An Open Letter to Amanda Marcotte -Towards rising above our own pettiness in the debate on Truth.


The ascent of the happy human [© 2015 Atani Studios]

The ascent of the happy human                                                                          [© 2015 Atani Studios]

 An old acquaintance of mine, a close friend in fact of one of my oldest friends, and someone I still have occasion to converse with in the digisphere, posted a preformatted piece of propaganda on the social media from fellow blogger Amanda Marcotte.

Atheists are routinely asked how people will know not to rape and murder without religion telling them not to do it … When you use this argument, you terrify atheists. We hear you saying that the only thing standing between you and Ted Bundy is a flimsy belief in a supernatural being made up by pre-literated people trying to figure out where the rain came from. This is not very reassuring if you’re trying to argue from a position of moral superiority.” ~ Amanda Marcotte

I’m not going to tell you what I think of Ms. Marcotte, lest you think I am resorting to an ad hominem attack on her but I will tell you what I think of what she wrote.

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A Fragment of Aix


Raku tea bowl [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

Raku tea bowl                                                                                                       [chris 73 CC BY-SA 3.0]

I am the Artist that Plato warned you of, the one who knows nothing of the True. I know nothing of Generals though I know something of being a soldier. I know nothing of the Politician, though I know something of the citizen. I know nothing nothing of being a Father, though I know something of being a son. I know nothing of Rikyû and Chôjirô, though I know something of being a potter. I know nothing of Rodin, but I know something of carving stone.
By what right? what truth? then, do I pull these essays of mine out of Imagination? Can genius, imagination, and hard work suffice to do justice to Truth? What authority does inspiration alone permit, by what mandate does method and technique warrant such license?
With patience, and diligence, I pursue my practice. From master to student, and master to student again, and so by commodious vicus of recirculation, as every Artist since Eve and Adam, I betoken the dissemination of an unbroken lineage leading to the Ur-Source. Is what I am benefit of key to a path as candid as philosophy?
God knows. I know not.
Can the pearl thief stealing the luster off the pearl from within its unopened shell, capture the very truth of its iridescence? Does the divine something that whispered into Sorceresses’ ear whisper also into mine?  What can I make of that?
I bend imagination to my sway, not holy convinced I do not err.
The beautiful. The good. The true.
If I hit one of these marks, does my work suffice?
ϕ

The Banality of Art? – a conversation with the late Arthur C. Danto on the proper orientation of Aesthetics- or Why beauty cannot be reduced out of Art

Video


Aesthetics Philosophy of the Arts, Films for the Humanities and Sciences © 2004

I discovered the above video the other day on YouTube:  Aesthetics, Philosophy of the Arts, it seemed interesting and with high production values so I gave it a viddy.

This video turned out to be a very well produced and presented hour long survey of the theories of Aesthetics in Western Art since Socrates.  A narrator takes us through a well worded and satisfactory tour of the arguments, and a couple of talking head philosophers, in the persons of Alexander Nehamas of Princeton and the late Arthur C. Danto who was emereri at Princeton, add commentary and fill in some of the details.

I enjoyed what Prof. Nehamas had to add very much, he had an avuncular manner that was easy to follow, but found I was having some trouble with Prof. Danto both with his manner generally, and later with what he had to say when he moved into his own era and work as a philosopher in the 1960’s.  I found myself developing a somewhat testy dialogue with the Dead Prof. hoping to point out that even though one may push a particular theoretical or philosophical paradigm to the limit where is breaks, or is somehow formally completed, doesn’t mean that the paradigm and its various developmental modes suddenly loses utility or there aren’t other perfectly valid paradigms to pursue.

DECONSTRUCTION
There is a difference between stretching the boundaries of a definition of a word to their logical limit, and breaking the boundaries of that definition so that there is no longer a logical use for it.

~ ϕ

I found the video presentation informative and I highly recommend it if you have about an hour for art’s sake.  I invite you to take a look now.

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