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No, not really a complete, gobsmacking howler. Gobsmacking maybe. The thesis is put forward that certain works and composers are great, the greatest due to inherent, almost compulsory objective wonderfulness in the created art. If it were true, then the only possible response must be that all experience this greatness in equal measure. Or if not in equal measure, then that it is still greatness (quibble over language here). I show people the color blue and all but the colorblind see blue.

And get a grip.
Repeating a fallacy, only with more words as if they explained or excused it, doesn't make it true. Even when challenged you offer nothing whatever to justify your claim. The claim assumes that artistic qualities are simple and easy to perceive, and/or that everyone is equally equipped to perceive them, and/or that artistic judgments are not generally a complex mix of objective perception and subjective preconceptions and preferences. It's a claim that's essentially blind to what art is.

My impression is that you are so constrained in your thinking by your panmaterialist world view that phenomena of consciousness, such as those responsible for the creation and experience of art, are largely terra icognita to you. You're forced to try to describe art in terms that apply to physical reality, and you can only speak of the perception and evaluation of art in terms of opposites. Either art's qualities must be as measurable and obvious to everyone as temperature or distance, or they have no reality beyond someone's opinion, and anyone's claim that they do - that art can have actual qualities that not everyone can perceive - is the equivalent of a belief in ghosts.
 

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Correct me if I am wrong, but my impression is that the objectivist side appears to think the other side wants says all art is of equal value, while the subjectivist side thinks that the other side believes that value in art is an intrinsic, inherent property of art that exists even without a human perceiving it. Both don't seem like the strongest interpretation of either side's point. Why not argue their best case?
 

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Sibelius, Beethoven, Satie, Debussy
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I gave my opinion several pages back in, I think, a reply to Strange Magic's own stated opinion. We had some minor disagreements but were close to being on the same page.
"Several pages back" says it all. If neither of us can find it, it's hardly surprising that I overlooked it. There's an awful lot of off-topic hot air (some of it mine, doubtless) which obscures posts - or, more often, a sequence of posts in an exchange - that actually respond plainly to the OP's question. Nevertheless, my apologies.
 

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If anybody's idea of what is "great" is as meaningful and legitimate as anyone else's - which must be true if "all aesthetic judgments are subjective" - then greatness has no real meaning and can be dispensed with. Talk of bringing greatness within the "province of individuals" is doubletalk.
Dunno if that's true.

First, though I think all honest responses to art are valid, it doesn't follow that they're all meaningful. The response to Beethoven by someone who hates all music generally is not going to be meaningful, as a trivial example. This has been brought up with the concept of genre- art comes with a context with which the reader, and other members of the audience, are reasonably expected to engage within. For a silly example, one couldn't "engage" with a film by using the DVD as a doorstop, and attempt to objectively rate movies by which DVD case acts as a doorstop most effectively, because this sort of "engagement" falls outside the accepted context of film viewing. For the same reason, I think most people would have a hard time accepting an argument and objective rating which stated that the best music is the longest music, and therefore Sorabji, John Cage and late period Morton Feldman are the three greatest composers of all time.

For a more serious example, I think even the subjectivists wouldn't take my non-response to Wagner as a particularly meaningful statement if I said that operatic singing generally repels me. The response is valid, but if my response to almost all opera would be the same (because I don't like operatic singing), it's not going to tell us much about Wagner. Some might actually disagree with this, but I think it's generally best to evaluate art on the terms of a reasonably receptive audience. This doesn't necessarily mean an educated, credentialed, nor even an intelligent audience - despite its reputation as a "high" art, classical music was written predominantly for laymen, after all (if anything here is snobbery, it's the idea that the intended audience of a work lacks the ability to evaluate the work for themselves, though many an artist has probably thought something along these lines when criticized).
 

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It's not true.
I mean there's all sorts of concepts without strict consensus definitions. The fact that there are all sorts of scholarly definitions for "intelligence" doesn't make it meaningless nor nonexistent - some people just have different ideas on how it should be modeled. That, or the term could encompass a variety of possible interpretations/models.
 

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Dunno if that's true.

First, though I think all honest responses to art are valid, it doesn't follow that they're all meaningful. The response to Beethoven by someone who hates all music generally is not going to be meaningful, as a trivial example. This has been brought up with the concept of genre- art comes with a context with which the reader, and other members of the audience, are reasonably expected to engage within. For a silly example, one couldn't "engage" with a film by using the DVD as a doorstop, and attempt to objectively rate movies by which DVD case acts as a doorstop most effectively, because this sort of "engagement" falls outside the accepted context of film viewing. For the same reason, I think most people would have a hard time accepting an argument and objective rating which stated that the best music is the longest music, and therefore Sorabji, John Cage and late period Morton Feldman are the three greatest composers of all time.

