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I know you so I don't think you're mad at me, but I don't see any emoticons..

I only meant that scientists pull things apart and try to make sense of the separate objective facts. Musicologists and musicians and composers do that too. We pull things apart for whatever the immediate task is. We reduce them until we can find something to proceed with objectively

Hand a musician two very different scores and he can probably very quickly tell you which one is better. How does he do it? It doesn't matter if he sounds correct to someone else. He can point to the score and give objective reasons for his evaluation, so it's a level playing field among knowledgeable people. Does that sound condescending?
My friend, no rancor intended! :)

But despite all of the verbiage, despite the special pleading for some kind of transcendent trans-physical, quasi-mystical prolixity enveloping the objectivist view, it still boils down to who likes what. It is a chicken-and-egg thing--we hear something we really like (so do the critics and other Experts) and then we begin the process--ex post facto--of "discovering" or concocting all the reasons why we (and every other thinking person) should and must, really, like that something. That is the way it really works. People who prefer Beethoven (poor Ludwig!) are many among the select CM audience, and those who prefer the energy and novelty and acidity and bite of Prokofiev (for example) are fewer in number. Therefore, What? It's a poll.
 

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My friend, no rancor intended! :)

But despite all of the verbiage, despite the special pleading for some kind of transcendent trans-physical, quasi-mystical prolixity enveloping the objectivist view, it still boils down to who likes what. It is a chicken-and-egg thing--we hear something we really like (so do the critics and other Experts) and then we begin the process--ex post facto--of "discovering" or concocting all the reasons why we (and every other thinking person) should and must, really, like that something. That is the way it really works. People who prefer Beethoven (poor Ludwig!) are many among the select CM audience, and those who prefer the energy and novelty and acidity and bite of Prokofiev (for example) are fewer in number. Therefore, What? It's a poll.
If it's merely a poll there's a lot of questions left unanswered.
 

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No, we can't agree on that! It resides in the art object understood with respect to certain values and principles manifested in objective and verifiable features of the work. Judgments of aesthetic value are usually perceived as more credibility when the principles and values by which they're understood are known to have been the ones under which the work was constructed.
Which begs the question; do we really listen to a late 18th century work like actual people from the late 18th century Europe (who unquestioningly upheld the values of the Enlightenment in music) would have? If not, why should our "decisions" about its "greatness" be considered to have more "objective credibility" than theirs? (Are we not "cherry-picking" things, by any chance, due to our "limitations in capability to appreciate"?). Fbjim sometimes talked about this, I remember.
And do our "decisions" about music popular in our own little nerdy circles (that comprise like less than 0.01% of the entire population today) even really have significant meaning outside them?
 

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Which begs the question; do we really listen to a late 18th century work like people from late 18th century Europe (who unquestioningly upheld values of Enlightenment in music) would have? If not, why should our "decisions" about its "greatness" should have more "objective credibility" than theirs? (Are we not "cherry-picking" things, by any chance, due to our limitations in capability to appreciate?).
And do our "decisions" about music popular in our own little nerdy circles (that comprise like less than 0.01% of the population today) even really have significant meaning outside them?
I’m going to have a hard time enjoying your posts in the future. I was apparently misled that those of the past represented a pride in and appreciation of the works of certain classical music composers and classical music in general. Classical music, nerdy circles or not, still has an important world-wide presence particularly in Europe and Asia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #226 · (Edited)
This forum is not a seminar of musicology so I will have to stop myself from laying out a path for the most objective truth possible on the matter.

I will just say on what criteria I am stating that Sibelius is the greatest symphonist of all time. As an homage to the great 7 symphonies, I will only stick to 7 points for now. (I will continue if needed.)

1. Master of tonality: Strong harmonic tendencies, strong and expressive chord sequences, use of clusters, chromatism, modality and other scales. In my opinion only Bach, Wagner and Chopin are as capable in the field of tonality as Sibelius. Not even Beethoven or Brahms come as far, great though they are. Mahler, Bruckner and Shostakovich are far behind.

2. Master of melodies: Sibelius Symphonies are full of melodies which are both intellectually stimulating, expressive, emotional and beautiful in their own right. Only Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Wagner rival Sibelius is this. There is something meaningfully singable in every movement. Without being a master melodist, Sibelius would not been as great a symphonist.

3. Master of the grand scale and architecture: Sibelius’ symphonies are known to be complex and rich entities which are also able to create the sense of unity and balance. There is great unity in the great complex diversity. This resulted in new symphonic forms and structures. No one is quite at Sibelius’ level in this prospect.

