Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Objectivity Within Art (Discussion)

In my last post, I discussed the importance of appeal within art, as well as subjectivity vs objectivity. We discussed how there is no such thing as objectivity in art, and how art is based upon subjective appeal. A piece of art is good if a lot of people like it.

What it seems to me, is that what is considered “objectively good” is merely what is seen as subjectively appealing to a mass variety of people, by appealing to subconscious factors. This process has been streamlined over the course of humanity, and what has been considered good has changed depending on the technology available to us, and morals of society.

For example, take ballet. There are certain forms that a ballerina has to practice, and certain moves that are used repeatedly in various ballets. A ballerina can always be judged on how they manage to keep their toes pointed;  the “perfect” ballerina is judged off of criteria that has been refined over the last 500 years. But this principle of refining what makes an objectively good ballerina, defies the very definition of objectivity.

“relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence” – Merriam-Webster

This means that objective is not the correct word to describe the circumstance that we have, and one question that stumped our group was an appropriate term for what we decided couldn’t be objective.

I brought up how it’s kind of like Math (demonstrating my ability to think creatively and critically) ; constantly being tested and revised to show what we believe to be true, which led me to the term “formulaically” good; I know the term has its downsides (like modern art, there’s nothing aesthetic or pleasing about it, yet it’s still a thing).

The main question I still have, is “Is objectivity possible?” Because how can something be free of human bias, when all we know is through our perceptions of things? Technically speaking, nothing exists outside of how we perceive it, meaning it can’t exist without us considering it; creating a direct oxymoron.

 

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