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Objectivity and sensitivity in aesthetics 1974

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OBJECTIVITY AND SENSITIVITY IN AESTHETICS by JOEL RUDINOW B.A., The University of California, Santa Barbara, 1968 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in the Department of PHILOSOPHY We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1974 rs In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of P h i l o s o p h y The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date f j 7/ i ABSTRACT Thi s essay i s a d i s c u s s i o n of two r e l a t e d t o p i c s i n contemporary a e s t h e t i c s : the n o t i o n of a e s t h e t i c sen- s i t i v i t y , and the ques t ion of the o b j e c t i v i t y of a e s t h e t i c judgements. I t s p o i n t o f depar ture i s the work of Frank S i b l e y on " a e s t h e t i c concepts" . In Chapter I i n t u i t i o n i s m i s r e j e c t e d both as p r o v i d i n g an answer to the q u e s t i o n , "Are a e s t h e t i c judge- ments o b j e c t i v e ? " and as p r o v i d i n g the bas i s fo r an account of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . In Chapter I I an account of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y based on the seeing-as n o t i o n i s exp lo red and u l t i m a t e l y abandoned. In Chapter I I I the i s sue of o b j e c t i v i t y for a e s t h e t i c judgements i s developed i n d e t a i l , as t u r n i n g on the a v a i l - • a b i l i t y of some d e c i s i o n procedure or other for the r e s o l u - t i o n of d i s p u t e s . I t i s argued that r e l a t i v i s m , the p o s i - t i o n tha t no such d e c i s i o n procedures for a e s t h e t i c judge- ments are a v a i l a b l e , cannot be adequately defended. An analogy between a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n emerges as b a s i c to a p romis ing s t r a t egy fo r a defense of a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s m . The s t r a t egy i n v o l v e s the demand for an a r t i c u l a t i o n of d e c i s i o n procedures r e l e v a n t to c o l o r i i a t t r i b u t i o n . The promise of the strategy is defended when i t i s argued that standard a n t i - i n t u i t i o n i s t c r i t i c i s m s need not undermine i t . F i n a l l y , the theses and arguments of one r e l a t i v i s t , Isabel C. Hungerland, are c r i t i c i z e d . Part of her defense of re l a t i v i s m i s traced to her accep- tance of an analogy between aesthetic judgement and seeing- as. The results of Chapter II, in which the l i m i t s of that analogy are exposed, are employed against her. Chapter IV is an outline of a set of decision pro- cedures for color a t t r i b u t i o n . Color decision procedures involve the sel e c t i o n of a reference group of observers, whose vi s u a l experiences are taken to be authoritative. Members of the reference group are selected on the basis of two p r i n c i p l e s of select i o n : one which selects s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal observers, and one which selects observers of demons strably higher discriminatory capacity. A system of sub̂ - s i d i a r y p r i n c i p l e s , which operates when the two main are at odds in the i r selections, is i l l u s t r a t e d . In Chapter V the p l a u s i b i l i t y of an aesthetic analogue of the theory of color o b j e c t i v i t y developed in Chapter IV i s defended against two major objections. The f i r s t objection i s based on a point of disanalogy between colors and aesthetic features: the V-emergence" of aesthetic features, It i s ar- gued, in e f f e c t , that this i s not a relevant point of dis- i i i a n a l o g y . The s e c o n d o b j e c t i o n i s b a s e d on t h e v i e w t h a t t h e m e a n i n g s o f t e r m s u s e d t o e x p r e s s a e s t h e t i c j u d g e m e n t s a r e n e v e r t w i c e t h e same. T h i s v i e w i s c r i t i c i z e d , and a more p l a u s i b l e o n e , w h i c h d o e s n o t p o s e d i f f i c u l t i e s f o r t h e c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s a n a l o g y , i s c o n s i d e r e d . i v CONTENTS C h a p t e r Page I 1 I I 24 I I I 41 IV 79 V 103 B i b l i o g r a p h y 131 V ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I want to thank the members of my s u p e r v i s o r y committee, P rofessor D. G. Brown and Pro fesso r W. J . M u l l i n s for t h e i r comments, and e s p e c i a l l y the committee 's chairman, Professor R. I . S i k o r a , who, i n h i s c a r e f u l s u p e r v i s i o n of the w r i t i n g of t h i s t h e s i s , kept me busy longer than I wanted and so, caused me to see many d e f i c i e n c i e s i n what I had w r i t t e n . My thanks are a l so due to J an ice Rudinow for help w i t h p roof read ing and numerous i n t a n g i b l e s . CHAPTER I J. L. Austin once remarked that aesthetics would begin to prosper as a branch of philosophy, i f only aestheticians would divert t h e i r attention from the beautiful to the dainty and the dumpy.1 The f i e l d work Austin envisaged for aesthetics has been well stimulated by Frank Sibley, whose work on "aes- thetic concepts'^ has been the focus of much recent discussion. Among the somewhat controversial pieces of philosophical apparatus that Sibley introduces are the following two: i ) a d i s t i n c t i o n between aesthetic and nonaesthetic concepts (or perhaps properties, judgements, terms, uses of terms); and i i ) the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . About the f i r s t , the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c - t i o n , there i s a good deal of confusion; numerous attempts have been made to give a clear account of i t , ^ the results of J.L. Austin, "A Plea for Excuses," in Philosophical Papers, by J.L, Austin, ed. J.O. Urmson and G.J. Warnock (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 131. 2 Frank Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," The Philosophical Review, 68 (1959), 421-450, reprinted in Philosophy Looks at the Arts, ed. Joseph Margolis (N.Y.: Scribner's, 1962), pp. 68-87, references to this article will be to the Margolis volume; Frank Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," The Philosophical Review, 74 (1965), 135-159. 3 Isabel C. Hungerland, "The Logic of Aesthetic Concepts," Pro- ceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Assn., 36 (1962-1963), 43-66, reprinted in Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics From Plato to Wittgenstein, ed. Frank A. Tillman and Steven M. Cahn (N.Y.: Harper and Row, 1969), pp. 595- 2 which have been so inconclusive as to cause some philosophers to despair of ever producing such an account.4 For his own part, Sibley has been content with a rough, i n t u i t i v e distinc- t i o n , generated by sorting sample remarks. He says: I make this broad distinction by means of examples of judgements, qualities, and expressions. There is, i t seems to me, no need to defend the distinction. Once examples have been given to illustrate i t , I believe almost anyone could continue to place further examples - barring of course the expected debatable, ambiguous, or borderline cases - in one category or the other. . . Those who in their theoretical moments deny any such distinction usually show in their practice that they can make i t quite adequately.