4. Master of thematic and motific metamorphoses. Sibelius adabted this principle from Beethoven and Brahms and is an equal of them in coherence yet surpasses both in the abundance of the directions and details gained despite the strict symphonic logic.

5. Stimulus of both intellect and emotion is always present in all Sibelius. This is one of the key features in Immanuel Kant’s aesthetics: A strong artistic experience is formed when a strong emotional feeling comes together with intellectual conception of the form. This balance is strong in Sibelius in an unique way.


6. Nobody can deny the expressive powers of the Sibelius symphonies. In that way Sibelius applies the Tolstoi principle: art must always express something. Sibelius’ music communicates strongly. Every symphony expresses different things. There is nature, there is sense of home, there is patriotism, feeling of getting old, there is nostalgia, there is nocturnal atmospheres, there is the expression of suffering, there is landscape, humanism, cosmic aspects, sorrow and joy... Only Beethoven and Mahler come close to Sibelius in the variety of expressive symphonic powers. Sibelius’ music carries so much MEANING through the musical language he was able to create based on the previous generations and his own genius imagination.


7. Sibelius Symphonies are extremely diverse. You could easily take almost whatever Mahler movement and put it into another one of his symphonies and maybe change the key and with some other minor modifications make it work. Same with Brahms and Bruckner: it is always the same voice, strong though they are. The 1st Symphony of Sibelius couldn’t be farther away from the 7th. Only Beethoven rivals Sibelius in this prospect but if we include programmatic Symphonic Poems by Sibelius, Sibelius surpasses even Beethoven.
The text quoted above is just about the most objectivist I might occasionally feel getting. Then again my objectivism above is basically just being honest and making SOME arguments for the sake of conversation even though it is obvious there will never be an objective, final and definite answer to who really was the greatest symphonist of all time.

But I think there is some value in attempts like the one above (even though I don’t myself agree with myself on all points at the time). I would like to encourage such attempts — rather than saying that just stick to your opinion, articulate it in one sentence and tell everyone else to do the same.

The value in aspiring some objectivity should be admitted. For example, it has been the more objectivist or analytical TC posts that really have helped me forward into understanding Mahler. People who have been patient enough to explain.

Then again I value pure and simple opinions, too. I even enjoy the numerous polls to an extent.
 

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Good question. The artist sets, accepts, and fulfills (or not) the premises on which the work is based. He doesn't, for the most part, invent those premises - they are largely derived from his culture and profession - but he does, if he's not a mere imitator, find new ways of using those premises and of extending and modifying them. He is then admired for both his ability to grasp and exploit an inherited, common expressive language and for his creative originality.
I always respect you for your insight and attitude, Mr. Woodduck. But come on, let's stop kidding our ourselves. (It's starting to get laughable really.) Perpetual aesthetic practices in Mozart, for instance, (even an entire genre) have been disparaged as downright "ridiculous" (no questions asked) on the forum, even though Mozart in his time and "sensibility" would have found them perfectly acceptable. I mean.. suuure.. "inventiveness of melody" and "mastery of form" are still there.. riiiight.. these things triumph over all the supposed "negatives".. since they're sooo great..
Let's talk no more on this; it's getting cringey I feel like getting out of here now, lol.
 

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But despite all of the verbiage, despite the special pleading for some kind of transcendent trans-physical, quasi-mystical prolixity enveloping the objectivist view,
A ludicrously fantastical and insulting description of the work done by many participants in this and other discussions to get at the nature of artistic merit and aesthetic values.

it still boils down to who likes what.
The only "it" that boils down to that is your theory of an equivalence between aesthetic perception and the activity of your taste buds.

It is a chicken-and-egg thing--we hear something we really like (so do the critics and other Experts) and then we begin the process--ex post facto--of "discovering" or concocting all the reasons why we (and every other thinking person) should and must, really, like that something. That is the way it really works.
The only "it" that "really works" that way is your theoretical model of art=ice cream . You may be (somewhat) qualified to describe what happens in your own brain when you hear a piece of music, but you sure as hell can't speak for what happens in mine. For me, and for innumerable other people, including particularly the artists who create the phenomenally evocative and communicative products you have compared to Hagen Dasz, the process of perceiving, comprehending and appraising art involves much more than "really liking" it and "concocting" justifications for doing so. It's mind-boggling that after all this time, the depth and potential yield of that process has so escaped your comprehension - or so failed to interest you - that you can still trivialize and dismiss as a self-deluding fraud the entire attempt to understand what makes art the powerful product and vehicle of human values that most people with any interest in the matter know it is.

