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  1. #196
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You just like to fight, HE, whereas I'm a lover, not a fighter...

    i'm not opposed to calling SFF 'a' bastion as opposed to the 'last' bastion.

  2. #197
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Settle down Foo.

    I have not argued against objectivity in language, referrants, or even frameworks in terms of coming to common communication. But our being able to objectify our terms to communicate does not then render our opinions about art objective. Our opinions about what art is and what art is valuable remain subjective.

    That they are subjective does not mean that they are whimsical and irrational. People usually have a rationale, concrete reasons, for their subjective opinions about art -- as I have said several times before in this conversation -- which may include anything from their emotional reaction to a piece to their assessment of particular structures and referrals to art works in the past as a basis. But having a rationale, even one using objective data like how many deaths are in Titus, does not magically transform the opinion into an objective one -- the assessment remains what the person subjectively thinks about what art is and what good art is.

    Say I have a concept of what characterization is, and I believe that characters are the most important thing in a story and I believe that certain factors go into making a character good. Another person has their concept of what characterization is, doesn't feel that character is the most important thing in a story and feels that different factors are necessary to make a character good in his estimation.

    The two of us can discuss what we mean by characterization -- objectifying or pseudo-objectifying our terms as Foo puts it -- coming to a common ground of communication by which we can each present our subjective opinions, our reasons for holding those opinions, and debate the issue.

    But what we can't do is resolve the debate for not only us but independently in the universe. We cannot prove that either of our subjective opinions is really what art is and what good art is, even if large groups of people agree with us or if we have an advanced degree. We may use objective data, but we use it subjectively in assessing what the artistic meaning is. We may communicate in common terms, but our communicated views do not agree. We can both see a pile of rocks, but whether that pile is a statue and whether it is worth anything artistically is a subjective assessment. Our opinions are not objective poles whose height can be measured.

    You can ignore this subjectivity, and many people do. Or you can accept it. That subjective opinions disagree does not mean that people aren't experiencing art and valuing art, that they can't talk about it through the common means and have it be a large part of their lives. It just means there won't be an objective definition of art and good art.

    Our article writer subjectively feels that SFF offers philosophical insight and that realistic fiction does not do this enough any more. Some agree in part or in total, and some not at all. We all have reasons for these views, but the views are subjective.

    Foo -- I wasn't talking about narrative structures. You said that if a writer wrote sentences in a certain way to get a certain effect of focus, it was evidence of skill -- artistic skill. That's a subjective assessment of how you need to structure sentences in order for them to be artistic.

    But it appears from what you are saying now that this is not what you meant.

  3. #198
    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Didn't I say that yes, without us, language disappears?

    But the fact is, YOU ARE MAKING REFERENCE TO SOMETHING TO MAKE YOUR POINTS! All of you just argued against me by making reference to language, it's use, and its interpretation. You've referred to my points with your opinions and your opinions are based on... WHAT!?!?!

    For the... frig, I don't know how many times... I'm not saying there is a correct or incorrect way!!! I'm just saying there is A WAY THAT WE DO IT. And the way we do it is INSEPARABLE FROM THE OBJECTIVE. The way we do it operates as a system, and that system is our stand-in for the fact that WITHOUT US, THERE IS NO US, THERE IS NO ANYTHING AS FAR WE'RE CONCERNED.

    You guys -- and gals -- NONE OF YOU -- can argue against me WITHOUT referring to something we all perceive.

    WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT #$&%ING MEANS! How!?!? BY REFERRING TO THE OBJECTIVE!!!! SO WE CAN DISCUSS IT!!!
    Well I'm working with the idea of "intersubjective" so maybe that's why I do not necessarily see it precisely your way. Language is convention. In a sense objectivity is defined by that convention or intersubjective consensus. There is room for what we think of as objective to be misinterpretation. If we all thought the world was flat and our definition of the word "world" is that of a flat space would that be objectively correct?