^ And he i l l u s t r a t e s i t thus: I wish to indicate two broad groups. I shall do this by examples. We say that a novel has a great number of characters and deals with l i f e in a manufacturing town; that a painting uses pale colors, predominantly blues and greens, and has kneeling figures in the fore- ground, that the theme in a fugue is inverted at such a point and that there is a stretto at the close; that the action of a play takes place in the span of 617; Isabel C. Hungerland, "Once Again: Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 26 (Spring, 1968)^ 285-295, reprinted in Aesthetics, ed. Harold Osborne (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 106-120; Ruby Meager, "Aesthetic Concepts," The British Journal of Aesthetics, 10 (1970), 303-322; and Dorothy Walsh, "Aesthetic Descriptions'," The British Journal of Aesthetics, 10 (1970), 237-247. 4 Allen Casebier, "The Alleged Special Logic of Aesthetic Terms," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 31 (Spring, 1973), 357-364; and Ted Cohen, "Aesthetic/Non-aesthetic and the Concept of Taste: a Critique of Sibley's Position," Theoria, 39 (1973), 113-152. 5 Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," p. 135. 3 one day and that there is a reconciliation scene in the fifth act. . . On the other hand, we also say that a poem is tightly-knit or deeply moving; that a picture lacks balance, or has a certain serenity and repose, or that the grouping of the figures sets up an exciting tension; that the characters in a novel never really come to l i f e , or that a certain episode strikes a false note.g In connection with the second, the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , there has been as much controversy over what Sibley might have meant by "aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y " or "taste" as over what the notion i t s e l f comes to. The often quoted and puzzled over passage in Sibley i s : When I speak of taste in this paper. . . i t is with an ability to notice or see or tell that things have certain qualities that I am concerned.n The relationship between these two pieces of philo- sophical apparatus i s i t s e l f a subject of some interest. H. R. G. Schwyzer, in a response to Sibley's pioneering work, points to a possible strategy for drawing a sharp aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n , a strategy perhaps to be d i s t i l l e d from Sibley. The distinction between aesthetic and nonaesthetic dis- course is clearly to be located in the area of what we can and cannot say given normal eyesight, normal hearing, normal intelligence (where "what we cannot say" is due to a lack in taste or perceptiveness, and not, for instance, to a lack in erudition). Initially, Sibley makes precisely the same point. 8 Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," p. 63. Ibid. p. 65. 8 H.R.G. Schwyzer, "Sibley's 'Aesthetic Concepts'," The Philo- sophical Review, 72 (1963), 72-78; Cf. Morris Weitz, "Open Concepts," Revue Internationale de Philosophie3 26 (1972), 106. 4 In introducing the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y or taste, Sibley does draw attention to the s u p e r f i c i a l l y obvious thing that some of us are better than others at viewing and discussing works of art. It would seem that even among those of us with a normal endowment of i n t e l l i g e n c e and normally func- tioning senses, some are able to make observations about and give descriptions of works of art that seem at once to be re- markable, and just the right things to say, where others, while likewise having 20/20 v i s i o n , unimpaired hearing and so on, are incapable of saying anything at a l l appropriate about a work of art, and are apparently incapable of grasping any of the i n c i s i v e remarks of their more talented fellows. For example, anyone with normal color v i s i o n can t e l l an object's color, provided that he i s not drugged, that the conditions of observation (viz. lighting) are standard, and so on. But not everyone of us, even with normal senses and in the most normal situations, can t e l l that a painting i s d e l i c a t e , or that a landscape i s austere, or that a melody is l y r i c a l , or bouyant, or darkly r e f l e c t i v e . Some people, i t seems, have a knack for this sort of thing. How do they do i t , these people with their knack? Schwyzer suggests that we connect this l a s t question, about the nature of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , up with the question about the difference between aesthetic and nonaesthetic dis- course. Accordingly, we might begin to characterize the aes- thetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n roughly as follows: (Except in 5 certain non-standard circumstances) nonaesthetic judgements can be made by anyone with normal eyesight, hearing, touch, i n t e l l i - gence, and so on, whereas for aesthetic judgements, something else in addition i s required. We might hope further for an account of this something else, an answer to the question, "How do they do i t ? " to generate or complete the aesthetic/nonaes- thetic d i s t i n c t i o n . Ted Cohen suspects that the connection between the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n and the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s even closer and more inextricable than does Schwyzer, indeed that the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s nothing but the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n i n another guise. Suppose in discussing a painting someone refers to one of its lines, saying, "That line is curved", and later adds, "That line is graceful". The latter is an aes- thetic judgement, the former is not. . . which is to say that taste is required to apply "graceful" but no more than normal eyes and intelligence is required to apply "curved". [But] That is the aesthetic/nonaesthetic distinction at work. . . g And Sibley gives away as much when he says on the one hand, When I speak of taste in this paper. . . i t is with an ability to notice or see or tell that things have certain qualities that I am concerned. Cohen, "Aesthetic/Non-aesthetic and the Concept of Taste," p. 124; Cf. Monroe Beardsley, "What is an Aesthetic Quality?" Theoria, 59 (1973), p. 54. 1 0 Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," p. 65. 6 Presumably these are aesthetic q u a l i t i e s , ones mentioned in aesthetic judgements - and when he subsequently distinguishes aesthetic judgements and q u a l i t i e s in terms of the exercise of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . Many judgements about the shape, color, sound, wording, subject matter, or composition of things, including works of art, are such that i t would be ludicrous to suggest that aesthetic sensitivity, perceptiveness, or taste had been exhibited in making them. Similarly, i t would be ridiculous to suggest that aesthetic sensitivity was re- quired to see or notice or otherwise perceive that some- thing is, say, large, circular, green, slow, or mono- sylabic. Accordingly, I speak of nonaesthetic judgements, qualities, descriptions, and concepts. By contrast, there are other judgements the making of which could clearly be said to exhibit an exercise of aesthetic sensitivity or perceptiveness. Similarly, i t would be natural to say that aesthetic sensitivity was required to see, notice, or otherwise perceive, for instance, that something is graceful, dainty, or garish, or that a work of art is balanced, moving, or powerful. Accordingly, I speak of aesthetic judgements, qualities, descriptions, and concepts.^ Cohen goes further to suggest that the interplay between the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n helps to expose that d i s t i n c t i o n as a phantom. There is no sensible and important way of dividing terms in line with Sibley's aesthetic/nonaesthetic distinction.