People who prefer Beethoven (poor Ludwig!) are many among the select CM audience, and those who prefer the energy and novelty and acidity and bite of Prokofiev (for example) are fewer in number. Therefore, What? It's a poll.
Repeating endlessly the fact that different people prefer different music or poetry, and taking polls to determine who prefers what, give us nothing we don't already know except numerical statistics. Neither the simple fact of taste, nor any poll of any number of people concerning their tastes, tells us anything about the nature of art and the human response to it. Since it doesn't, and since you must know that it doesn't, what's the point of continuing to argue for your mysterious "it"?

Be sure of one thing: your "it" is not my "it."
 

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Yes, and we can even say that education offers "a way out". And doesn't it always...
It helps to not only gain knowledge but also develop critical thinking skills. Of course, our conversations here aren't at a scholarly level - and neither should they be - nor are they like those between trusted friends.

The internet falls between the cracks of normal communication, and I don't think I will ever figure it out partly because I'm too old to have grown up with it. Whether we accept them or not, logical fallacies, echo chambers and confirmation bias are pretty much what we buy into when we enter into online discussions.

In many respects, me being a dinosaur is probably a good thing, since I can remember a time when the internet didn't exist. I sometimes wonder whether its limitations are as apparent to those who grew up with it, to whom the norms and expectations of online discussion are like a second nature. I know that critical thinking is still taught at school, but younger people are growing up in a world that tries hard to blur the lines between their lives in reality and online. It must be confusing to need to constantly go against the grain like that, since so much of our lives are spent online nowadays.
 

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I always respect you for your insight and attitude, Mr. Woodduck. But come on, let's stop kidding our ourselves. (It's starting to get laughable really.) There have been perpetual aesthetic practices in Mozart, for instance, (even an entire genre) that have been disparaged as downright "ridiculous" (no questions asked) on the forum, even though Mozart in his time and "sensibility" would have found perfectly acceptable throughout his lifetime. I mean.. suuure.. "inventiveness of melody" and "mastery of form" are still there.. riiiight.. these things triumph over all the supposed "negatives".. since they're sooo great..
Let's talk no more on this; it's getting cringey I feel like getting out of here now, lol.
If you actually respected my insight and my "attitude," you would not address me as you do here. Take your own advice: stop kidding yourself, and do get out of here now. Talk to me when you can be simple, sincere, and serious.
 

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I'll answer in two ways. First, if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation, the overall evaluation must be considered subjective. Only a completely objective analysis can be viewed as objective.
But this is clearly hopelessly unnuanced. Every judgement made by a human is, to some extent, going to be subjective, by definition. Does this render all human judgements entirely subjective? Really?
 

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Strange Magic said:

"I'm not sure why it's so hard to see it - the difference between an 'art' object and 'art'. Not only did I get it, I find it an entirely helpful clarification."
SM didn't say this - I did. But the 'it' I was referring to was what SM had posted.

One of the things that comes across very strongly in Woodduck's post is the view of the artist. It's one of the reasons why differences of opinion arise in this subject: the amateur consumer (like me), the musicologist, the musician, the composer etc all bring not only different perspectives, but different levels of commitment to certain ideas. I have no investment as an artist; Woodduck has an overwhelming investment as an artist. Consequently, we see 'art' from substantially different perspectives and describe our responses to it in different ways and, perhaps, talk past each other in doing so. It's one os the reasons why musicologists get such a bad press, as they criticise what they themselves don't do (on the whole - I'm sure there are some who are also composers, but I hope my point remains valid).

It also means that when Waehnen started talking about 'ontology', the language of the philosopher is introduced. I only started talking in those terms because the philosophical perspective had been introduced and merited a response. It nevertheless remains a legitimate approach to discuss what 'art' is from the philosophical perspective, even though the artist may feel slighted by the process. I disagree that what SM was about was sleight of hand, but I can see why such a claim might be made.