  4. #199
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Didn't I say that yes, without us, language disappears?

    Didn't I say that yes, your experience of a work depends on background knowledge related to the subject matter? Or that the extent to which you can delve into implications depends on the knowledge you possess and how you connect it?

    Didn't I say that yes, how we understand language changes language? How we use language changes language? Isn't that what my whole soldier thing was about?

    I'm sure I said all of these things are in fact the case!
    Yes, you said all these things, but no this is not what your soldier thing was about. That was about how we're using different language structures to achieve different effects. This is not about changing language.

    Your assumption here appears to be that if different effects result from different arrangements, statements about said arrangements - as long as they're not value judgements - can be organised in a way that they take their departure from the object hinted at through perceived difference.

    And I do not entirely disagree, as I think I also said, but may not have. I agree with you that if I say "cancer" and you say "cancer" we're both expecting a minimal conceptual overlap. For example, I suspect we both would agree that "cancer" and "disease" are related, and that there is a hierachy with "disease" being more general than "cancer" and and and...

    But the fact is, YOU ARE MAKING REFERENCE TO SOMETHING TO MAKE YOUR POINTS! All of you just argued against me by making reference to language, it's use, and its interpretation. You've referred to my points with your opinions and your opinions are based on... WHAT!?!?!
    So me making a reference to something makes the act of referencing objective?

    For the... frig, I don't know how many times... I'm not saying there is a correct or incorrect way!!! I'm just saying there is A WAY THAT WE DO IT. And the way we do it is INSEPARABLE FROM THE OBJECTIVE. The way we do it operates as a system, and that system is our stand-in for the fact that WITHOUT US, THERE IS NO US, THERE IS NO ANYTHING AS FAR WE'RE CONCERNED.

    You guys -- and gals -- NONE OF YOU -- can argue against me WITHOUT referring to something we all perceive.
    Which is probably why we're both failing to push through. Because we may be using the same words to reference difference things, and make the unwarranted assumption that we all perceive it.

    What you're referencing when you say "objective" may not exist in my cognitive landscape, yet the term (the letters and sounds) clearly exists. But this doesn't prevent communication; on the contrary: it prolongs it (and may make it frustrating).

    But that this is the case is by no means clear. What is happening in this thread?

    And, no, I don't think making this self-referential is a good idea, but I can't help it.

    And while I'm at it, WITHOUT US CANCER DISAPPEARS! Without us, it's just random cellular generation. Heck, it's not even that since we wouldn't even know it was happening! Cancer is OUR concept! It's one word for a whole group of similar patterns in the OBJECTIVE world of the organic body! We perceived it, and we named it cancer.
    Yes, but what's going with cancer is not - as we construe it - cognition. So applying cognition to the "object" - that is representing it conceptually - does not change the object at all; it changes the way we perceive the objective.

    On the other hand, language consists of cognition. So our brains using language and thinking about it is not the same relationship as our cells having cancer and our brains thinking about it. How then do you frame this difference?

    This is why the social sciences (including linguistics) have greater problems referring to their subject matter, and why they have to put a lot more effort into defining terms than say the natural sciences.

    "Intersubjectivity" is indeed a popular term in the social sciences, but it's not about being right or wrong, primarily. It's about how differences in subjectivity don't necessarily have to be resolved to reach a tentative consesus, but that unacknowledged differences will nevertheless play a part in cognition, perhaps even unperceived differences.

    And yet... WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT #$&%ING MEANS! How!?!? BY REFERRING TO THE OBJECTIVE!!!! SO WE CAN DISCUSS IT!!!
    This thread isn't exactly the best evidence for your statement that we all know what "it means", is it?

    Luckily, objectivity is no requirement for satisfying subjective cognitive changes.

  5. #200
    Registered User falcon57's Avatar
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    Where do you stand?