^ What Sibley does after invoking the distinction is ignorable: the distinction itself is a l l the philosophy Sibley has, and i t is the ultimate cause of whatever uneasiness one feels with Sibley's position.^ 11 12 13 Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," p. 135. Cohen, "Aesthetic/Non-aesthetic and the Concept of Taste," p. 139. Ibid. p. 124. 7 Though I am not t e r r i b l y concerned to shore up the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n , or to defend any p a r t i c u l a r sorting of examples, and though the intimacy of the connection between aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n is p l a i n , I think i t is also p l a i n that these items eon function interdependently (with the aid of a few examples) at least to pick out phenomena for philosophical inspection, without thereby reducing that philosophical inspection to empty t r i v i a l i t y . Moreover, though we must admit that defining aes- thetic s e n s i t i v i t y in terms of the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s - t i n c t i o n while defining that d i s t i n c t i o n i n terms of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y reduces the whole a f f a i r to c i r c u l a r i t y , we needn't at the same time foreclose on the p o s s i b i l i t y of an independent account of either. In this essay I try to do two things: i) I try to get clear about the nature of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . And i n - deed, I of f e r this excursion into the notion of aesthetic sensi- t i v i t y as something that ought to interest even such a detrac- tor of Sibley's enterprise as Cohen, since Cohen's c r i t i q u e of the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n turns i t s e l f so f r e - quently on asking in e f f e c t , "Does the correct application of these terms r e a l l y require the exercise of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y ? " and then either supplying or i n v i t i n g the answer, "No, i t does not". i i ) I try to c l a r i f y and move toward an answer to such questions as "Is aesthetic judgement objective?" or "Is the delicacy of a sculpture a matter of f a c t ? " 8 As a f i r s t step i n the inquiry into the notion of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , I want to dispose, at least t e n t a t i v e l y , of a common view of what Sibley meant by "aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y " . There i s often a temptation in philosophical discus- sions of areas of discourse i n which disagreement abounds (art c r i t i c i s m being such an area) to introduce talk of special sorts of simple properties and corresponding special sorts of percep- tion for which some of us are equipped and some not. So Sibley, who talks of a special a b i l i t y exhibited when aesthetic judge- ments are made, is often taken to have meant by this a special quasi-sense or i n t u i t i o n for the di r e c t apprehension of certain simple and experience-independent properties.14 we could c a l l such a position "intuitionism", and though numerous commentators on Sibley have taxed him for what they take to be his " i n t u i - tionism", i t amounts, I think, to a crude parody of any position Sibley actually holds. Cursory reference, to passages in Sibley's work is sometimes taken as s u f f i c i e n t to establish him as an i n t u i t i o n - i s t , and Sibley's vocabulary i s admittedly suggestive i n several places. 14 R. David Broiles, "Frank Sibley's 'Aesthetic Concepts'," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 23 (Winter, 1964), 218^225; Joseph Margolis, "Sibley on Aesthetic Perception," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 25 (Winter, 1966), 155-158; Joseph Margolis, "Recent Work in Aesthetics," The American Philosophical Quarterly, 2 (1965), 182-192; David Pole, "Presentational Objects and Their Interpretation," Philosophy and the Arts: Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, VI, (London: Macmillan, 1973), pp. 153-154; John Casey, "The Autonomy of Art, i M in Philosophy and the Arts, p. 66. 9 We see that the book is red by looking, just as we t e l l that the tea is sweet by tasting i t . So too, i t might be said, we just see (or f a i l to see) that things are delicate, balanced, and the like.^j- Aesthetics deals with a kind of perception. People have to see the grace or unity of a work, hear the plaintiveness or frenzy in the music, notice the gaudiness of a color scheme.^ However, the i n t u i t i o n i s t interpretation of Sibley has seldom been argued for, and never conclusively argued for. Those who point so accusingly at passages such as the above, usually overlook such passages as the below. . . . puzzlement over the "esoteric" character of aesthetic qualities arises from bearing in mind inappropriate philo- sophical models. When someone is unable to see that the book on the table is brown we cannot get him to see that i t is by talking; consequently i t seems puzzling that we might get someone to see that the vase is graceful by talking. If we are to dispel.'this puzzlement and recognize aesthetic concepts and qualities for what they are, we must abandon unsuitable models. . My dismissal of the i n t u i t i o n i s t interpretation of Sibley w i l l only be complete in Chapter III below, where I argue in effect that this interpretation can only be conclusively argued for on the basis of controversial, and groundless, assumptions concer- ning the metaphysical and ontological implications of the view that aesthetic judgements are "objective", a view to which Sibley 1 5 Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," p. 77. ^ Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," p. 137. 1 7 Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," p. 79. 10 subscribes, But for now, as regards Sibley's suspicious ter- minology, s u f f i c e i t to say that Sibley i s as suspicious about that terminology as anyone might be and has said that in con- nection with issues of " o b j e c t i v i t y " there is a need to examine, i f not abandon, the inadequately investigated notion of a property, both inside and outside aesthetics. Even more recently, Sibley has e x p l i c i t l y backed away from the i n t u i t i o n i s t position that Margolis, B r o i l e s , and others have t r i e d to pin on him. His use of the term "property" i n connection with aesthetics, he i n s t r u c t s , is to be understood in a quite metaphysically neutral way, and to be taken to i n d i - cate only that in virtue of which certain aesthetic judgements may properly be regarded as "objective", where that i n virtue of which the " o b j e c t i v i t y " of aesthetic judgements i s secured needn't be anything l i k e for instance a simple, experience- independent property, This move, as we s h a l l l a t e r see, connects with a c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the notion of o b j e c t i v i t y by means of distinguishing between certain issues ostensibly concerning o b j e c t i v i t y . This c l a r i f i c a t i o n i n turn allows for the elu- cidation of various of pieces of Sibley's apparatus, including his use of the term "property", his use of perception termin- ology, and his emphasis on an analogy between aesthetic judge- 18 Eva Schaper and Frank Sibley, "Symposium: About Taste," The British Journal of Aesthetics3 6 (1966), 69. 