Earlier, my musing on my own listening experience (dismissed by one as not profound enough for where this discussion was going) nevertheless highlighted my own perspective - and one which has been repeated in one way or another by others: that is the "why". Why do I think that Beethoven is "better" than Schubert (when talking about symphonies)? He is, isn't he? Not am I not the only one who thinks it, not only do many people - artists, composers, music historians etc - think so, but it is pretty universally accepted that this is the case. I don't accept the answer that no matter how many people agree, "it's still all "subjective"" as a sufficient explanation. But I can't also believe that, say, Art Rock is in some way deficient in his hearing or evaluative faculties when he says he doesn't like and doesn't accept the extent of the greatness of LvB's 9th. Subjectivity - the personal response of the individual - still comes into it.

So why do I struggle to offer an objective explanation? I don't know that there is one. The kind of mathematical analysis simulated by mmsbls is a useful illustration that any attempt at a quantifiable explanation is nigh on impossible.

Maybe there is only wonder. I certainly wonder that some find Brightman an appealing performer!
 

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But this is clearly hopelessly unnuanced.
You quoted the first part of my post which tried to give a general statement of my view. The second part was, I believe, rather nuanced and detailed specifically in reference to evaluating music.

Every judgement made by a human is, to some extent, going to be subjective, by definition. Does this render all human judgements entirely subjective? Really?
The first sentence here apparently agrees with what I said. The second sentence contradicts my words, "if there are both subjective and objective components to an evaluation...". I believe some evaluations of music try to use some objective components.
 

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One of the things that comes across very strongly in Woodduck's post is the view of the artist. It's one of the reasons why differences of opinion arise in this subject: the amateur consumer (like me), the musicologist, the musician, the composer etc all bring not only different perspectives, but different levels of commitment to certain ideas. I have no investment as an artist; Woodduck has an overwhelming investment as an artist. Consequently, we see 'art' from substantially different perspectives and describe our responses to it in different ways and, perhaps, talk past each other in doing so. It's one os the reasons why musicologists get such a bad press, as they criticise what they themselves don't do (on the whole - I'm sure there are some who are also composers, but I hope my point remains valid).

Earlier, my musing on my own listening experience (dismissed by one as not profound enough for where this discussion was going) nevertheless highlighted my own perspective - and one which has been repeated in one way or another by others: that is the "why". Why do I think that Beethoven is "better" than Schubert (when talking about symphonies)? He is, isn't he? Not am I not the only one who thinks it, not only do many people - artists, composers, music historians etc - think so, but it is pretty universally accepted that this is the case. I don't accept the answer that no matter how many people agree, "it's still all "subjective"" as a sufficient explanation. But I can't also believe that, say, Art Rock is in some way deficient in his hearing or evaluative faculties when he says he doesn't like and doesn't accept the extent of the greatness of LvB's 9th. Subjectivity - the personal response of the individual - still comes into it.

So why do I struggle to offer an objective explanation? I don't know that there is one. The kind of mathematical analysis simulated by mmsbls is a useful illustration that any attempt at a quantifiable explanation is nigh on impossible.

A few thoughts come to mind.

I think it's an error to identify "objectively existent" with "quantifiably measurable." The number of relationships that exist between the notes of even a fairly simple musical composition (never mind a 40-minute symphony) is enormous, and beyond our ability to tabulate even if we could be aware of them all. What's amazing is how our brains can perceive these complexities of composition and judge their appropriateness and effectiveness in the context of a work, while our conscious minds can be relaxed and floating in what feels like simple pleasure or emotional gratification. People vary in their minds' ability to sense the relationships a musical composition contains - which means, to grasp its form - and to one degree or another the unconscious mind has to develop and refine this skill with time and experience, but the capacity itself is universal - wired into the human brain - and is fundamental to any meaningful evaluation of art. There is indeed a kind of measurement going on, but we can't bring it to full consciousness and apply a quasi-scientific unit of measurement to it. It's just far too complex.

The point I want to make in this context is that we don't have to be able to quantify, or even consciously identify, a work's characteristics in order to recognize when the artist has been successful in putting together a structure that "works" on all levels - a system of interrelated parts that holds together, delivers what it promises, and leaves a distinct imprint on our minds that tells us that something significant has been done, and tends to make us want to listen again in the expectation that there will be further satisfactions as more of the incomprehensibly numerous interrelationships of the work's form reveal themselves.

Often, music's form and content are spoken of as separate things, as if "a form" is some kind of mold, purchased wherever molds are sold, into which a composer pours whatever expressive content he wants to communicate. In reality, on the higher levels of art (beyond the level where students of composition are imitating in order to learn), form and expression don't work that way. Form, as the sum total of all relationships within a work, is the physical manifestation of the work's expressive meaning, which exists only in and through a specific form and can't exist without it. In art, the wine isn't the contents of the bottle. It is the bottle.