    This whole discussion about objectivity reminds me the thread "Truth? There is no truth ...". The majority
    seems to think that there is no truth and no objectivity. I want to point out that to which side you lean
    is also dependent where your 'I' is. If you are centered in the mental world then there is no such thing
    as truth and objectivity. When you're centered in the physical world then everything that is in the
    physical world is true and sentences that describe the physical world are objective.

    Have fun

  6. #201
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Concur. A good Buddhist would not enter into the argument. Evidently, none of us are good Buddhists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thompson
    If you want to read books that tackle profound philosophical questions, then the best — and perhaps only — place to turn these days is sci-fi. Science fiction is the last great literature of ideas.
    This is what started it all. It is an opinion of which my opinion remains that the point remains moot. I am skeptical that an objective framework can be constructed to convert the opinion to a working hypothesis provable by research and analysis.

  7. #202
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    So you all thought I wasn't too calm there, eh? Now, I can never prove to you I wrote that post in that way in order to appear as though I was going nuts over in my little corner of the interweb... So you can call me a liar if you want, but you all formed a similar conclusion about subjective-me's state of anxiety based on....??? Your understanding of the structure and emphasis in my text??? Hmm???

    Kat -- Yes, I am trying to illuminate the connections between meaning and the process of understanding. Dawn points out that language is basically part of cognition -- there is some evidence that suggests that language and cognition are, in effect, the same thing. It's not so much that we think, therefore we are -- It's more that we think communicatively, therefore we are.

    If we take the position that without language, we cannot communicate (and I'm including body language), then language (whether it be communication between 2 people or 10 billion) is the literalization of our subjective selves. In other words, language is what allows me to objectively identify me as me, and you as you. In other words, language is the objective marker between multiple consciousnesses. ("where do I end, where do I begin..")

    For those of you with kids (and me who works with kids) we must all surely be aware of how young children "play" together -- meaning, they don't. Up until a certain age, children exist almost entirely within their own minds. They have no concept that other people are independent subjects. Young children seem to see others as little different from a block that they play with. When they do make the jump, its invariably in direct relation to their own thoughts ("walk a mile in someone else's shoes?" they can't do it). Cooperative play develops with language, and generally corresponds with the early development of empathy, compassion, authority...

    If you look at how children acquire spoken language, you see that they go from specificity to generalization. If you say "bring me a chair" and a child has only one chair in their head as being a "chair," that's the one they bring you. When they begin to generalize, children make errors in categories. You say "bring me a chair" and they bring you a stool because the generalization "things you sit on" isn't precisely accurate. It's a specific kind of a thing you sit on. So we learn, and our categorizations become more generally defined.

    Like Dawn in saying with cancer and disease...

    That's a fairly gross generalization of a hugely complicated process, but by and large socialization and the acquisition of language go hand in hand. Based on that, language itself -- despite our/its flaws -- is what allows us to differentiate ourselves from each other. Early on, we perceive each other as objects. Only later do we understand multiple subjects (which is never a complete understanding, if you Grok me), and that comes as part of language.

    Because the relationship to the objective world is not 1:1, but 1:x, language in any form is the framework we employ to access everything. But it is arrived at almost entirely from the early stage of life where we differentiate between Me, That, and You. Language begins as the mode by which we identify objects, which allows us to identify subjects.

    The entire thing is inseparable from the objective.

    The more specific an argument we try to make, the easier it is to poke at. Language is first and foremost a generalist system because it's primary function is to separate out the objective. The more specific and abstracted it gets, the more it becomes a locus of the subjective, built on the framework of the objective.

    To jump on with Dawn and go meta-thread, yah, this thread is precisely an example of what I'm talking about. Generally, we can say "there are some objective qualities in art, but for the most part there's a lot of subjective stuff" and I think most of us would agree with that (we seem to have earlier, anyway!!!). But since we're trying to get specific about where the objective and subjective are meeting, overlapping, and how much one overrides the other, we're arguing about it since for each of us it's a little bit different.