For a more serious example, I think even the subjectivists wouldn't take my non-response to Wagner as a particularly meaningful statement if I said that operatic singing generally repels me. The response is valid, but if my response to almost all opera would be the same (because I don't like operatic singing), it's not going to tell us much about Wagner. Some might actually disagree with this, but I think it's generally best to evaluate art on the terms of a reasonably receptive audience. This doesn't necessarily mean an educated, credentialed, nor even an intelligent audience - despite its reputation as a "high" art, classical music was written predominantly for laymen, after all (if anything here is snobbery, it's the idea that the intended audience of a work lacks the ability to evaluate the work for themselves, though many an artist has probably thought something along these lines when criticized).
I never said that all honest responses to art were meaningful. I can't see in what way your post is a response to mine. Could you say what in particular you're responding to?
 

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I mean there's all sorts of concepts without strict consensus definitions. The fact that there are all sorts of scholarly definitions for "intelligence" doesn't make it meaningless nor nonexistent - some people just have different ideas on how it should be modeled. That, or the term could encompass a variety of possible interpretations/models.
I'm quite sure that if we were to try and debate "what is intelligence" there would be much more common ground than there is in our debate about 'profundity' (which keeps morphing into 'greatness' as if that is the only thing that really matters). We might easily be able to point to examples of intelligent people and offer reasonable evidence to support our assertion, and we'd refer to well known models of intelligence, and ways of testing for it.

Obviously, my suggestion that we try a worked example has not been taken up 😭, but neither has anyone taken the opportunity to restate their position in plain language and short posts...well, one perhaps, by referring to their position in relation to someone else's. That leaves us in the position of trying to restate what we think other people are saying...and look where that gets us! 😠

I guess it shows that 'profundity' wrt music is simply an impossible concept to define - at least by the people who think it is a worthwhile term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #791 ·
It isn't what I "wish." How many are "legions," you ask? What a smart*** question. Figure it out for yourself. It shouldn't be hard.
Fabulous! You quibble with my language, and I'll quibble with yours. How many is a "legion"? Is it like a Roman legion? Even that varied in size over the centuries. Instead of petty, we're now getting into tiny. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #792 ·
Correct me if I am wrong, but my impression is that the objectivist side appears to think the other side wants says all art is of equal value, while the subjectivist side thinks that the other side believes that value in art is an intrinsic, inherent property of art that exists even without a human perceiving it. Both don't seem like the strongest interpretation of either side's point. Why not argue their best case?
You are partly correct. As a subjectivist, I do NOT take the position that all art is equal because at the heart of my position is the integrity and uniqueness of the individual. The individual is free to establish any sort of personal grading system he/she chooses. We all do it. The grading of art is by individuals and sometimes then by groups of individuals of like mind using shared subjective criteria. I happen to think that the Violin Concerto No.2 by Hovhaness is the equal of many others and far better than many. My personal, subjective opinion, shared likely only by me, Anahid Ajemian, and Alan Hovhaness.

The second point is well taken. Objectivists--though many deny it--believe that greatness, excellence is an inherent integral internal property of art, and said art would have it such that Martians would immediately recognize it as Great Art. I'll stick with those properties of art that can be accurately and repeatably measured by all unbiased observers. Under STP, pure water boils at 100 degrees celsius.
 

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Discussion Starter · #794 ·
Woodduck: "You're forced to try to describe art in terms that apply to physical reality, and you can only speak of the perception and evaluation of art in terms of opposites. Either art's qualities must be as measurable and obvious to everyone as temperature or distance, or they have no reality beyond someone's opinion, and anyone's claim that they do - that art can have actual qualities that not everyone can perceive - is the equivalent of a belief in ghosts."
A near-perfect presentation of my position. Art has two quality states or properties and you have named them both--those that can be measured and those that indeed have no reality beyond someone's opinion. We are getting to the heart of understanding my position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #795 ·
Ah, but that wasn't the question. The question is, is that what the objectivists claim the subjectivists believe, os is it only what the subjectivists think the objectivists think the subjectivists believe? 🤯
I'll take both propositions simultaneously. We have read many posts where objectivists claim that subjectivists say all art is equal. That is both true that they post such and they also believe that is true. It reminds me of a recent government official who says things that are clearly not true but believes them to be true. Or does he?
 

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^ With the caveat that not all objectivists think the same and not all subjectivists do either. As Woodduck is at pains to point out:

"Greatness" isn't important, except to pollsters. Greatness, without the quotes, is unavoidable for people who know what goes into a work and can tell what they're hearing, but it isn't anything one needs to worry about. It seems most important to people who know little about music and want to know what they should listen to
Setting aside that he seems to want to have his cake and eat it, there are posters here to whom greatness and polling is important and which is part of the basis of their objective position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #797 ·
Setting aside that he seems to want to have his cake and eat it, there are posters here to whom greatness and polling is important and which is part of the basis of their objective position.
I agree completely. My best guide to what is great is me. The best I can do with others is to recommend a piece of music by telling them I liked it and hope that they like it also. We however all have a tendency to equate our likes with "try it; it's great!" like Tony the Tiger. Force of habit and the suspicion that our tastes are inherently superb so everybody else will think so too.
 

