I am researching for a school project and so far all of the sources I have found are too difficult for me to understand (I am a high school student with English as my second language). Please help!

  • It is not easy to consider art as a "form of knowledge"... See e.g. The Definition of Art. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 19 '18 at 8:25
  • See also Aesthetic Judgment : "look at the particularly rich account of judgments of beauty given to us by Immanuel Kant. The notion of a “judgment of taste” is central to Kant's account and also to virtually everyone working in traditional aesthetics". – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Dec 19 '18 at 8:27
  • You might be interested in "Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures" by Noble prize winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. It's a short, easy read and provides a unique perspective on this divide that might be helpful to you. It doesn't deal with objective knowledge philosophically but with neuroscience and science generally. Might be useful. – syntonicC Dec 24 '18 at 17:07

By "Art and objective knowledge", I suppose you're referring to the conflict between the kind of knowledge collected by science, logic, facts, experimentation, in laboratories, and which has enabled technology and industrialization, space exploration, theoretical physics... this is the knowledge at CERN, NASA, IPCC, Apple's hardware division...

...and the kind of knowledge collected by families, artists, musicians, novelists, politicians, leaders, muses, film directors, Instagram stars, documentary producers, Apple's music division...

What's the conflict? People are saying that if a machine can't know it, it can't be known. But every person knows that their favorite song is better than their least favorite song. Then is it true that knowledge must be objective to be knowledge?

Or can knowledge be true and subjective?

I think a nice arena to think about this is courts of law. What happens when a person is accused of a crime? Somebody stands up in court and witnesses what happened. The witness answers questions: first, questions by the accusers. Then, questions by lawyers for the accused person, or even questions by the accused person him- or herself!

Following this, the judge, or the judge and jury, think about it and make up their minds whether the witness is right or not; then if the accused is guilty, he or she gets punished and if not, he or she goes free.

Are witness statements objective? No, they are not: they are the words of a single person with human biases, errors in judgment, limitations in thinking and observation...

But witness statements become closer to objectivity when we use analytical tools, like logic, Occam's razor, tests for fallacies, etc. to remove biases, errors in judgment, limitations, and outright lies.

So art, or rather subjective knowledge can be knowledge but it must pass tests that you apply to it... and if it turns out that the witness is racist or biased or evil or stupid or a meddler or a busybody or a gossip or a maniac, we throw out the witness's testimony and forget about it. But if the witness has goodwill, good perspective, good taste, good judgment, good logic, good observation, good self-regulation, honesty, and acts without coercion, then we may believe what the witness says no matter how terrible that makes the accused out to be, or how angry we are at the accused.

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