[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-ideas] Re: Æsthesis

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:37:02 +0200

"I think the Mona Lisa is beautiful, but I don't like it."

Doesn't strike me as a paradox at all. It only shows that aesthetic
appreciation is different from (and not necessarily co-extensive with)
purely subjective liking, a point at least as old as Kant's Critique of
Judgment. (And perhaps as old as the Mona Lisa, if we grant that art can
express ideas.) I also might think that a real woman whom I met is
beautiful while not liking her much. On the other hand, I like squids while
I don't think that they are aesthetically beautiful.


On Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 12:20 PM, Redacted sender Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx for
DMARC <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 1:08 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
x appreciates p iff:
1. x likes p
2. p is beautiful
3. x's liking of p is caused by the beauty of p.

Geary comments: "If language is the dress of thought, as Johnson once
then maybe emotion is the nakedness of meaningful existence. So saith I.
Now I just need to build an ethics based on my aesthetics."

-- which indeed was Baumgarten's idea, which Geary had also commented on:

"Rules or principles"?
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? "Rules or
Ach, nevermind."

But Baumgarten did mind, and 'ach' was a word he would occasionally use.

Now, what I would comment, prima facie, on O.'s analysis is Moore's

"I think the Mona Lisa is beautiful, but I don't like it."

Therefore, alla Stevenson, I would argue that (1) and (2) above are
redundant, and that the conceptual analysis of just one would do (Granted,

Stevenson used this 'equivalence', as Nowell-Smith did, to apply to ethics
Stevenson, "Ethics and Language" is the ONLY author Grice explicitly
quotes in
"Meaning" but dismisses it as 'too causal' -- a transference from ethics
aesthetics considerations is attempted by Ayer).

We are considering how epistemological Gombrich can get in his aesthetics,

even if he refused to see himself as an 'aesthetician'. The keywords here
then are these two words: "EVOLUTIONARY" + "EPISTEMOLOGY" and we should
proceed with an analysis of both.

I don't think Gombrich was too interested in O. K's (1) and (2) above but
Gombrich uses 'nice' ONCE I think in his interview in the apartment
overlooking Central Park (if not 'beautiful' -- but he speaks of the
'fine' arts),
and we saw that we have to be careful with 'evolutionary', for, if I
Gombrich's words alright, he said that there are aesthetic products that
did not quite make it ('fit' -- cfr. 'the fittest survives') and yet are
'worthy'. So he may not be regarding Spencer's adage as a tautology, as
conceptual analytic philosophers do.

But there are many other conceptions in Gombrich's work that demand
analysis too.

On the other hand "Aesthesis" is a poem by Wilde.

In a message dated 4/9/2015 12:29:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
_donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxx.uk_ (mailto:donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx) writes:
"[O]ne can ... have an evolutionary empiricism or intuitionism etc. It is
Popper's EPISTEMOLOGY [emphasis Speranza's] that is distinctive rather
that he [Popper] is an evolutionist, and it is that epistemology that
[Sir Ernst Hans Josef] G[ombrich, OM, CBE] adopts and applies."

McEvoy refers to Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, OM, CBE as "G", but I
prefer that initial to refer to an extinct species of pig once common in
north of England (Sus scrofa domesticus -- the last one died in the
But since it was only a male, he couldn't reproduce -- cfr. "Dolly").

On the other hand, Geary uses "G" to stand for a point.

McEvoy goes on:

"That said, one of the central contentions of "evolutionary epistemology"
is that empiricism, intuitionism etc. do not sit well within evolution as
understand it since Darwin: only an "evolutionary epistemology", of the
sort Popper and Campbell are putting forward, is, they contend,
with evolution in Darwinian terms - Lockean empiricism or Cartesian
intuitionism or Kantian 'a priorism' are not. This is brilliantly set out
Campbell's seminal essay "Evolutionary Epistemology"."

Good lead. Will try and check it out. Even try to check it out. Geary says

that "try and" is redudant.

McEvoy goes on:

"[I]t is Kant's epistemology and not his 'gradualism' that is limited to
human cognition: what [Sir Ernst Hans Josef] G[ombrich, OM, CBE] actually
tries to get across in [that] interview [conducted at Marianne Kris's
apartment on Fifth Avenue] is that Kant's epistemology is centred only on
cognition, but that the correct epistemology will see human cognition as
sharing aspects with other animals' cognition"

But wasn't it Chomsky who started to feel worried that people were
overusing 'cognise'. I prefer 'know'!

McEvoy goes on:

"- so that a bird making cognitive use of an idea/concept of space, must
have have an idea/concept of space akin to the human idea/concept. One of
main problems within Kant's epistemology is that its kind of 'a priorism',
where the 'a priori' is necessarily valid, is hard to reconcile with
'gradualism': for example, if the success of Newton's physics is
explained as
the result of human inbuilt necessarily valid a priori intuitions as to
and time, what explains why this physics was only reached 'gradually' and

not years before a human called Newton came along?"

I guess my use of 'gradualism' was taken from G's second book, "The
conception of value". He quotes from Aristotle. Aristotle gives TWO
examples of
CONCEPTS which are gradual in essence.

One is unoriginal enough: 'number'. Surely you cannot understand 'three'
unless you understand 'two' and 'one', etc.

The other concept is more original: 'soul'. Aristotle says that 'psyche'
gradual in that animals have it -- Greek is more confused than Latin here.
Since animal in Greek is 'zoon', and soul is 'psyche'. Whereas the wise
Romans make the right connection by using anima for soul and animal for

As for Newton,


"if the success of Newton's physics is explained as the result of human
inbuilt necessarily valid a priori intuitions as to space and time, what
explains why this physics was only reached 'gradually' and not years
before a
human called Newton came along?"

Well, I'm sure there are ANTECEDENTS to Newton's ideas -- Sir Ernst
Gombrich refers to his archaic theory of colour. I would think Sir Ernst
would use baseline here, and I think he would grant the Greeks and the
Romans with some mathematical antecedents for Newton, not to mention
Renaissance men.

What perhaps did NOT happen gradually is that apple falling down in
Lincolnshire, but here Zeno of Elea would disagree (he rejected the idea
movement on a priori grounds -- vide Achilles and the Tortoise).

Keyword: sematology.




Gombrich, The study of symbols.
Gombrich, Aims and limits of iconology.
Gombrich, Topos and Topicality.
Gombrich, Patrons and painters in Baroque Italy.
Gombrich, The mastery of Raphael Sanzio.
Gombrich, Art and Psychology.
Gombrich, Reflections on the history of art
Gombrich, The Essential Gombrich.
Gombrich, The imgage the the eye.
Tolman, E. C. and E. Brunswik, `The Organism and the Causal Texture of
Environment', Psychological Review, -- for the hypothetical character of
perceptual processes.

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