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You are partly correct. As a subjectivist, I do NOT take the position that all art is equal because at the heart of my position is the integrity and uniqueness of the individual.
Doublespeak worthy of Russian media.

The much-debated question - in case you've forgotten it - is whether there are qualities of excellence in art which ought to be recognized as such regardless of whether agreement on them is universal. You claim there are not, because, in your immortal words, "all aesthetic judgments are subjective." This means that, according to you, there are no intrinsic differences in artistic quality, since all differences in quality are assigned to works of art by separate individuals who may agree on nothing. Your position is, therefore, that all art is objectively equal - that, for example, a Brahms symphony has the same intrinsic musical value as a walk down the keyboard by Nora the cat: namely, none. Your attempt here to say that not all art is equal because individuals like some art better, besides addressing no question that anyone has ever asked, is a non sequitur, a semantic sleight of hand, and either an inept deception or a failure to understand your own position.

Objectivists--though many deny it--believe that greatness, excellence is an inherent integral internal property of art, and said art would have it such that Martians would immediately recognize it as Great Art.
I'm not sure what "objectivists" you're referring to, but your characterization doesn't describe the beliefs of anyone I've encountered. Excellence in art, like excellence in any human endeavor, is something we properly attribute to things done well. In every field, there are recognized criteria, as well as recognizable signs, of excellence. Excellence in a thing is not an "inherent integral internal property" like size or color which some theoretical "Martian" - or anything nonhuman - might recognize. Art is a human product which embodies human values, not Martian values, whatever those might be. All aesthetic values are human values, some of which are universal and some of which are personal. It isn't necessary for there to be universal agreement on any single aspect of a work of art in order for a judgment that the artist has done fine - or poor - work to be justifiable.

That is only a beginning, and, I would have thought, rather elementary.

I'll stick with those properties of art that can be accurately and repeatably measured by all unbiased observers. Under STP, pure water boils at 100 degrees celsius.
Great. That summarizes your theory neatly. Let it be your aesthetic last will and testament. Now bury the dead.
 

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Don't you know the "Butterfly Effect"? If Haydn never existed, how would that have affected Mozart, Weber, Schubert? And how would they in turn have affected the rest of history? In terms of non-Bachian counterpoint alone, I could talk about the supposed "influences" of his MH155, MH254 on Mozart K.339, K.543, K.546, K.626 endlessly. Too many variables, unknowns, uncertainties, aren't there? Let's not make assumptions about things we don't know.
What I do find interesting is when the veneration of classical music started, especially secular classical music. I've read contemporary reviews from the time, and from the Romantic period where people have no qualms saying they think Beethoven op. 111 is garbage. Somewhere along the line, however, select works became almost above criticism.
Now, they (the "objectivists", who are always so concerned about things like "proper ways of writing a fugue" (whatever they mean by that)) are lying to us, "everyone from Beethoven's time appreciated his music". I wonder what dissident, who is so judgmental about Haydn's contrapuntal writing
youtube.com/watch?v=FIkkAF9ir2M&t=2m40s
youtube.com/watch?v=z6H_0Etotfc&t=1m
Missa sti. Hieronymi (1777)
"Leopold Mozart had attended the first performance and wrote a glowing report to his son: "I enjoyed it immensely; the grouping of six oboes, two bassoons, three double basses and organ was so evocative of the human voice (...). It all seemed too short, although the work was superbly written. Everything flowed, and the fugues are the work of a master.""
, thinks about youtube.com/watch?v=FwZsDzGY1XA&t=44m44s


(I don't mean to discredit Beethoven in any way, but) this shows just how subjective music appreciation is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #800 ·
Wooduck: "This means that, according to you, there are no intrinsic differences in artistic quality, since all differences in quality are assigned to works of art by separate individuals who may agree on nothing. Your position is, therefore, that all art is objectively equal - that, for example, a Brahms symphony has the same intrinsic musical value as a walk down the keyboard by Nora the cat: namely, none. Your attempt here to say that not all art is equal because individuals like some art better, besides addressing no question that anyone has ever asked, is a non sequitur, a semantic sleight of hand, and either an inept deception or a failure to understand your own position."
Oh I understand my position quite well, though I grant it may be too nuanced for some. Objectively all art is equal in that it is inert, neutral, reflective with no power of generating light from within that all--all--would see. To this all-reflecting ball we bring our own individual personalities, neurochemistries, histories--our very uniqueness, and endow the neutral ball with its meaning, status, rank, stature, value, etc. Canals on Mars. Faces on the moon, or images of rabbits? Some have observed that you want to have your cake and eat it too. Well, so do I.
 
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