I don’t much about art . . .

. . . but I know what I like.

The most fundamental question concerning contemporary aesthetics is whether or not there can be any objective measure of quality. Even here one needs to realize that “quality” is going to be a vaguely defined term. Nevertheless, to recognize that the primary question is about objective standards is to realize that we cannot simply use our personal sensibilities — what we are attracted to — as any sort of a guide. The observable fact that people have differing opinions about art is evidence enough that a priori knowledge of aesthetic quality isn’t universal.

Attempts to find an objective measure of “beauty” have now been replaced with value theory; though value theory doesn’t address all the questions raised by aesthetics. If a work of art is within an established tradition we can compare it with other works within that tradition. Also what is and isn’t currently in fashion can be objectively measured. There have been numerous aesthetic theories posed by philosophers, psychologists and scientists with varying degrees of persuasiveness.

Traditional issues of aesthetics are often irrelevant in contemporary art. Today any observation about what is categorized as art can be regarded as aesthetics.

2 Responses to “I don’t much about art . . .”

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