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Art and knowledge. Cognitivism. Epistemic question: Can art provide knowledge? Aesthetic question: If so, does this increase its value as art? Plato and Aristotle, yes. Formalism: no. Fine (Beauty) Arts: points out to beauty, not to knowledge. Cognitivism.

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  • Epistemic question: Can art provide knowledge?
  • Aesthetic question: If so, does this increase its value as art? Plato and Aristotle, yes. Formalism: no.
  • Fine (Beauty) Arts: points out to beauty, not to knowledge
  • Aesthetic cognitivism: 1) art can provide (non trivial) knowledge and 2) art ability to provide (non trivial) knowledge, to some extent, determines ist value as art.
  • Aesthetic anti-cognitivism denies 1 and/or 2.
  • What kind of knowledge?
  • M. Nussbaum (Love's Knowledge): Literature can provide knowledge in moral areas. Some moral truths can be revealed only in literature. Philosophy is more abstract, privileges reason; literature is particular and recognices feelings and emotions. Philosophy can sketch good life, but specificly we can only understand it in literature.
  • Carroll: art can deepen our understanding of the moral knowledge we already have.
  • R. W. Beardsmore: art deepens our understanding of the actions’ manifesting different emotions and moral qualities, and so art allows us to be more sensitive in our perceptions.
  • Art can teach us abour values (specially moral values): Novitz, Eldridge, Sharpe, Kieran y Ricoeur
Art can provide a knowledge of possibilities:Frank Palmer holds that thanks to literature we learn through imaginative imagination what it is like to be a determined person (z.B, Hamlet) Hilary Putnam, por su parte, afirma que la novela de Doris Lessing

Aristotle: poetry provides universal knowledge. Fictional reality, but coherent (truth as coherence).

Kundera: man cannot compare his life with anything else: Einmal ist keinmal.

But man can create fictional worlds in which can test this “as if” (als ob), so art is a kind of epoché that allows man to explore what could have happened in some other circumstaces or if he had taken some other decissions.

  • Kieslowski (Random, 1981), Lawrence Durrell (Alexandria Quatrain), Orson Welles (Citizen Kane, 1940) de Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, 1950) Sidney Lumet (Twelve angry men, 1957), Anand Tucker, Hilary and Jackie, 1998).
  • Art can provide knowledge of what actually is (not only of possibilitis). Freud claimed that many of his insights had been foreseen by Sofocles and Shakespeare.
  • Art can provide practical knowledge, namely, the knowledge of how to carry out some actions (phrónesis).
  • Collingwood: art as knowledge of emotions.
  • Goodman: Visual art shows us how to look at the world.
  • E. W. Beardsmore: literature can help to find sense or meanign in events previosly meaningless.
  • Romanticism: art is the place of a relation with the deep mistery of the world. Art can say the truth about the world.
  • Novitz: Art provides an experiential knowledge, a knowledge of what it is like to be in love or loosing a beloved person, by expanding our consciousness (virtual experience).
  • Cognitivism explains in part why we give a so important place to art in our culture and society.
anti cognitivism
  • Plato: art as appearance.
  • Even though the audience can speak about learning from art, either they cannot say what they have learnt, or if they can, it is trivial.
  • Even if we can learn something from art, there are no distictive artistic truths, as they are in science. There are no truths that only art can provide.
  • Cognitivist reply: But these truths come with some other non-cognitivs values (beauty, density, emotion…)
anti cognitivism1
  • We cannot learn from art, because art cancels the reference to real world. Knowledge is not a question of true “beliefs”, but of verifiable “truths”.
  • Re: What about new knowledge? z.B: Faustic.
  • This criticism apply to reference books as well. We only have an institutional warranty.
  • Re: Art can be seen also as an evidence of Weltanschuungen (iconology, ancient art…)
  • Aesthetic relevance of knowledge: how the work conveys it.
anti cognitivism2
  • Music can expand our capacity of listening. Painting our capacity of viewing.
  • Objection: In art (literature) we don’t mind about the data (dates, names…).
  • Re: not all cognitive flaw is an aesthetic flaw. Cognitive values are some between others.
  • Reference to real world required: makes nudity people more clever? Try to defend it in a novel (not a satire). So, reference to real world is nor incompatible with art.
  • Re: Some topics are always in art (life, sense, God…). So that shows we are not indifferent to its truth.
anti cognitivism3
  • An elegant scientific theory, if it is wrong, is rejected. A beautiful artwork, even though is false, is accepted. But, agreeing that truth in art has not the final authority it has in science does not involve agreeing that truth is never relevant to the aesthetic evaluation.