means outside of the work of art (such as a written explanation or an audio recording of an interview with the artist, etc.). The same would be true of objectively evaluating any human action; one would have to compare the results to what was intended to be achieved. Since artists' statements of their intended meanings are actually pretty rare in comparison to the number of all art works, very little will qualify as potentially qualifying as art.

Fourth, there's the problem of Objectivism not having addressed the issue that all viewers do not possess the same observational and cognitive abilities, and that such differences in abilities are relevant to objectively measuring how well any human action, including art, has been performed. In other words, the artist and his abilities are not the only things to be taken into consideration, but a truly objective means of making aesthetic judgments must account for differing abilities in viewers so that a work of art could not be judged to have failed when the reality was that only certain viewers had failed to identify meaning where others had succeeded.

In order to overcome these four problems, a truly objective Objectivist Esthetics would have to be something very different from that which died on the operating table at the beginning of this thread.

J

 

On 11/5/2017 at 11:18 AM, Jonathan said:

Ugh! I'm slipping. I forgot to include point five:

Fifth, there's the problem of Objectivism misidentifying the concept of "esthetic judgments" as being about appraising the technical merits of how well an artist projected his view of existence. Such judgments are not aesthetic, but simply normal judgments. They are the same as judging how well a plumber, engineer or ditch digger performed his task. Actual "esthetic judgments" would appraise the effects and affects of what Kamhi and Torres in the above identify as "esthetic responses."

Rand did a little sleight of hand. The field of aesthetics is about judgments of beauty, taste and sentiment. Such judgments are, as Rand, Kamhi and Torres recognized, "spontaneous and emotional." They are subjective. But Rand wanted them to be objective. Everything had to be objective. Therefore she tried to force aesthetics judgments to become objective by substituting a different concept for them. She might as well have declared that judging a writer's spelling to be correct is an "esthetic judgment." Or that measuring the dimensions of a canvas is an "esthetic judgment."

It's a very similar tactic to how Dr. Ex-Mrs. Dr. Comrade Sonia, PhD., once tried to prove that judgments of beauty were "objective" by playing the little game of substituting the concept of "health" for the concept of "beauty." You just take a phenomenon which is subjective, and then hope that no one notices that you've switched to a different concept which has objectively measurable characteristics. Voila, the subjective thing is now objective by association, which is kind of almost the same as being objective, if we squint our eyes and pretend a little.

Contrary to Rand's little shell game, real "esthetic judgments" are not about judging an artist's "technical mastery," but about the beauty, taste and sentiment with which he creates his art, and which his art evokes. Aesthetic judgments are about the "spontaneous and emotional" responses that Rand tossed aside and decided not to explore or have any curiosity about whatsoever, despite being a romanticist and craving the emotionally stimulating.

J

C'mon, O-vish necromancers, give it a jolt.

J

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Wow, back from the dead again. 

Objectivity, in all things, starts at knowing what you are seeing. Even some little hint of a recognizably real entity, would be good. 

It's no good blaming the viewer if an artist is incapable or obscurantist or self-indulgent, etc.

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Objectivity, in all things, starts at knowing what you are seeing. Even some little hint of a recognizably real entity would be good. 

So, since not one single work of alleged art has ever been objectively shown to have complied with Rand's definition and criteria, all alleged works of art, including Rand's, are "obscurantist or self-indulgent."

Try to remember what we've discussed several times, Tony: I've tested you and other Objectivists and your ability to identify artists' meanings in representational realist paintings. There was nothing obscure or self-indulgent about the works of art. In fact, they were quite ordinary and they easily fell within the representational tradition that you demand.

Anyway, Tony, I already know that you have nothing to offer to this thread. Actually, you have less than nothing. My post wasn't addressed to you, or meant to encourage your blather. It was actually an invitation to others to practice actual objectivity and rationality, and to recognize the bluff and nonsense of the Objectivist Esthetics.

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Setting the tone for a fruitful debate.  ... and "meanings" are what you, not Rand, put into viewing art.

To repeat, objectivity starts at knowing what you are seeing - not mind-reading the artist, second-guessing him. Only then - one can see what he sees, and be affected by his vision or not.

You don't get "objectivity and rationality", so farewell. 

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9 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

Well from what I have seen, Jonathan is an amazing and gifted artist...just sayin.

Thank you.

And right back at you.

J

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11 hours ago, anthony said:

Setting the tone for a fruitful debate.  ... and "meanings" are what you, not Rand, put into viewing art.

To repeat, objectivity starts at knowing what you are seeing - not mind-reading the artist, second-guessing him. Only then - one can see what he sees, and be affected by his vision or not.

You don't get "objectivity and rationality", so farewell. 

Buh-bye.

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13 hours ago, Jules Troy said:

Well from what I have seen, Jonathan is an amazing and gifted artist...just sayin.

I don't argue with that. J's work is actually quite suited to romantic realism, what I've seen. But the making of art and the thinking about it can often be distinct from each other, self-contradictory and conflicting - his thinking is what I simply call the empirical-mystical mode in art. From what i can tell from artists and art critics etc.,, that's universally been ~long~ educated into artists and their following from some early philosophers and religionists. IE. The work of art "transcends" reality and minds. Which is why he hasn't taken on board - and tried to understand - the reality-consciousness-consciousness mode which, simplistically and broadly, constitutes the "Objectivist Esthetics".

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On 7/22/2019 at 9:13 AM, anthony said:

I don't argue with that. J's work is actually quite suited to romantic realism, what I've seen. But the making of art and the thinking about it can often be distinct from each other, self-contradictory and conflicting - his thinking is what I simply call the empirical-mystical mode in art. From what i can tell from artists and art critics etc.,, that's universally been ~long~ educated into artists and their following from some early philosophers and religionists. IE. The work of art "transcends" reality and minds. Which is why he hasn't taken on board - and tried to understand - the reality-consciousness-consciousness mode which, simplistically and broadly, constitutes the "Objectivist Esthetics".

Okay, so I’m an empirical-mystical thinker, but my art is “quite suited to romantic realism”? How is that possible? Doesn’t an artist's work reveal his naked soul, his sense of life, and view of existence? Doesn’t his style "project his psycho-epistemology and his view of man’s consciousness"? If I’m a misguided follower of early philosophers and religionists, and "haven’t taken on board the reality-consciousness-consciousness mode” (it’s so nice, Tony says it twice?), shouldn’t my art necessarily reflect my fucked up mindset, and be decidedly anti-romantic-realist? C’mon, there must be some sort of saving means of condemnation of my art, no? My work MUST contain something like "bleak metaphysics” or “revoltingly evil” something or other.

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