11 ment and color a t t r i b u t i o n . For present purposes l e t us note that in backing away from the i n t u i t i o n i s t p osition, Sibley also backs away from the question about the nature of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . In c l a r i - fying his use of the term "property" he also exposes the l i m i t s of his concern as excluding any very deep or d i r e c t inquiry into the nature of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . There remains then the question as to what sort of a knack aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s . Sibley rejects intuitionism and so the i n t u i t i o n i s t ' s notion of a perceptual or quasi- perceptual faculty as basic to an account of aesthetic sensi- t i v i t y . But we may examine the strengths and weaknesses of such an account on our own. Part of the a t t r a c t i o n of an i n t u i t i o n i s t based account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y comes from the fact that perception terminology i s so frequently used to indicate the ways in which aesthetic terms come to be applied in p a r t i c u l a r situations. As Sibley notes, we have to see that the painting is graceful, and hear that the music is frenzied. The danger i s that the words "see" and "hear" be taken too l i t e r a l l y . 19 (Sibley gives a clue when in the same breath he says "notice". ) There might after a l l be a difference between seeing that X is delicate and seeing X's delicacy, e s p e c i a l l y where "X's delicacy" Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," p. 137. 12 i s construed to i n d i c a t e some simple or unanalyzable property which inheres i n or i s had by X independently of experience. One has to be a b i t d e l i c a t e about the word "see". In the f i r s t p l a c e , not every occurrence of the word "see" i s an occurrence of a perception term. There i s nothing essen- t i a l l y v i s u a l or p e r c e p t u a l , f o r in s t a n c e , about "seeing some- one o f f " . Nor i s there anything i r r e m e d i a b l y odd about a b l i n d man's r e c e p t i o n i s t ushering you i n w i t h "Mr. Smith w i l l see you now." Moreover, even where "seeing" c e n t r a l l y i n v olves the eyes, where the word "see" i s used to i n d i c a t e some perceptual event or a c t i v i t y , there i s wide v a r i e t y . In some employments, the verb "to see" i s a verb of accomplishment, i n some not. In some cases, say, i f I've gone to see a mime performance, seeing i s l i k e watching: i t takes time. In cases of other s o r t s one sees i n an i n s t a n t . E q u a l l y important, not a l l seen and seeable things are of the same order, and to assume otherwise i s to i n v i t e (bad) jokes: Do you see the difference between the p i l l a r and the post? Well, I see the p i l l a r . . . and I see the post. . . but I can't yet see the difference. Maybe i f the p i l l a r and the post were removed from the line of sight. . . Here, i n s p i t e of the grammatical s i m i l a r i t i e s between the substantive "the d i f f e r e n c e " and substantives l i k e "the p i l l a r " and "the post", we r e a l i z e the nonsense i n regarding d i f f e r e n c e s 13 as "things to be seen" i n the way in which p i l l a r s and posts are "to be seen". But neither differences nor p i l l a r s are very much l i k e simple or unanalyzable properties. The observation that we say we see the delicacy of paintings begins to look somewhat harmless, for the use of perception terminology to indicate the employment of a perceptual faculty appropriate for simple properties turns out to be a f a i r l y esoteric use. At the very least, more w i l l have to be said to move us toward an i n t u i t i o n i s t account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y than that we use apparent perception terminology in connection with aesthetic judgements. Another apparent a t t r a c t i o n of the i n t u i t i o n i s t account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s that i t provides, or perhaps consti- tutes, a response to certain r e a d i l y offered a n t i - c r i t i c a l views. I think that in the community of people who are enthusiastic about the arts and who engage in and seriously read c r i t i c i s m of. the arts, i t is almost u n i v e r s a l l y agreed that c r i t i c a l d is- course i s , in some sense, "objective". We agree that even i f c r i t i c i s m i s neither systematic nor systematizable, i t i s at any rate an area of endeavor i n which terms l i k e " i n s i g h t " and 2 0 "acumen" have a real application. We distinguish between c r i t i c s and laymen, and we defer, in the main, to the c r i t i c , i n Cf. Arnold Isenberg, "Critical Communication," The Philosophical Review, 58 (1949), reprinted in Aesthetics and Language, ed. William Elton, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1954), at p. 136n. 14 view of his acknowledged expertise. We say, in other words, that some of us are better than others at viewing and discussing works of art. But, as seemingly obvious as this p o s i t i o n i s , i t i s nonetheless quite controversial, at least outside the community of p r a c t i t i o n e r s and serious readers of art c r i t i c i s m . Consequently, i t i s a view thought by some to be worthy of defense. The a n t i - c r i t i c a l attack comes normally i n the form of a r h e t o r i c a l challenge to produce the bases on which art- c r i t i c a l pronouncements are founded, and the decision proce- dures by which a r t - c r i t i c a l controversies might be arbitrated. This challenge, which i s meant to undermine the authority of the c r i t i c , must either be met or rejected, i f our esteem for the enterprise of art c r i t i c i s m i s to be vindicated. Now, the i n t u i t i o n i s t account of aesthetic sensi- t i v i t y provides a sort of response to the a n t i - c r i t i c a l posi- t i o n : Naturally the a n t i - c r i t i c w i l l f i n d c r i t i c i s m obscure and baseless, i f he himself lacks the requisite faculty for making aesthetic judgements. It i s just t h i s , the possession of aesthetic i n t u i t i o n , a special quasi-sense concerned with simple aesthetic properties, that distinguishes the sensitive art viewer from the tasteless pedestrian. The authority of the sensitive c r i t i c rests in his a b i l i t y to grasp, v i a his aesthetic i n t u i t i o n , the true nature of the work of art before 15 him, to see just what aesthetic properties i t r e a l l y does have. Suppose we are committed to the view that aesthetic judgements are in some sense "objective", and that the d i s t i n c - tion between the sensitive and the insensitive aesthetic observer is worthy and capable of defense. What i t wants then i s a worthy defense; but the i n t u i t i o n i s t defense i s both inadequate and overly costly (as I hope to show sho r t l y ) . Something , whatever i t i s , we can c a l l i t "aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y " , distinguishes the sensitive from the insensitive aesthetic observer; i t is not necessarily the possession of a special quasi-sense. Apart from problems with intuitionism generally, there are special problems in applying an intuitionist**based analysis to aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . Suppose we were to say that seeing that a painting i s delicate (or garish or balanced) is not so much l i k e seeing that the house is red, and that hearing that the overture i s 2 u n i f i e d i s not so much l i k e tasting the sweetness of the dessert as they are both l i k e seeing that the colors of your wife's coordinates don't match, or seeing that John and his grand- father resemble each other f a c i a l l y . Aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y might be an a b i l i t y to see or notice or t e l l that certain For the present and for convenience I am taking redness and sweetness as properties in the sense relevant to intuitionism, that is, as simple properties which inhere in objects independently of exper- ience. But see below pp. 58-61. 