You've pointed out that my perspective on the question of meaning and value in art is that of an artist. That's true. I've spent most of my life searching for significant and successful form in several arts - visual, verbal and musical - and through those pursuits I know in my bones that success in that search is possible, and so fundamental to art as such that its presence can be called both an objectively existent thing and a thing - among several other things - susceptible to appraisals more objective than mere taste. This in no way denies or minimizes the presence and importance of individual responses to music, in all their limitless variety. But people of diverse tastes can recognize in common critical ways in which musical works are successful as works of art, and with respect to a composer like Beethoven can even agree on his greatness whether or not he ranks among their favorites. I'd venture to say that it would be hard for anyone with more than a rudimentary understanding of Western music to hear the "Pastoral" symphony or the "Eroica" and not realize that something remarkable has been achieved.
 

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And so do millions of others. Why? For all the verbiage (no offense), you can't really say.
The "why" is indeed an interesting question, and I addressed that in my original post. Whatever the answer is it's not going to be a simple one, and will undoubtedly involve both the nature of the music itself and the psychology of all the people that listen to and like it. Still, whatever the answer it won't change the fact that standards spring from our subjective liking of music, or even certain aspects of certain of music, even if that liking is in large part caused by the music itself.
 

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It's perplexing that otherwise insightful people continue to talk as if ranking works of art - which are comparable in some respects but not in others, with the latter prevailing - rigidly and definitively in terms of 'great, good, bad, better, best. etc.' is possible or valuable. I suppose such an idea has to be disposed of at some point, but I'd have thought that done a long time ago. The 'best color'? Holy ****! What could that even mean? Is the conversation really still stuck at this primitive level?
I did say the color analogy was an absurd one, but it only served to illustrate the point about the gap between an expert on objective features of a subject and judgments or valuations about that subject. However, I would defend the value (or at least purpose) in rating/ranking things in general as it serves in large part to dictate what art is passed on to future generations. I think it's important despite the fact it all boils down to a fundamental level of subjective likes and dislikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #237 ·
Most of the writers here do acknowledge both the subjective freedom of the listener to like or dislike whatever they desire, and that to various degrees music has qualities that can be researched and discussed through the common methods of science and philosophy and common talk aiming at objective values.

In a forumist environment, everyone should be allowed to address these issues the way they want whilst at the same time showing respect towards fellow forumists.

Do we all agree on this? Is there still a problem? :)
 

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Just a reminder that it's fallacious that possible differences of opinion disprove the existence of objective values. Well-composed music is well-composed whether any individual can hear that it is or not, and in this universe good composition is a positive value. Mozart's mastery of form and his melodic inventiveness are not up for a vote.
What I'm interested in is whether you can demonstrate the above without reference to any subjective notions such as what we (as individuals, as a collective species, or even as just a community of classical music fans) like and value, because this strike me as saying that money has value regardless of whether anyone thinks it does. If the judgment of "well-composed music" depends upon standards we create based on what we like then it is not (by literal definition) objectively well-composed; If Mozart's "mastery of form and melodic inventiveness" depends upon our standards we create based on what kinds of melodies and forms we like then the judgment of their mastery very much is up for a vote and, in fact, that's all it depends on.
 

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But this is clearly hopelessly unnuanced. Every judgement made by a human is, to some extent, going to be subjective, by definition. Does this render all human judgements entirely subjective? Really?
Even though you weren't responding to me I would give a tentative "yes" to this, though there are nuances. I often like to use the analogy of games because there's less emotional baggage and because the terms are clearly defined. Let's take chess: all of the rules and goals or chess are subjective in the sense that they were invented by human minds (they aren't found in nature, independent of human minds); but once the rules and goals are agreed upon we can "objectively" judge good and bad moves based on how well they accomplish the goal of, first, not losing and, second, checkmating the king and winning.

People take the rules and goals of chess for granted, so it becomes easy to talk about the objective judgments of moves based on those rules/goals (especially in the age of computer-assisted analysis where computers play chess far better than humans can). However, when you deconstruct it it's clear that any notion of objective judgment or valuation is inextricably tied to the rules and goals that were invented by subjective minds and do not, can not, exist without them. So is the evaluation of chess moves "objective?" I'd say yes ONLY if we are taking the rules/goals for granted. To me, what seems to be happening in all of these debates about subjectivity/objectivity in art is that the objectivists are constantly taking for granted all of the subjective machinery that goes into producing the "rules/goals" of art.

