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To be honest half the reason I post here is that a) I find the context and practice of art as almost as interesting as the art itself, and b) I like conversational drift and there's no general chat thread
 

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Yes. I personally view objective issues as having only objective components and view any issue that has some subjective component as being subjective. I generally assume that's how everyone would view the question, but I wasn't sure so I asked if you, personally, view it that way.
Especially, when we discuss subjectivity and objectivity, I don’t know why, when one believes there are objective components in addition to subjectivity, one would default back to a statement that is indistinguishable from the pure subjective position. After all, you did provide Category/View #2 in your post.

The answer to your statements above is rather complex. Nature does not create attractive things. Nature creates variation in individuals both genetic and phenotypic (observed traits). Individuals with a genotype allowing them to both distinguish the variation and to act to increase their personal evolutionary fitness (create more offspring and descendants) will have an evolutionary advantage, and that genotype will increase as a percentage of the population. As an example, my understanding of beauty in humans partially stems from the variation in facial symmetry. Humans with fewer "bad" genes are both healthier (in the sense of the capability to produce more offspring) and have more symmetric faces. Other humans evolved both to perceive greater facial symmetry and to desire to choose those with greater facial symmetry as mates. Those who had a preference for greater facial symmetry indirectly also had a preference for greater health, and those individuals, on average, had more offspring. That preference was evolutionarily adaptive and increased in the population.

When we say someone is beautiful, we mean (in some sense) that they have greater facial symmetry than most and we have internal brain process or processes causing us to desire them more. That internal process identifies what we call "beauty" and causes us to desire it. The objective characteristic is symmetry. The internal (what we normally view as subjective) process creates the sensation of beauty.
I would say that what you have just described is the process of nature creating attractive things. In order for the species to procreate, genetic information such as a particular facial symmetry that is more likely to attract is passed on and over time becomes even more effective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,624 ·
Consider an alien being who knows nothing of human psychology/physiology trying to create a beautiful piece of art for humans. How would they know what external characteristics of the art will cause humans to find it beautiful? They would have to create many art works and investigate human response to determine what characteristics lead to the humans finding the art beautiful. Human artists already have those data so they know how to create art with characteristics that humans will interpret internally as beautiful.
As long as we don't lose sight of the individuality of personal reaction to art. I asked before whether Goya's Black Paintings were beautiful, or the art of Thomas Kinkade and Margaret Keane. Once we do, we are back to our old friends Polling and Clusters. We should, besides facial symmetry, consider body shape (size, weight), pigmentation, nose shape, hair structure, etc. Several anthropologists have postulated that all these bodily features are sexually imposed upon, selected for, and expressions of populations sharing many if not all such characteristics.
 

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...Non-musicians can't find beauty in the arcane concepts of music theory. I mean, how would that be possible?...
I agree. My daughter (well versed in music theory) and I (not well versed) had a thought about responses to music. She says that we both hear the same sounds though I may be less aware consciously of what I hear than she is. Her thought was to have both of us listen to a work. I would mark the sections that I found beautiful, interesting, or otherwise notable. She would look at those sections and see if there was some music theoretical reason I might be drawn to them. Obviously, I might love a melody, but she was interested to see if there were specific sections with an interesting harmony, a smooth modulation, or something like a deceptive cadence. As an example, I bought Berwald's symphonies and found the 3rd ("Sinfonie singuliere) particularly enjoyable (especially the first movement). When my wife and daughter heard it, their immediate response to the first movement was that it had an interesting and unusual harmony.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,626 ·
I would say that what you have just described is the process of nature creating attractive things. In order for the species to procreate, genetic information such as a particular facial symmetry that is more likely to attract is passed on and over time becomes even more effective.
See my Post #1624. The attraction of one human for another is a near-chaos and, again, a demonstration of the variability of human choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,627 ·
Sorry, when I enumerated those 3 responses, I was not trying to define the 3 categories of response to the subjective/objective issue. I was simply saying that from reading the thread, people seemed to respond in 3 ways - it's objective, it's subjective, or it's a combination. Category 1 people are not loonies but rather people who likely define subjective differently than you and I do,
I would enjoy seeing an example of your version of response #1.
 