16 22 experience- independent r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s are had by ce r - t a i n o b j e c t s , or complexes of objects^. ( I ' l l c a l l t h i s the " R e l a t i o n a l P r o p e r t i e s " , or RP accoun t ) , r a the r than a percep- t u a l a b i l i t y to p i c k out s imple ones. The RP account has c e r - t a i n advantages over the i n t u i t i o n i s t one, which I w i l l note a f t e r I note some of the RP account ' s independent a t t r a c t i o n s . i ) S i t u a t i o n s i n v o l v i n g a r t and a e s t h e t i c judgement are not the only s i t u a t i o n s i n which we d i s t i n g u i s h between the s e n s i t i v e and the i n s e n s i t i v e observer . There are a few people whose d e s c r i p t i o n s and analyses o f , say, p o l i t i c a l s i t u a - t i o n s are uncanny i n very much the same way i n which the aes- t h e t i c judgements of the man w i t h a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y are uncanny. We r e a d i l y d i s t i n g u i s h i n many areas (not j u s t i n the a r t s ) between the s e n s i t i v e or p e r c e p t i v e commentator and the i n s e n s i t i v e observer . O c c a s i o n a l l y we g ive names to the a b i l i t i e s and shortcomings of the s e n s i t i v e and the i n s e n s i t i v e observer r e s p e c t i v e l y . "Tas te" (as S i b l e y uses the term) i s on ly one such example. There i s , f o r i n s t a n c e , the f e l l o w who cannot c a r r y a tune: h i s shortcoming i s c a l l e d a " t i n - e a r " or " tone-deafness" . There are others who, l i s t e n i n g b r i e f l y w h i l e Again for expository convenience I am taking color harmony, color dischord, and facia l resemblance to be a l ike , re la t ional , and exper- ience-independent. But see below pp. 58-61. 17 one i s t u n i n g u p , c a n t e l l j u s t w h i c h s t r i n g i s o u t o f t u n e , a n d w h e t h e r i t i s s h a r p o r f l a t , t h u s d e m o n s t r a t i n g t h e i r " r e l a - t i v e p i t c h " . The s p e c i a l a b i l i t y t h a t someone w i t h r e l a t i v e p i t c h h a s , b u t t h a t someone w i t h o u t r e l a t i v e p i t c h l a c k s , c o n - s i s t s i n h e a r i n g i n t e r v a l s , o r r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s o f c e r t a i n c o m b i n a t i o n s o f s o u n d s . T h a t i s t o s a y , p e o p l e w i t h r e l a t i v e p i t c h c a n do what t h e y do i n v i r t u e o f b e i n g a b l e t o p e r c e i v e c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s o f c e r t a i n c o m b i n a t i o n s o f s o u n d s , j u s t as t h e j u d g e m e n t t h a t t h e c o l o r s o f y o u r w i f e ' s o u t f i t d o n ' t m a t c h d e p e n d s u p o n s e e i n g a c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t y o f y o u r w i f e ' s o u t f i t . T h a t we t a k e t h e s e a n d many o t h e r t y p e s o f s e n s i t i v i t y t o c o n s i s t i n p e r c e i v i n g r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s ( i f i n f a c t we do) I s n o t proof t h a t a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y a l s o c o n s i s t s i n p e r c e i v i n g r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s , b u t i t d o e s a d d s o m e t h i n g t o t h e p l a u s i b i l i t y o f t h a t v i e w . i i ) In a d d i t i o n , t h e RP a c c o u n t o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i - t i v i t y seems t o be on a p a r w i t h i n t u i t i o n i s m , as f a r as p r o - v i d i n g a r e s p o n s e t o an a n t i - c r i t i c a l a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m i s c o n c e r n e d . H e r e , as w i t h t h e i n t u i t i o n i s t a c c o u n t , t h e c h a l l e n g e o f t h e a n t i - c r i t i c a g a i n s t t h e c r i t i c ' s a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y w o u l d be d i s a l l o w e d i n v i r t u e o f what i s a l l e g e d t o c o n s t i t u t e t h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e c r i t i c and h i s c h a l l e n g e r , i n t h i s c a s e , t h e a b i l i t y t o d i s c e r n c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s h a d by o b j e c t s . 18 In what ways i s t h i s a c c o u n t p r e f e r a b l e t o t h e i n t u i - t i o n i s t o n e ? i ) One c o n s i d e r a t i o n h a s t o do w i t h t h e w e l l known phenomenon o f u n e v e n e x p e r t i s e i n c r i t i c i s m a n d a p p r e c i a t i o n o f t h e a r t s . I t i s a c o m m o n p l a c e t h a t a s e n s i t i v e o b s e r v e r o f w o r k s o f a r t i n one a r e a s h o u l d be q u i t e t h i c k a b o u t w o r k s o f a r t i n o t h e r a r e a s . A p e r s o n m i g h t be r a z o r - s h a r p when i t comes t o p a i n t i n g s ; he m i g h t n e v e r m i s s a s u b t l e t y , as he t i m e and a g a i n z e r o e s i n u n e r r i n g l y on t h o s e j u d g e m e n t s t h a t j u s t c a p t u r e t h e s p i r i t ( so t o s p e a k ) o f t h e p a i n t i n g . He m i g h t f o r a l l t h a t be r a t h e r h i t - a n d - m i s s a b o u t t h e d a n c e . T h i s o b s e r v a t i o n i s u n f o r t u n a t e f o r an a c c o u n t o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y w h i c h d e p e n d s on s i m p l e p r o p e r t i e s a n d a f a c u l t y o f a e s t h e t i c p e r c e p t i o n , and w h e r e one i s g i v e n t o e x p e c t a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s t o a b o u n d i n a l l a r t i s t i c a r e a s , t h a t i s , w h e r e one c a n e x p e c t t o f i n d , n o t o n l y d e l i c a t e pain- tings , b u t d e l i c a t e v e r s e , d e l i c a t e m u s i c , d e l i c a t e s c u l p t u r e , and so o n . T h u s a p o i n t o f d i s a n a l o g y b e t w e e n a e s t h e t i c s e n s i - t i v i t y on t h e one h a n d , and f o r e x a m p l e , c o l o r v i s i o n on t h e o t h e r , a p o i n t w h i c h i s d a m a g i n g t o an i n t u i t i o n i s t a c c o u n t o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y : I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o i m a g i n e some- o n e ' s h a v i n g u n e v e n o r i n t e r m i t t a n t c o l o r v i s i o n i n t h e way i n w h i c h one c a n e a s i l y , a s a b o v e , h a v e u n e v e n o r i n t e r m i t t a n t a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . I f a p e r s o n c a n s e e t h e r e d n e s s o f 19 b l o o d , he i s n o t l i k e l y ( u n d e r n o r m a l v i e w i n g c o n d i t i o n s ) t o m i s s t h e r e d n e s s o f s u n s e t s o r f i r e - e n g i n e s o r b a s e b a l l c a p s . B u t i n o r d e r t o a c c o m o d a t e t h e f a c t s a b o u t o b s e r v e r s o f w o r k s o f a r t , w h i l e y e t h o l d i n g o n t o an i n t u i t i o n i s t - r b a s e d a c c o u n t o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , a p h i l o s o p h e r w o u l d h a v e t o b e g i n t o m u l t i p l y p e r c e p t u a l f a c u l t i e s t o c o r r e s p o n d t o t h e v a r i o u s s o r t s o f p r o p e r t i e s t h a t w o u l d t a k e on i n d i v i d u a l i m p o r t a n c e i n t h e c a s e o f a e s t h e t i c s : p a i n t i n g - a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , s c u l p t