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.
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.
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.
God is a function, God experienced is a function of your manner of experience. The elementary idea of God is transcendent of all forms, of all names, the tongue has never soiled it, it never got there. So, any idea of God is historically conditioned, it’s a local idea no matter how much noise people make about it, it’s just a local notion. And so, as man transforms, so are the laws of God transformed. The laws of God are functions of the human psyche in its historic expression and development. That’s what we get here, and this if Wolfram.
~Joseph Campbell, Grail Legends at the Ojai Foundation
The following is a verbatim transcription of the Q&A portion of a talk entitled Grail Legends, given by Joseph Campbell at the Ojai Foundation before his death in 1987. We Meme Merchants quote this material frequently, so I thought I would present it to the public since this material is otherwise hard to obtain in digital form since it was originally on audio tape. So far as I know, no one has ever produced a complete transcript of the presentation.
Attention: This is not necessarily an article about Intelligent Design; this is an article about how we think, how we think about scientific propositions, how we think about our own and other people’s thinking and more particularly how the logical fallacy of the Argument from Ignorance can be part of the dynamic.
All of what follows was wrapped around a conversation that was organized around a discussion of Intelligent Design hosted by the Watermark Community Church in Dallas on April 19, 2009 at a forum called The Creation Conversation. Ok, the building, the host, and the audience were some brand of evangelical Christian, and their ulterior motives were whatever they were, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing for the rest of us to learn from what transpired there, that is if you can be open minded enough to set aside for the moment the place and intentions of that particular conference and learn something from what was said there.
Therefore, we will all be expected to proceed, for the sake of the discussion, as of the subject matter is worth of being treated as a legitimate hypothesis, to be falsified or passed forward to the next round of discussion because it attempts, in good faith, to answer a question that other hypotheses have failed so far to answer: How in the world could these complex machines and systems have come about without intelligence?
Why Good? Why Evil?
Why Man? Why God?
The problem of Good and Evil, it’s really not that complicated, it’s a matter of frames of reference. It is simply that men are not fitly placed to be scrutineer to the workings of God, nor Man the only thing on God’s mind.
Here is some more of David Berlinski being interviewed by Peter Robinson on the contrast of St Augustine’s reinterpretation of history, watching the fall of Roman civilization from across the Mediterranean versus the poverty of our own intellectual position in the early 21st watching the fall of our own civilization on the internet:
[Berlinski] The point is, we do live in a society where the house of intellect is coordinated with only a finite number of microphones, and those microphones are connected with the academic world and with a certain part of the journalistic world. I think that is true in the United States, it’s true in Canada, England, France, throughout Europe. There is a doctrine, amounting to a dogma. And, according to the doctrine, the dogma, this way of thinking [Augustine’s City of God] no matter what [the last Pope] Benedict says, or what the rabbis in Israel say is not part of the interpretable cannon. It cannot be introduced. Should it be introduced? would it make more sense? have we lost something of tremendous value in our culture? Don’t forget, we are part of a Judaeo-Christian culture. My answer is yes, of course, of course. We have lost something of value; we cannot think in those terms any more.
“We rely on the natural tendency of the human intellect to truth, and of the natural tendency of society to improvement.”
The 20th and 21st centuries speak otherwise according to Berlinski.
In the post-post modern post colonial west, particularly among its disciples in liberal Europe and even aux Etats Unis [such as Hakim Bey] have been busily propagating the idea that the American Revolution of 1776 represented some kind of an anti-colonialist movement that once having achieved a kind of hegemony over the natives decided it no longer needed the protection of the motherland to secure their power rose up against their former masters cast and them off.
This point of view is of course factually and demonstrably false.
This is yet another blog article that fell by the wayside as other projects took over, but I had put too much effort into it already to abandon it completely. So, here it is even if it may no longer be quite as interesting as it might have been a couple of weeks ago – but hopefully still somewhat relevant – or maybe its the other way around.
Over at Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit, the topic of discussion has moved away from the parsing of the Michael Mann defamation suite and the shenanigans of blog commenter Nick Stokes towards a multi-part discussion of the publication of the recent “non-corrigendum” by the PAGES2K Arctic Workingroup of a significant revisions to their PAGES2K Arctic database of paleoclimate data. The series started with McIntyre’s Revisions to Pages2K Arctic back on October 1st.
The original version of this particular product of the PAGES Consortium had garnered strong criticism at Climate Audit in the past particularly in regards to the inclusion of several contaminated lake sediment proxy series, the use [or misuse] of several series in an orientation that is either ambiguous or inverted to that used by specialists in the field, and a small laundry list of other complaints since it was first published in 2010. McIntyre said of the publication:
Kaufman and the PAGES2K Arctic2K group recently published a series of major corrections to their database, some of which directly respond to Climate Audit criticism. The resulting reconstruction has been substantially revised with substantially increased medieval warmth. His correction of the contaminated Igaliku series is unfortunately incomplete and other defects remain.
McIntyre goes on in his ensuing series of articles to dissect in great statistical detail precisely what the remaining defects are in the PAGES2k Arctic database, why he thinks it is important that they be corrected as well, and why he thinks a formal corrigendum at the original publishing journal, Nature.com, is warranted – so those errors do not remain “in play” for other scientist to use [or misuse] by continuing to cite them in future research.
All of McIntyre’s reasoning seems reasonable and correct to me – the last and least among the readers who are non-experts at CA.
This blog isn’t supposed to be yet another movie review blog, we go to other blogs ourselves for that kind of thing, but sometimes we feel so stymied by the length restrictions imposed by some of the new social media websites, in this case Netfix and their 2000 character limit, that we feel compelled to publish here what we wish we were able to say over there in the first place. Two thousand characters isn’t much [if you are counting spaces as well], that’s less than about 400 words. It’s difficult to express one decent idea in that few words and two ideas starts to become a parody of editorial excess.
Today’s essay started as a reaction, maybe a negative one, to the Meme Merchants Cinema Society’s recent viewing of the otherwise critically acclaimed 2013 film All is Lost by American screenwriter and director J.C. Chandor [Jeffery McDonald] staring Robert Redford in a tour de force solo performance, which is usually described with some emphasis as being without any dialogue – as if that’s supposed to be an intrinsically good thing.
The elves at Netflix had this to say:
In this harrowing drama — which has no dialogue — a man stranded alone at sea courageously battles a ferocious storm as he struggles to survive.
Pardon me if I disagree with that assessment. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 93% Fresh, which is very good, so I’m wondering where the divergence lies.
What follows is what I wrote and wanted to publish, with some expansion; what I actually managed to publish at Netflix is right at the bottom.
Every once in a while I come across something said on the internet that is so egregiously backwards that it requires a reply so equal in incisiveness that it bursts the bounds of the host site’s normal reply mechanism and the social requirement for the polite give and take of civilized netiquette. So, today you seem to be victim of another Too Long for YouTube breakdown because of some YouTube commenter who’s replies are so rabid in the defense of the Nazi cause I have momentarily let slip good taste – though hopefully not common sense.
At these moments I feel prompted to act in a way like Atticus Finch, in Harprer Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” when the gentleman lawyer is compelled to shoot dead with one well-aimed shot, a hydrophobic dog wandering the streets of his town before it can cause harm any innocent bystander – or itself continue to suffer with its fatal affliction.