Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Evening
Evening
Wed Dec 12 12:38:51 2007
Art for Sake's Sake
Topics:

Conflict: (Art: As communication V Art: As aesthetic exploration) - should we think less of art that has little or no communicative intent and is largely an exploration of aesthetics? What does it mean to have public support of arts - is it equivalent to providing a podium for people to speak about what they like? With that funding, are we concerned with advances in aesthetics or facilitating communication? Compare to times when sponsorship of the arts was done largely through patronage.. Position: providing means and funds for all types of expression is healthy for society. Means and funds for aesthetics are also important - unsure which is more important. Question: Is a work of art with little/no communicative intent necessarily not fine art? Are communicativity, the artesian/art divide, fine art/art/craft all orthogonal to each other as criteria for the field(s)?

Lightly related, I think it's unfortunate that efforts are taken to prevent skateboarding in public places - it seems to me that the damage done to surfaces are more than outweighed by the social interest in the happiness derived from skateboarding, and that if/when liability is a concern, adjustments to the legal regime are a more appropriate response (viewed outside the perspective of any single actor) than finding means to prevent the practice. Also lightly related, there should both be more public benches and greater effort made to remove beggars from public areas.

Pragmatic definitions in philosophy and law: All definitions are pragmatic on some level - they help us categorise and react to phonomena that share common characteristics. Important distinction: pragmatism on level of understanding (helps me think about X, X being the framework in which phonomenon Y occurs) versus definitions chosen for convenient conclusions reachable by their adoption (intent is critical and worth making guesswork based on the definitions - all definitions shape conclusions reachable). It may be necessary to do the latter in order to have a workable framework, but if it is, attention should be drawn to it as a conscious choice, so if appropriate it may be more easily challenged or at least acknowledged/explained. General hope: definitions should, when possible, derive most strongly from permitting coherence in a field (presuming coherence to be possible - it would be errant to use this to justify definitions that create or preserve coherence in subfields that are rubbish such as astrology (except possibly as thought experiments)) and less from practical concerns (even less so from public pressures and concerns like "what will people think"). When such definitions are necessary, they would ideally be marked using phrases like "for the function of this law/principle, we define term Y as such-and-such", or "we adopt philosophical framework Z to form a consistent underpinning for our legal/philosophical framework X and not necessarily on its own merits". Difficulty: Will people see such formulations as legitimate? Suggested answer: (Honesty and intellectual integrity in phrasing (not necessarily substance): more important than acceptibility).

General comment: Issue with direct popular rule in forming legal framework (not a problem where established legal system provides a default framing for questions) - concern for consistency not necessarily there. Without considerable intellect and care by the masses (plus deep vision/understanding), resulting legal system would be grossly inconsistent and possibly abusable without a system whereby people could and would be consistently scouting for injustices. A different kind of lawyer/advocate/philosopher may be needed to keep such a system running, although it could in principle be done. Emotional nature of people may lead to deeper hatred of such people than lawyers, especially if tendency to lynch is not stomped out first.