    BUT!!! My point is that even though it's a little different for each of us, we can still find a way to quantify how different it is and what areas are different. If it was just two of us, we'd be done sorting that out a while ago! But since there's more of us, it's harder. We have to account for what "may not exist in my cognitive landscape, yet the term clearly exists" in our mutual cognitive landscapes.

    Sooooooooo... If we all decide to use ONE framework (let's say Marxism) to analyze EVERY book we read, each of us uses a common set of terms and concepts. Where we disagree but can comprehend another's position with reference to both the framework and the book in discussion is, to me, basically objective (what I'm calling pseudo-objective).

    The part that is PURELY subjective is that grey area of matter that we simply cannot grasp why you liked what you liked, you saw what you saw, and why I liked what I liked, because the framework has failed to allow us to make ourselves understood between ourselves as subjectives, or we cannot ourselves explain it using a known framework. When we cannot render our thoughts as opinions and supply backup and make it understandable, we're operating in the subjective theatre.

    "30 Helens agree to disagree..."

    So that's what I think, my opinion rendered pseudo-objectively, about language. Feel free to disagree, but if you do can you provide a substantially different model of how language interacts between the objective world and our subjective selves? If you can do so with reference to a framework and we all get it, I think that might wind up reinforcing my opinion. If your backed up opinion is in no way understandable to me, then maybe you're all right and I'm over intellectualizing this to think I might actually be relating to you lovely intelligent, interesting subjectives...


  8. #203
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    I am skeptical that an objective framework can be constructed to convert the opinion to a working hypothesis provable by research and analysis.
    It's called the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences...

    The Faculty of ASS.

    It's full of people pushing this guy's style of thought, edging out their niche, and arguing it until they die arguing against people like us with different or similar positions! The counter position is equally as difficult to prove, jut as the middle of the road position -- that philosophy can be found equally in all genres -- is likewise difficult to prove as TRUTH.

    So for all of you arguing against this guy's position, start arguing for yours. I'd like to see you prove there is no bastion of philosophy, or that all genres are capable bastions, equally. And prove it.

  9. #204
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    If anyone else is all-kinds-of-bored, I found this book: Alternative Modernity. It discuss science within culture, discusses science fiction and its role in the philosophy of science -- with reference to Heidegger, Adorno, etc. -- and the effect of the philosophy of science on policy, politics, and culture.





    (Oh my, how I hate my "job")

  10. #205
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    When we cannot render our thoughts as opinions and supply backup and make it understandable, we're operating in the subjective theatre.
    Okay, that's where we split. You are presenting the subjective as purely taste, that subconscious emotional appraisal of a thing that another person may comprehend as language -- what I say I like about a thing -- but not as meaning -- why I would say this. Everything else you are declaring objective or "pseudo-objective."

    But objective and subjective as we have defined them in our language are not that. Objective is that which exists as objects, perceivable through sensory perception, but not subject purely to human reflection, judgment, etc., all that stuff I said before. So no matter what word we choose to call cancer, the cancer cells are still there, and I can see them -- through a microscope -- and you can see them, etc. A rose by any other name will smell as sweet and still be there. (And no, we're not going to get into whether you, I, the cancer cells and the rose really exist or are just part of a dream of collective consciousness.)

    But whether an object -- a pile of rocks, a painting, a text -- is artistic and whether it is good and valuable is not the recognition of the objective. It is a subjective assessment of human reflection, judgment and opinion. The person having the opinion can have concrete reasons for the opinion, but those reasons are not the same for each person and are the subjective interpretation of that person. As soon as we assess the artistry of something, we're into the subjective. And we are fully capable of communicating that subjective view to another, whether or not they understand or agree with it in part or in whole. That toddlers take awhile to develop their sensory perceptions and cognitive functions to be able to perceive objects as objects is irrelevant.