u r e - a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , d r a m a - a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s ; and c u b i s t - a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , s u r r e a l i s t - ^ a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , b a r o q u e - a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , and so on ad i n d e f i n i t u m . On t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h e r e w o u l d be n o t h i n g p a r t i c u - l a r l y o d d i n s a y i n g t h a t someone i s s e n s i t i v e i n one a r e a b u t i n s e n s i t i v e i n a n o t h e r , w h e r e a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y c o n s i s t s i n d i s c e r n i n g r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s i n c o m p l e x o b j e c t s . A p e r s o n m i g h t e a s i l y be g o o d a t s e e i n g c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n s h i p s and b a d a t s e e i n g o t h e r s . T h i s c o u l d e v e n h e l p t o e x p l a i n t h e phenomenon o f u n e v e n e x p e r t i s e , i f i t c o u l d be shown t h a t a e s - t h e t i c a l l y r e l e v a n t r e l a t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s v a r y s i g n i f i c a n t l y f r o m a r t i s t i c a r e a t o a r t i s t i c a r e a . To t a k e a s i m p l e e x a m p l e ( w h i c h may o r may n o t be t h e c a s e ) : s u p p o s e t h e p l a s t i c a r t s g i v e p r o m i n e n c e t o s p a t i a l r e l a t i o n s , and m u s i c t o t e m p o r a l o n e s . The f i r s t d i f f i c u l t y w i t h i n t u i t i o n i s m i n c o n n e c t i o n 20 with aesthetics, a d i f f i c u l t y avoided by the RP account, i s that i t leads to an unwarranted p r o l i f e r a t i o n of perceptual f a c u l t i e s . i i ) A second d i f f i c u l t y with intuitionism in aes- thetics has to do with the simplicity of the alleged properties. The practice of art c r i t i c i s m would seem to support the thesis that, i f there are aesthetic properties, they must be r e l a - t i v e l y complex, and they must c e r t a i n l y be capable of analysis. Intuitionism in aesthetics would, in short, make much of the practice of art c r i t i c s and viewers u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . There i s , for example, a high-strung hustle and bustle, a near-frenzy about certain of Mondrian's paintings, or say, some of Albert Ammons' boogie woogie piano solo's, or say, a certain reading of the f i r s t Prelude i n The Well Tempered Clavier. But there is in each case much more to be said. A great deal of the a c t i v i t y of c r i t i c s i s given over to the unpacking, the a r t i c u l a t i o n , or the analysis of observations just l i k e these. A c r i t i c draws attention to s p e c i f i c areas of a canvas. He points out various passages in the music, a recurring rhythm, a motif here, a phrase there, A c r i t i c directs or guides our attention from feature to feature. This a c t i v i t y , which recog- nizes the inherent complexity of aesthetic objects, seems also to indicate a degree of sophistication and complexity about aesthetic judgements which would be incommensurable with an 21 i n t u i t i o n i s t - b a s e d account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . It is more strongly suggestive of the RP account. Though the RP account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s in some ways an improvement over intuitionism, i t is not a very illuminating view either. i) F i r s t , there i s the matter of distinguishing aesthetic from nonaesthetic s e n s i t i v i t i e s , the matter of getting at what is d i s t i n c t i v e about aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . Certainly many nonaesthetic judgements require the perception of r e l a t i o n s , (The cat i s on the mat. The piano i s out of tune.). It may be possible to distinguish in some independent way the aesthetic from the nonaesthetic, and so, d e r i v a t i v e l y , to i s o l a t e aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y ; on the other hand, i t may turn out that the aes- thetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n is a phantom, or at least one for which no hard and fast c r i t e r i a can be stated. In any case, saying merely that aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y involves seeing r e l a - tions, even i f true, represents no great advance either toward a c l a r i f i c a t i o n of the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n , or toward a d e f i n i t i v e account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . i i ) A second, and more important, l i a b i l i t y of the RP account of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y is one that i t shares with the i n t u i t i o n i s t account. I said that, i n providing a response to a certain a n t i - c r i t i c a l challenge, both views had apparent attractions. But in each case, and for similar reasons, the 22 response is of a very unattractive sort. In each case, the response is both inconclusive and needlessly a r b i t r a r y . And this is because in each case the response is at once deeply confused and s u p e r f i c i a l . Both accounts respond to the an t i - c r i t i c by positing a special range of experience-independent •properties and corresponding modes of access to them. But to respond so is to confuse legitimate epistemological questions with questionable ontological ones. This confusion is the product of (and equally the support of) a s u p e r f i c i a l reading of the a n t i - c r i t i c a l challenge, amounting to the refusal to take seriously the a n t i - c r i t i c ' s legitimate and fundamental demand for a display of c r i t i c a l decision procedures. Of course, the a n t i - c r i t i c a l challenge i s quite often confusedly put i n such a way as to obscure i t s legitimate epistemological motivations and i n v i t e instead the taking of dogmatic onto- l o g i c a l stands. Responses of the i n t u i t i o n i s t and RP sort are, while confused, nonetheless understandable. But the confused and misleading form in which the a n t i - c r i t i c a l challenge often appears is no more grounds for the re j e c t i o n of the challenge than i t i s for an ontological response to i t . Rather, the a n t i - c r i t i c ' s challenge ought to be accepted, taken seriously, understood, and then, i f possible, met. This i s what I attempt beginning in Chapter III. It i s only through the attempt to take aesthetic r e l a t i v i s m seriously and to expose the husks of confusion that surround i t for what 23 they are, that I hope to make my doubts about the two above accounts of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y any clearer. 24 CHAPTER IJ An interesting suggestion, and one that has not yet received i t s due attention, i s that aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y be understood as a kind of aspect-perception, a kind of "seeing- 2 3 as". Sensitive attention to the phenomena of aspect-percep- tion and aspect-change may deepen our understanding of aes- theti c judgements, aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , and t h e i r surrounding phenomena. I w i l l f i r s t indicate where I think one philosopher may have been too quick to dismiss aspect-perception from the discussion of aesthetic concepts. Despite t h i s , I'm convinced that aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y i s not a kind or variety of aspect- perception. I s h a l l continue to indicate then a point at which the analogy between aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and aspect-perception r e a l l y does break down. Peter Kivy, i n an attempt to scotch an analogy be- . . . , 24 tween aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and aspect-perception, t r i e s to " J See Virgil C. Aldrich, Philosophy of Art, (Englewood Cliffs, N . J . : Prentice-Hall, 1963), esp. pp. 20-ff.; David Micheal Levin, "More Aspects to the Concept of 'Aesthetic Aspects'," The Journal of Philosophy, 65 (August, 1968), 483-489; K. Mitchells, "Aesthetic Perception and Aes- thetic Qualities," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 67 (1966-1967), 53-72; B.R. Ti]ghman, The Expression of Emotion in the Visual Arts: A Philo- sophical Inquiry, (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1970), p.77. 