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Especially, when we discuss subjectivity and objectivity, I don’t know why, when one believes there are objective components in addition to subjectivity, one would default back to a statement that is indistinguishable from the pure subjective position. After all, you did provide Category/View #2 in your post.
I guess if the question is whether beauty, for example, is subjective or objective one must choose one or the other. If there are only 2 choices I would say anything with some subjective component, is subjective. But, yes, clearly people can view the issue as having both subjective and objective components.

I would say that what you have just described is the process of nature creating attractive things. In order for the species to procreate, genetic information such as a particular facial symmetry that is more likely to attract is passed on and over time becomes even more effective.
Sorry, I should have said that nature does not intend to create attractive things. It creates variation. Species do not need evolution to create more attractive individuals to procreate. Humans are not attracted to beautiful characteristics. Rather they are attracted to symmetry which their brains interpret as a desirable feature, and we call that internally interpreted feature beauty.
 

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I would enjoy seeing an example of your version of response #1.
There are dozens of posts in the objective/subjective thread where people state that beauty is objective. I certainly don't view those posters as loonies, and I don't think you do either. We both disagree with their view. I think that they are mistaken in some of what they say and that they probably define objectivity slightly differently than I do.
 

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Consider an alien being who knows nothing of human psychology/physiology trying to create a beautiful piece of art for humans. How would they know what external characteristics of the art will cause humans to find it beautiful? They would have to create many art works and investigate human response to determine what characteristics lead to the humans finding the art beautiful. Human artists already have those data so they know how to create art with characteristics that humans will interpret internally as beautiful.
It appears that we are talking at cross purposes. To some, probably yourself included, the important question appears to be whether an artwork, by itself, in isolation has the quality of ‘beauty’. Or whether alien beings including those with writhing tentacles on the planet Thraa could independently recognize ’beauty’. To me, the concept of beauty in the arts does not occur in a vacuum. Within a given population and cultures, the parameters of what is considered ‘beautiful’ develops over time and with that is the increasing ability to distinguish artists that do it particularly well including those who do it significantly better than others.

All of the verbiage in this thread and others suggesting that there is no significant commonality among humans that develops in what is perceived by one or more of the human senses in the arts or, at least, diminishing the importance of the commonality is surprising in a forum devoted to classical music.
 

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See my Post #1624. The attraction of one human for another is a near-chaos and, again, a demonstration of the variability of human choice.
Yes we all make choices. But where do they come from and why? Can we make progress in touring CM by catching likes and dislikes on a day, in a year, for a decade.
I didn't do it that way. I had my heroes (the famous guys from general reading), I went through most of their works which were in the forms (pcons, psons, solo piano pieces) I was interested in (as little informed as I was), usually early works to late works. I did the same with Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, early to late works.
 

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I guess if the question is whether beauty, for example, is subjective or objective one must choose one or the other.
Why? I don’t find the subject that simple.

Sorry, I should have said that nature does not intend to create attractive things. It creates variation. Species do not need evolution to create more attractive individuals to procreate. Humans are not attracted to beautiful characteristics. Rather they are attracted to symmetry which their brains interpret as a desirable feature, and we call that internally interpreted feature beauty.
I find that to be a distinction without a difference. Your final sentence conflicts with the sentence that precedes it. In the end, nature is using the parameters that humans interpret as ‘beauty’ to guarantee the procreation of the species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,633 ·
Why? I don’t find the subject that simple.