    So for all of you arguing against this guy's position, start arguing for yours. I'd like to see you prove there is no bastion of philosophy, or that all genres are capable bastions, equally. And prove it.
    We have been arguing for our position. A bastion is a protected area where something is reserved and preserved against threat. Thompson says that SFF is preserving the philosophical in literature and that this is dying off in realistic literature. He cannot prove his argument because it is subjective opinion about SFF works being philosophical and current realistic works not being philosophical. It is a narrowed view of a few works on either side, which proves nothing, particularly problematic since realistic fiction is a very large group. Since numerous realistic works of fiction are given literary awards and studied for their artistry and philosophical themes in universities, Thompson cannot prove his point even on subjective terms, much less objective ones.

    Because it is a subjective assessment, Thompson can't prove that he is providing objective truth, that he has the right answer that we can all independently see. He can't measure the philosophy as you can a pole you can see put at a certain height. In turn, we subjectively agree or disagree with him, and we have stated our reasons for our opinions several times before in this thread. We can certainly gather up numerous examples to support our points, and we can then all argue, subjectively, if those are really good examples or not. But since we are giving our subjective assessment as to the philosophy/artistry of works, the amount of philosophical preservation, etc., we cannot prove that we have the correct answer either.

    I can, for instance, say that all fiction is really about eating food. I can provide numerous examples of fiction works that I feel support this point. I can argue that I see the thematic connection of the work to the concept of eating food. And you can understand what I am saying and agree with me or not agree with me. That doesn't mean that I'm not making an unprovable, subjective argument.

    For me, subjectively, I see no evidence that realistic fiction has shown a marked decrease in philosophical subject matter, theme and focus, or that SFF are mostly stories about ideas but realistic fiction stories are mostly not. This is my opinion. Agree with it or not, I don't care. I don't have to prove squat, and neither can you.

    Where Thompson is of interest to me is not his claim, which I find grandiose and narrow-minded, but that he is making a positive claim for the artistic worth of SFF in general, as a type of story that can generate artistic worth (subjectively.) Of course, Dawnstorm pointed out that the article was for Wired, so it's already proposing this idea to people who subjectively view SFF as capable of having artistic worth. But nonetheless, the more times such claims are done, the more subjective opinions we have that SFF is worthy art, and the less out-right prejudices are able to maintain their influence. So I am less annoyed with his claims than HE is, even though I, subjectively, don't feel that philosophical thought is under any threat of dying off in either realistic or unrealistic fiction.

  11. #206
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Well, KatG, if that's just your 'subjective' opinion based upon your particular mood of the day (or year or lifetime) then I don't see how it's much of an arguement. You're actually trying to provide objective criteria to demonstrate how no objective criteria exists. Interesting.

    For me, subjectively, I see no evidence that realistic fiction has shown a marked decrease in philosophical subject matter, theme and focus, or that SFF are mostly stories about ideas but realistic fiction stories are mostly not. This is my opinion. Agree with it or not, I don't care. I don't have to prove squat, and neither can you.

  12. #207
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Well Kat, all I can say is that I don't see it quite so black and white as you appear to. To me, there's objective at one end, subjective at the other, and a huge grey-area of pseudo-objective (or intersubjective, I guess) all over the middle.

    If your assertion is correct, then to me that means that the entire body of criticism (academic and popular), and everything we say on this board exists independently of the objective referent, and has meaning only to oneself. It means that books get published arbitrarily. That the skill and gift of an author is imaginary.

    To me, your view invalidates effort and encourages the army of futility.

    It's a great egalitarian view, I suppose. Very communo-socialist chic. But it pains me. So I guess where we agree is that both of our points of view appeal to us individually. So if your taste is that it's all subjective, mine is that it's not.

    Moving right along then...


