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  1. science's Avatar
    Just saving something:

    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Given that people -- even the most knowledgeable people who share basically the same culture and have deep expertise -- disagree about art, what exactly does this mean? I can imagine two models:

    In the objectivist model, the art has certain qualities which every sentient being ought to respond to in exactly the same way. It's just an objective truth that X is beautiful, Y is not, and that Z is more beautiful than X. Everyone capable of verifying it will reach the same conclusion, the way that everyone capable of any given empirical or mathematical claim will reach the same conclusion. Only one conclusion is possible because we are dealing with objective facts, and to reach the wrong conclusion is to be in error, possibly to be a dunce.

    In the subjectivist model, sure, work X has some objective (you can say "inherent") qualities, as does work Y and work Z, but subjects A and B and C might have legitimately different responses to those qualities.

    The subjectivist model doesn't mean that every response is equally legitimate, since subject D might not even be aware of some of the qualities of work X. But the difference between the two models is that objectivist one claims that all subjects aware of the qualities in the art ought to have the same response, while the subjectivist model says that their responses can legitimately differ.

    After all, the subjectivist must point out, it's probably impossible and certainly rare to find two people who are highly knowledgeable about a field of art and have exactly the same opinions about how good each work in it is and why. When they find that they disagree, how do they establish who is correct? In mathematical questions, they can check each other's proofs; in empirical questions, they can check each other's instruments and data, but what do they check in aesthetic questions? Is there a supreme soul with the perfect answers to which the rest of us ought aspire? Or is human nature legitimately variable from person to person?