2 4 Peter Kivy, "Aesthetic Aspects and Aesthetic Qualities," The Journal of Philosophy, 65 (February, 1968), 85-93. 25 seperate the two just at the point where aesthetic judgements have been said to be grounded in the nonaesthetic features of things. He notes a p a r t i c u l a r kind of support that he claims must underpin every instance of aspect-perception, but which he finds conspicuously lacking in many cases of aesthetic 2 5 judgement. He r e c a l l s the duck-rabbit of Wittgenstein. How might I go about "revealing" the rabbit aspect of the figure? Well, I would doubtless point to some crucial feature, (say) the two long protrusions on the left. . . The duck-rabbit can be seen as a duck because (in part) the long protrusions can be seen as a duck b i l l . It can be seen as a rabbit because (in part) they can be seen as rabbit ears^g while on the other hand, we are often at a complete loss to say just what i t is that does constitute the unity of a particular (eg.) musical composition.^7 David Micheal Levin, in his reply to Kivy, talks about the justification of (aspectr) perceptual claims, by reference to 2 8 these c r u c i a l features. But talk of " j u s t i f i c a t i o n " i n a straightforward sense would seem to imply in this case that seeing the protrusions as a duck's b i l l can be done indepen- 25 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, (N.Y.: Macmillan, 1953), pp. 193-rff. 26 Kivy, "Aesthetic Aspects and Aesthetic Qualities", p. 90. Ibid. 28 Levin, "More Aspects to the Concept of 'Aesthetic Aspects'," p. 484. 26 dently of seeing the f i g u r e as a duck, not j u s t i n p r i n c i p l e , 29 but i n f a c t . This seems to me u n l i k e l y . (Perhaps i t would seem so to Kivy as w e l l . ) Can you see the p r o t r u s i o n s as a duck's b i l l while seeing the f i g u r e as a r a b b i t ? Do you see i t as a r a b b i t w i t h a duck's b i l l attached to the back of i t s head? Consider the phenomenon of aspect-change. The "dawning" of an aspect - what i s t h i s l i k e ? Suppose I am t o l d , "Try to see these p r o t r u s i o n s as a duck's b i l l " . So I t r y very hard . . . and . . . suddenly I succeed. But i n the very same i n s t a n t the duck aspect dawns on me. I see the duck's b i l l , and immediately i t i s the b i l l of a duck5!: That i s the dawning; or i t might be, f o r seeing the p r o t r u s i o n s as a duck's b i l l i s no l e s s an achievement than seeing the duck-rabbit as a duck. And s i n c e , i n a c t u a l p r a c t i c e , seeing the pr o t r u s i o n s as a duck's b i l l normally involves and i s inseperable from seeing the f i g u r e as a duck, one's success i n g e t t i n g someone to see the p r o t r u s i o n s as a duck's b i l l turns the t r i c k , one j u s t gets him to see the duck. It should be str e s s e d too that p o i n t i n g to c r u c i a l features and saying, "Try to see these as . . . " i s only one way of" "reveal:ing" an,aspect. There are other means qu i t e See eg. Micheal Scriven, Primary Philosophy, (N.Y. :McGraw-Hill, 1966), p. 57. 27 well suited to the same aims. I might say, "Turn the figure this way", or "Turn your head so". This should help to bring out the perlocutionary nature of the desired e f f e c t : I want to get you to see the duck aspect - I can go about i t any number of ways. In stressing that there are many ways to help someone achieve an aspect-change, I am i n no way chal- lenging the c e n t r a l i t y of pointing out c r u c i a l features to the notion of aspect-perception. For a figure to have aspects, i t must have features which are themselves ambiguous, features which are therefore c r u c i a l to the noticing of the aspects, and can be employed i n an attempt to "reveal" an aspect. But the necessity of there being these ambiguous c r u c i a l features only emphasises the intimacy with which seeing the protrusions as a duck's b i l l and seeing the figure as a duck are bound up with each other. If seeing the protrusions as a duck's b i l l i s just one of those things that comprises seeing the figure as a duck, or that seeing the duck aspect consists i n , the pointing out and interpreting of c r u c i a l features of the figure may perhaps be understood as a p a r t i a l a r t i c u l a t i o n or c l a r i f i - cation of what i t i s to see one of the figure's aspects. Furthermore, this might provide a clue to the s i t u a t i o n in aesthetics. What keeps Kivy from seeing this as a p o s s i b i l i t y , 28 (and i t is that), i s his fascination with what is in fact an e n t i r e l y gratuitous feature of some aesthetic encounters. Kivy observes that we are often at a loss as to how to d i r e c t someone to see the unity or delicacy or frenzy in a work of art. But he believes that t h i s discloses an important l o g i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n between aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and aspect-percep- ti o n . It i s true enough that we are often stymied when chal- lenged to " j u s t i f y " or "explain" a p a r t i c u l a r aesthetic judge- ment we have made. The unity or grace may r e l a t i v e l y often turn out to be opaque or ineffable for us. We needn't assume from t h i s , as Kivy must i f he i s to drive his wedge, that we are stymied for good and proper, or for good reason. Kivy is prepared to tolerate i n e f f a b i l i t y in aesthetics; he seems indeed to regard i t as a sometimes inexpurgable feature of some aesthetic situations. But i t doesn't follow from the fact that "support f o r " or the "explanation of" an aesthetic judgement in nonaesthetic terms i s in some cases d i f f i c u l t to give that the request for such "support" or "explanation" i s not always legitimate. Kivy might have noted that we are s i m i l a r l y stymied sometimes when asked to pinpoint certain 30 s i m i l a r i t i e s , say, between faces. Whatever d i f f i c u l t i e s See E.H. Gombrich, "The Mask and the Face': The Perception of Physiognomic Likeness in Life and in Art," in Art, Perception, and Reality, by E.H. Gombrich, Julian Hochberg, and Max Black (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972), pp. 1-46. 