  13. #208
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo
    If your assertion is correct, then to me that means that the entire body of criticism (academic and popular), and everything we say on this board exists independently of the objective referent, and has meaning only to oneself. It means that books get published arbitrarily. That the skill and gift of an author is imaginary.
    Over in the writing thread you can find posts from hundreds of us wannabe's that decry and declaim at the arbitrariness of the publishing world, particularly those damned author's agents and purchasing editors who together influence what gets published. This subjective evaluation by agent and editor has no rules. Her Greatness has produced a good sized tome attempting to explain the publishing industry in those threads and, mostly, none of us listen to her.
    OTOH, these author's agents and purchasing editors talk to each other. It's a community and they communicate. Isn't that surprising? And this conversation may well constitute that Maucosa you're always talking about. Eventually, a brave soul sees something that may succeed in their peers and attempts the audicity to see something different published. I have high hopes one of them will find something other than counter-arguments and protests at Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.
    All us wannabe's complain about the arbitrariness of the publishing industry. Come to the next convention and listen to us. It will cover an entire evening, at least.
    The skill and gift of an author comes first in its abililty to attract a purchasing agent's attention and enthusiasm. That, my friend, is purely subjective.
    Recognition of the skill and craft comes after the fact. It may come from the community of academics teaching writing or - even better - teaching literature. It may come from the reading public who doesn't recognize art but knows what it likes. The approval of the former rarely makes one rich; the approval of the latter may put food on the table.
    I believe the same applies to your teaching of art. You and the folk you studied with agree upon certain standards. In the classroom, you attempt to impart them. Your rating on a scale of ambiguity tolerance is the only chance a student who sees a different path has for success in your class. Most teachers that I have known rate medium to low on the amibguity tolerance scale. They are paid to teach, according to ambiguous standards in state curricula which doesn't leave much room for student innovation. This is not meant as a personal attack on you. This is an opinion, coming from a dispute with Her Greatness, derived from examining the standards for the states of New York and Arizona, the latter blessed with the AIMS test to assure you teachers are doing what we are paying you to do. Yeah, right!
    If you'd like, I'll retrieve the Great State of Arizona's standards for art instruction. Or you can do it yourself at Arizona's DoE website.
    Anyway, the point of this post is that consensus exists and teachers attempt to pass it on. The trouble with these consensi is that they evolve. My favorite poet was once taught in schools in all the English speaking countries in the world. Political correctness straightened everybody out and now Rudyard Kipling is not taught. What changed? The consensus.

  14. #209
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    All I can say, HE, is that we are able to observe that the consensus changes through the available empirical evidence (in this example, curriculum guides). That observation allows us to make observations about culture. We can make observations about what lead to the change, what effect that change has had, etc... That is the very basis of all discussion in Arts and Social Sciences.

    I agree... the system is enormously complicated. But to get any kind of validity in one's opinion, the task has to be to tease out the fundamentals in an issue. Those fundamentals must have an objective basis, otherwise you're engaged in Spin.

    Look at the American policy toward Cuba. The ideology of American democracy claims that everyone wants American democracy. The expectation was that with Fidel gone, Cubans would revolt against communism. They didn't. Are we really surprised? I'm not -- the only people who aren't aware that American anti-Cubanism is spin is Americans (not all ). It's not based on much in the way of facts; It's just hurt feelings.

    This emphasis on the value of the subjective is, to my mind, what leads to constant misunderstanding and miscommunication. We need to throw out curriculum and standardized testing because it's based on something with no proof.... that it works. All evidence suggests that there is no evidence to suggest it works. Which means... it's been built on an illusion. So tear it down and try again.

    Oh, how I revel in destruction...

  15. #210
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    And we're back to square one. The problem you two have is that if you can't be right -- be objective -- you think it's all worthless. If the argument can't have a resolution, why argue? There has to be some standard, something outside your own view that validates your views or defines art and good art definitively. Because otherwise, you don't feel it has meaning, that there can be any communicative meaning between people about the subject unless there is the certainty, the correctness of the objective. But subjectivity has great meaning; the arts have great meaning for people. It's just that evaluating whether art is good is not the same thing as everybody seeing there's a rock lying there.