This analogy maps almost perfectly onto art, and the differences are in degree rather than kind. As an example, the "rules/goals" of music are nowhere near as clearly defined as they are in chess, and we don't all agree on exactly what they are. We may, to a limited extent, be able to agree on certain fundamentals that apply within a more limited sphere of music--like tonality. We may, to an even more limited extent, be able to establish shared values and standards, especially within smaller communities where we also share similar tastes.

A key difference between chess and music is that any values and standards we create are most fundamentally tied to what we (again, as individuals and as a larger community) like and dislike. This is why statements like "Mozart's mastery of form and his melodic inventiveness are not up for a vote" strike me as absurd because it should be immediately obvious that the only basis we have for judging such a thing is the fact that a lot of people LIKE Mozart's melodies and his usage of form. If most people listened to Mozart and his music didn't trigger in us the subjective feeling of liking it (whatever form that liking takes: pleasure, beauty, emotion, aesthetic, etc.), what objective, mind-independent thing would you point to to argue for it being good? AFAICT, there is no such thing.

This doesn't mean that the objective properties of the music have no role to play in triggering that "liking" effect, and I am extremely interested in understanding what those objective features are. However, you're never, ever going to get to a full understanding of why art effects us as it does without also unraveling all of the subjective, internal, intellectual and emotional and aesthetic cognition that's happening within the human mind that's perceiving the object; and you certainly aren't going to get to an understanding of how standards, evaluations, and judgments arise without that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #240 ·
Even though you weren't responding to me I would give a tentative "yes" to this, though there are nuances. I often like to use the analogy of games because there's less emotional baggage and because the terms are clearly defined. Let's take chess: all of the rules and goals or chess are subjective in the sense that they were invented by human minds (they aren't found in nature, independent of human minds); but once the rules and goals are agreed upon we can "objectively" judge good and bad moves based on how well they accomplish the goal of, first, not losing and, second, checkmating the king and winning.

People take the rules and goals of chess for granted, so it becomes easy to talk about the objective judgments of moves based on those rules/goals (especially in the age of computer-assisted analysis where computers play chess far better than humans can). However, when you deconstruct it it's clear that any notion of objective judgment or valuation is inextricably tied to the rules and goals that were invented by subjective minds and do not, can not, exist without them. So is the evaluation of chess moves "objective?" I'd say yes ONLY if we are taking the rules/goals for granted. To me, what seems to be happening in all of these debates about subjectivity/objectivity in art is that the objectivists are constantly taking for granted all of the subjective machinery that goes into producing the "rules/goals" of art.

This analogy maps almost perfectly onto art, and the differences are in degree rather than kind. As an example, the "rules/goals" of music are nowhere near as clearly defined as they are in chess, and we don't all agree on exactly what they are. We may, to a limited extent, be able to agree on certain fundamentals that apply within a more limited sphere of music--like tonality. We may, to an even more limited extent, be able to establish shared values and standards, especially within smaller communities where we also share similar tastes.

A key difference between chess and music is that any values and standards we create are most fundamentally tied to what we (again, as individuals and as a larger community) like and dislike. This is why statements like "Mozart's mastery of form and his melodic inventiveness are not up for a vote" strike me as absurd because it should be immediately obvious that the only basis we have for judging such a thing is the fact that a lot of people LIKE Mozart's melodies and his usage of form. If most people listened to Mozart and his music didn't trigger in us the subjective feeling of liking it (whatever form that liking takes: pleasure, beauty, emotion, aesthetic, etc.), what objective, mind-independent thing would you point to to argue for it being good? AFAICT, there is no such thing.

This doesn't mean that the objective properties of the music have no role to play in triggering that "liking" effect, and I am extremely interested in understanding what those objective features are. However, you're never, ever going to get to a full understanding of why art effects us as it does without also unraveling all of the subjective, internal, intellectual and emotional and aesthetic cognition that's happening within the human mind that's perceiving the object; and you certainly aren't going to get to an understanding of how standards, evaluations, and judgments arise without that.
Do you think the subjectivity of us human beings is somehow outside the field of science? If there is an agreement on the chess rules, it sure can be researched where, when, why and by whom there rules were invented and what it tells about us humans.

Just saying that there is not a single aspect about chess that could not be studied. Neither is there anything about music that could not be studied or researched. Subjectivity of human beings is nothing mystical outside the reality.
 
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