I find that to be a distinction without a difference. Your final sentence conflicts with the sentence that precedes it. In the end, nature is using the parameters that humans interpret as ‘beauty’ to guarantee the procreation of the species.
This is far too simple a thesis. The world's human population is huge and still growing, yet it is ludicrous to suggest that attraction is the only controlling factor. Consider arranged marriages, the nasty practice of rape, multiple spouses, and the unions of folks very much different from one another in body structure. Endless variability. We can of course identify, ex post facto, clusters.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,634 ·
It appears that we are talking at cross purposes. To some, probably yourself included, the important question appears to be whether an artwork, by itself, in isolation has the quality of ‘beauty’. Or whether alien beings including those with writhing tentacles on the planet Thraa could independently recognize ’beauty’. To me, the concept of beauty in the arts does not occur in a vacuum. Within a given population and cultures, the parameters of what is considered ‘beautiful’ develops over time and with that is the increasing ability to distinguish artists that do it particularly well including those who do it significantly better than others.

All of the verbiage in this thread and others suggesting that there is no significant commonality among humans that develops in what is perceived by one or more of the human senses in the arts or, at least, diminishing the importance of the commonality is surprising in a forum devoted to classical music.
More talk of clusters and consensus among like-minded individuals. Significant commonality is a synonym for Large Clusters (in the case of CM) within a huge general audience of music lovers that dwarfs the CM audience.
 

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This is far too simple a thesis. The world's human population is huge and still growing, yet it is ludicrous to suggest that attraction is the only controlling factor. Consider arranged marriages, the nasty practice of rape, multiple spouses, and the unions of folks very much different from one another in body structure. Endless variability. We can of course identify, ex post facto, clusters.....
Long before that (screwy traditions). Expedient for the survival of populations while being hurtful to individuals.

Music is in the big picture of development.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,636 ·
There are dozens of posts in the objective/subjective thread where people state that beauty is objective. I certainly don't view those posters as loonies, and I don't think you do either. We both disagree with their view. I think that they are mistaken in some of what they say and that they probably define objectivity slightly differently than I do.
You're right--I don't regard those believing in the notion of excellence, beauty, etc. being an intrinsic property of art objects to be loonies. I contend, though, that they are ideologues within an evidentiary desert and are wedded to an idea about art that they cannot break or question. Like the R word.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,637 ·
Long before that (screwy traditions). Expedient for the survival of populations while being hurtful to individuals.
Music is in the big picture of development.
Again I find your post(s) "elliptical". Not sure what you are saying. Though I think it may be a denial of the primacy of mutual attraction. I could be wrong. :rolleyes:
 

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This is far too simple a thesis. The world's human population is huge and still growing, yet it is ludicrous to suggest that attraction is the only controlling factor. Consider arranged marriages, the nasty practice of rape, multiple spouses, and the unions of folks very much different from one another in body structure. Endless variability. We can of course identify, ex post facto, clusters.....
Who said ‘only controlling factor’. Why do you continue to distort posts in your replies?
 

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You're right--I don't regard those believing in the notion of excellence, beauty, etc. being an intrinsic property of art objects to be loonies. I contend, though, that they are ideologues within an evidentiary desert and are wedded to an idea about art that they cannot break or question. Like the R word.
Yes, ideologues who lack the humility Einstein (who was an enthusiastic amateur violinist) mentioned in the quote above. Ironically, prominent professional classical musicians, including some I know quite well personally, always seem to have that humility.
 

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It appears that we are talking at cross purposes.
I believe that many posts here and in similar threads do not really address what others have posted, and my posts may be guilty of that as well.

To some, probably yourself included, the important question appears to be whether an artwork, by itself, in isolation has the quality of ‘beauty’. Or whether alien beings including those with writhing tentacles on the planet Thraa could independently recognize ’beauty’.
Not the important point. Alien beings are introduced as an example for a particular point. Without examples, the problem of talking at cross purposes becomes worse.

To me, the concept of beauty in the arts does not occur in a vacuum. Within a given population and cultures, the parameters of what is considered ‘beautiful’ develops over time and with that is the increasing ability to distinguish artists that do it particularly well including those who do it significantly better than others.
I agree. completely

All of the verbiage in this thread and others suggesting that there is no significant commonality among humans that develops in what is perceived by one or more of the human senses in the arts or, at least, diminishing the importance of the commonality is surprising in a forum devoted to classical music.
I could be mistaken, but I feel that most posters who discuss commonality actually believe there is significant commonality among humans.
 
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