    Gary says I'm trying to use objective criteria to prove there's no objective criteria. I'm not doing that. He thinks I'm doing that because I used the word "evidence." But by evidence, I clearly meant that in my experience, from what I've read and how I've subjectively interpreted it, I don't perceive this to be the case. I can't prove that my take on this artistic issue is correct, is objective; I can only state my reasons for why I think this, and people will agree with them or not. My reasons can include objective criteria, certainly, but that does not make my opinion about artistic worth objective, which seems to be something you two are having trouble comprehending, despite my many pile of rocks examples.

    Gary also tries for the backhanded insult, that my opinion being subjective, it is therefore not based on any analysis, but just on what I feel at a particular moment -- that it is whimsical. But as I pointed out in previous posts, repeatedly, that something is subjective does not make it whimsical, irrational or random. It is not necessarily formed without knowledge, experience, or referrants as Foo likes to call them. Nonetheless, my assessment and judgment of artistic issues remains subjective -- what I think and interpret, not what I can prove to be correct and true for everybody. Whereas, I can prove that there is a rock on the ground.

    Foo feels that large or small groups of people experiencing his art as good and finding that it has deep meaning for them is not good enough. If his art -or somebody's art -- cannot be the actual, true, correct, right, objective good art in the universe, well then making art is meaningless, futile. Or rather, it might be good enough, but not if you then call that subjective. So he's ignoring the definitions of the two words -- despite going on about consensus of language -- and twisting himself into knots to come up with a way to call the experience objective.

    If objective material -- observing the number of bodies in Titus for instance -- is used to figure out our opinions on a matter, then he's claiming that makes our assertions as to what the number of bodies mean objective or objective enough. But it doesn't. It remains a subjective interpretation of what it means artistically to have the number of bodies in the work, or the use of certain words, or the piling of rocks. Foo also feels, like Gary, that if an opinion is subjective, then it is random, arbitrary, that it's not thought but impulse. But this is not the definition of subjective either, as we have been over continually.

    What it comes down to is this -- I can prove the rock is there and the pole is there and set at a height that will be measured at 10 meters, but I cannot prove that something is good art. I can subjectively believe it to be good art, I can tell others why I think it is good, I can encourage them to experience the art and see what they think. I can tell them how others have seen the work in the past. If they disagree with me, I can argue with them about how the work has attributes that they think are lacking. I might change their minds, I might not. If they agree with me, we can talk about what we both see in the work of art and why that is important to us and why we feel that it has cultural value. A lot of people may agree with me or only very few. The discussion will not have a resolution -- there will not be a winner -- but it still has value.

    If I am a teacher, I can tell my students to study a creative work that I consider to be valuable art and I can tell them how I and others have viewed that work. I can talk about form, light, color and other things if it's a fine art piece. I can talk about theme, language use, and characterization if it's a written piece. And my students will study the art and will form their own opinions of it.

    If I'm an appraiser, I can say that this piece of art is worth X amount of money. This appraisal may be due in part to things like that the artist is dead or most of his works are lost. But it also will probably be because the work is valued by many people, perhaps more or less than it was in the past. If I'm an editor, I can say that I think a work is wonderful and that I believe others will agree and so we can sell it. But other editors at other houses may think that the work isn't very good at all and will not sell.

    And this is all subjective, according to the definition of the word. But important and meaningful. Whereas, if I'm a chemist, I can tell you that combining baking soda and vinegar will cause it to fizz and fizz it will and all will see it and know that it is true. And they can combine baking soda and vinegar and the same thing will occur for them. The rock lies in the road and it is there. But is it art? Depends on what human you talk to. Ranking -- that a piece is artistic and is better than another, is a subjective determination.

    Which has nothing to do with communism, which I find, in my opinion, to be a load of unrealistic hooey.

    And yes, Foo, you can disagree with me. Neither of us can prove the other wrong. But you're still worth something, sweetie.

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