Critical Thinking - Philosophy
To complete this assignment, you need to have read chapter12, on the principles of aesthetic value. you should also complete the SoftChalk lesson on Aesthetic Reasoning before attempting this assignment.
The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate that you can use aesthetic principles in your own reasoning, and to look at an object in a new, perhaps more open-minded, way. Ideally you should learn something about what you value, and gain some insight into how others might perceive the world a bit differently.
You must submit your responses to the assignment below in an essay format.
- Your essay should be a minimum of 1000 words, not including your "Works Cited" section at the end of your essay.
- Submit your responses in the text box provided when you click on "submit assignment."
- Do not attach any files to your submission. To include a picture of your object of analysis, use the "Image" tool available in the text submission box (signified by a "tree" in a box), or upload your picture to a website and include the URL in your essay.
- Your essay will be automatically checked through the "Turn It In" system, so make sure that you are responsibly citing your sources, including quotation marks around quoted material, and using your own words for any summarizing or paraphrasing.
- First, find an object THAT YOU HAVE PHYSICALLY ENCOUNTERED (do not use things from online) that you do not normally consider art, or even aesthetically valuable. You may have encountered this item in a normal daily setting, or in a museum, art store, or other venue.
This will help:
Pasted below is a portion of the book's website's outline devoted to aesthetic reasoning in chapter 12, which I have edited an amended to help you better understand the concepts in the chapter that are related to Homework Assignment 2.
- We use aesthetic reasoning to defend or criticize judgments about art, usually with one of the following eight aesthetic principles (but remember that you are not allowed to use the 8th principle on the homework assignment).
- Aesthetic reasoning employs one or more of those eight principles in the attempt to produce reliable grounds for an aesthetic judgment.
- Aesthetic principles may not have the foundation that moral or legal principles do, but they contribute to aesthetic experience.
FUNCTIONALIST PRINCIPLES (ART HAS A FUNCTION, MEANING THAT ART'S VALUE LIES IN ITS BEING PERCEIVED BY AN AUDIENCE)
Principle # 1: Objects are aesthetically valuable if they have a meaning or teach something true.
- This principle identifies value in art with its ability to fulfill cultural or social functions.
- This view typically finds a teaching in art that non-art cannot provide.
- For example: "This soap opera makes you think about what you'd do in this situation, without having to live through it."
Principle # 2:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they express the values of the cultures they arise in or the artists who make them.
- This principle also identifies value with art's ability to fulfill cultural or social functions.
- Note that you don't have to believe what the object says or even believe that it has given an argument for the values it represents.
- "The Iliad makes a warrior's values vivid."
Principle # 3:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they can lead to social change.
- This is the third principle that identifies value with art's ability to fulfill cultural or social functions.
- In this case, you need to believe that the social change is an improvement.
- "The Jungle led to reform of meat-packing laws."
Principle # 4:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they give their audience pleasure.
- This principle connects aesthetic value to a thing's ability to produce a type of psychological experience.
- We can put this a little more broadly by saying that the art object contributes to our happiness.
- "Four Weddings and a Funeral brings pure delight."
Principle # 5:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they give their audience certain emotions.
- This principle, like the last one, connects value to a thing's ability to produce a type of psychological experience.
- We may not want to have those emotions aroused in daily life, but we still value art for awakening them.
- "The Blair Witch Project keeps you on the edge of your seat with terror."
Principle # 6:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they produce a special non-emotion experience or mental state that comes only from art, such as the willing suspension of disbelief.
- Again, aesthetic value comes down to the production of a certain subjective state.
- You may think of the state as nonemotional, or as a special art-emotion.
- "Lolita is so perfectly constructed that it made me feel as though I were writing it."
- Like all the other principles described so far, this one connects aesthetic value to a function that art has.
FORMALIST PRINCIPLE (ART IS VALUABLE BECAUSE OF SOMETHING INHERENT TO THE OBJECT ITSELF, NOT BECAUSE OF ANY EFFECT ON AN AUDIENCE)
Principle # 7:Objects are aesthetically valuable if they possess a special aesthetic (formal) property.
- No explicit reference to function comes into this principle, though it may enter when one defines aesthetic form.
- In its simplest version this principle identifies the aesthetic property with beauty; more complex varieties of the same principle speak of artistic unity or organization.
- "Harlem Airshaft begins with a simple melody, breaks it down into its basic elements, and rearranges them into a surprising new form, with every part getting beautifully reinterpreted."
THERE IS NO PRINCIPLE, OR ARGUMENT, THEORY (DO NOT USE THIS ON THE HOMEWORK)
Principle # 8:Objects are aesthetically valuable because of features that no reasons can determine, and that no argument can establish.
- This principle corresponds to moral subjectivism: There's nothing to say in reasoned discourse about tastes.
- Roughly, this is the view that an object is aesthetically valuable if someone values it.
HOW TO FORM AN AESTHETIC ARGUMENT
We can sometimes appeal to more than one principle in a single argument, but not always;
- It is easy to unite the first and the third principles, and believe that an object gets its value both from teaching something important about morality and from (thereby) influencing us to become better people.
- Other principles contradict each other at the theoretical level, as when the special nonemotional experience of the sixth principle conflicts with the claim of ordinary emotional experience in the fifth.
- Two principles may agree theoretically, but lead to disagreements in particular cases. You can value both social change and pleasure; but an enjoyably fluffy television show becomes good on the second criterion and bad on the first.
- Objects are evaluated positively according to a given criterion if they satisfy its requirements, negatively if they don't.
- A good argument supports an aesthetic judgment by describing features of a work, as long as they are both relevant and true.
- The relevance of a feature depends on the aesthetic principles one believes.
- Features must also have descriptive truth: You can't say, "This movie gets its socially educational value by depicting every stratum of U.S. society," if the film only has three characters—a married couple and their child.
- Examine the object for a while, and then write out a brief description of the object (if necessary, take a picture of the object and include that with your assignment, pasting the picture into the submission text box.).
- Second, indicate (in approximately one or two paragraphs) why you normally would not consider the object art or aesthetically valuable. You should include what your original definition of art is (what do you normally consider art, and why), and you should clearly explain why this object does not meet your preconceived notions about art.
- Next, try to examine the object in a new way, using the principles of aesthetic reasoning (either functionalist or formalist, but not both). Give an argument, which integrates facts about the object and the aesthetic principles, for why someone could consider the object art or aesthetically valuable. The aesthetic principles you use must be true of the object. You must choose to use either functionalist principles or formalism, but NOT BOTH since functionalism and formalism are incompatible. YOU CANNOT USE, OR EVEN MENTION, THE LAST PRINCIPLE ABOUT "NO ARGUMENT CAN BE GIVEN TO ESTABLISH AESTHETIC VALUE" (since the assignment REQUIRES YOU TO PROVIDE AN ARGUMENT, this last principle is not compatible with the assignment).
The more reasoning and depth to your analysis, the better. You should submit an essay of 1000 to 2000 words in order to ensure you have developed your ideas adequately. Don't forget to include your in-text citations and a Works cited section at the end of your essay.
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