Philosophy vs. Art
This page is one of the explanatory pages for my website, http://www.CardinalKnowledge.org. The website is a work in progress, and each and every part of it is open for discussion. The comments to these explanatory pages are where this discussion is to take place.
Although I am sure many would argue, but I am certain that in their pure, cardinal, form, art and philosophy contradict one another. Philosophy deals with logic and reason, while art deals with immediate sensory perception. The artistic knowledge consists of qualia, which, by their definition, are not subject to reason. Many artists claim that there can never be a formula of beauty, and although quite a few philosophers delve into the field of æsthetics, the philosophy of art, they end up buildling limited views of what art or beauty is. As the philosopher and musicologist Theodor Adorno wrote, “It is self-evident that nothing concerning art is self-evident”.
The concept of the qualia, which I believe is the key to understanding of how artistic knowledge enters a human mind is somewhat of a controvercial issue for modern philosophers and cognitive scientists. It has been consistently argued against by such people as Michael Tye, Daniel Dennett, the Churchlands and even Frank Jackson, a former “qualiaphile”. Some call this idea a revival of indirect realism, itself a slippery philosophical concept investigated by everyone from Aristotle to John Locke, which can easily lead to solipsism if mishandled or simply fall prey to Cartesian Theater, Homunculus Fallacy, or some other type of Ryle’s regress problem. However, to me it is evident that the definition of art lies in the way it is transferred from person to person, in the the perception of it by the audience. Indicentally, this is similar to the position once postulated by Leo Tolstoy (did I say most good ideas have already been said?)
There have been attempts to explain the contradiction between art and philosophy through neurophysiology, where it has been shown that linear reasoning and language functions such as grammar and vocabulary are often (but not always!) lateralized to the left hemisphere of the brain, while holistic reasoning, intonation and accentuation of language, the transduction of visual and musical stimuli, spatial manipulation, facial perception, and artistic ability itself seem to be functions of the right hemisphere. I don’t think this lateralization is the cause of the difference between art and philosophy, I think it is the consequence. The same parts of the brain simply cannot work on such opposite conecepts, and are forced to specialize.