29 we may experience, i t c e r t a i n l y doesn't f o l l o w that there i s nothing that a given s i m i l a r i t y c o n s i s t s i n . Moreover, a e s t h e t i c features are, so i t i s s a i d , "emergent". That i s , the l o g i c of a e s t h e t i c concepts i s d i s t i n c t from that of, say, "covered" or "autographed", i n the f o l l o w i n g way: two photographs may s e n s i b l y be s a i d to be i d e n t i c a l save that the one i s autographed and the other not. Two c h a i r s may s e n s i b l y be s a i d to be i d e n t i c a l save that the one i s covered and the other not. But i t never makes sense to say of two things that they are i d e n t i c a l save the one's being g r a c e f u l , or d a i n t y , or balanced, or dumpy, or . . . and the other's not. I f two objects can be d i f f e r e n t i a t e d a e s t h e t i c a l l y , then they must be d i f f e r e n - t i a b l e i n other ways as w e l l , and so, where requests f o r "support" or "explanations" amount to requests that non- a e s t h e t i c d i f f e r e n c e s be pointed out, such requests are 31 always and of n e c e s s i t y s e n s i b l e . So, i f the t h e s i s that a e s t h e t i c features are emergent i s c o r r e c t , Kivy seems not j u s t premature i n suggesting that a e s t h e t i c judgements are (sometimes) "unsupportable"; he seems wrong. Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts," p. 66; Also see Micheal Tanner, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplement, 42 (1968), p. 61; Cf* R.M. Hare, The Language of Morals, (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 81, on the logic of "good"; but see also Gary M. Stahl, "Sibley's 'Aesthetic Concepts': an Ontological Mistake," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 29 (Spring, 1971), 385 -389. 30 With these remarks i n view, and also i n view of the intimacy w i t h which the p o i n t i n g out of c r u c i a l ambiguous features of a f i g u r e i s r e l a t e d to the a c t u a l n o t i c i n g of i t s aspects, we may t e n t a t i v e l y explore the p o s s i b i l i t y of an analogy between aspect-perception and a e s t h e t i c judgement f u r t h e r . Let us examine two p a r t i c u l a r a c t i v i t i e s that come under the heading " a r t c r i t i c i s m " and see how c l o s e l y they are r e l a t e d . One such a c t i v i t y i s the making of a e s t h e t i c judgements. Suppose an a r t c r i t i c has judged that a work of a r t i s u n i f i e d and t i g h t l y - k n i t . Now he r e f e r s to the mono-thematic s t r u c t u r e of the work, enumerating recurrences of some important element, and t e l l i n g how that thematic element i s r e i n f o r c e d i n various ways at various p o i n t s i n the work. This l a t t e r a c t i v i t y i s supposed to have some bearing on br r e l a t i o n to the o r i g i n a l a e s t h e t i c judgement that the work of a r t i s u n i f i e d and t i g h t l y - k n i t . But j u s t how t h i s l a t t e r a c t i v i t y stands to the o r i g i n a l judgement i s not so easy to say. We are prone, perhaps, to view these two a c t i v i t i e s and the r e l a t i o n s between them from the standpoint of the art enthusiast and reader of a r t c r i t i c i s m . Our understanding of what the c r i t i c i s doing here i s l i k e l y , t h e r e f o r e , to vary as our i n t e r e s t s and concerns as a e s t h e t i c viewers and readers of c r i t i c i s m change, which they f r e q u e n t l y do. Here are some not uncommon s i t u a t i o n s : 31 i) I have read the o r i g i n a l judgement. I agree with i t . That the work is u n i f i e d and t i g h t l y - k n i t i s just what I would have said. But I do not yet understand what i t i s about the work that accounts for t h i s . The c r i t i c points out the various passages, making clear the mono- thematic structure. Now I understand better; he has "ex- plained" the judgement. i i ) I have read the o r i g i n a l judgement. I can't fathom i t . It would never have occurred to me to c a l l the work u n i f i e d . The c r i t i c points out the various passages, making clear the mono-thematic structure, and now I see i t (that the work is u n i f i e d ) . Here we might regard the c r i t i c ' s a c t i v i t y as more " i n s t r u c t i v e " than "explanatory". i i i ) I have read the o r i g i n a l judgement. I am in disagreement with i t . "A mistake!" I say. I am struck not by any unity in the work, but by i t s d i v e r s i t y or variety, or perhaps by confusion and chaos. Now the c r i t i c points out the various passages, and so on. Here, since the o r i g i n a l judgement is challenged, we might regard the c r i t i c ' s a c t i v i t y as an anticipatory response to a possible challenge, or as an argumentative buttress for the o r i g i n a l judgement. We might say that the c r i t i c i s "supporting" or "defending" his judge- 32 ment. This ties in with the view that aesthetic judgements are 32 This i s one way to approach the question at hand. Accordingly i t might be s a i d that the r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the a e s t h e t i c judgement and what the c r i t i c says f o l l o w i n g i t are not one but s e v e r a l , that there are s e v e r a l c r i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s , perhaps going on simultaneously, and that these are to be d i s t i n g u i s h e d by reference to what the c r i t i c i s able to or can hope to accomplish i n h i s readers, given the p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t s and concerns of h i s readers. But we have s t i l l not s a i d what the c r i t i c i s doing; we have only s a i d what some of the various things are that he can hope to achieve by doing i t . I t i s important to see t h a t , w i t h respect to these various ends, there are numerous means a v a i l a b l e to the c r i t i c . A rt c r i t i c i s m i s n o t o r i o u s l y 33 f l e x i b l e i n t h i s regard. Here we should be reminded of a p a r a l l e l f l e x i b i l i t y about " r e v e a l i n g " aspects of t r i c k f i g u r e s . claims; claims are of the sort of thing that one sup-ports. But support for claims comes normally i n the form of further (in this case nonaes- thetic) claims which, i f true, make the controversial claim certain, or probable, or a good bet. Sibley argues that this kind of support i s not available for aesthetic judgements. Accordingly, he cautions that should we choose to use "support" for what the c r i t i c does i n these situations, we should take care not to construe "support" in the normal way, ("Aes- thetic and Nonaesthetic," p. 143). Nevertheless, i t does not follow from this that aesthetic judgements are not claims, or that support, i n some perfectly acceptable sense of "support", for them i s not available. See Chapters III and TV, below. 3 3 Cf. Sibley, "Aesthetic and Nonaesthetic," pp. 142-143. 33 In a d d i t i o n , by approaching the question at hand from the standpoint of the reader of c r i t i c i s m , we perhaps overlook one very important item - the e f f e c t that the a c t i v i t y of p o i n t i n g out c r u c i a l features often has upon the agent, ( i n t h i s case the c r i t i c ) . The c r i t i c , i n c i t i n g and documenting the monothematic s t r u c t u r e of a work of a r t , though he may seek by t h i s a c t i v i t y to e n l i g h t e n or persuade h i s readers, or deepen t h e i r understanding and ap p r e c i a t i o n s w i t h respect to a p a r t i c u l a r a e s t h e t i c judgement, can discover things h i m s e l f , and deepen h i s own understanding. I t i s tempting t h e r e f o r e to see the c r i t i c ' s a c t i v i t y i n part at l e a s t as the s p e l l i n g - o u t of an a e s t h e t i c judgement, of a r t i c u l a t i n g i t , an a c t i v i t y i n which he explores the judge- ment and makes i t e x p l i c i t (as f a r as he can) i n d e t a i l . One i s reminded of the popular and misguided com- p l a i n t against c r i t i c s that i n t h e i r z e a l to analyze of " d i s s e c t " a work of a r t , they succeed only i n r u i n i n g some- thi n g of the experience of i t . ^ 4 But as a r u l e , the c r i t i c r u i n s nothing i n guiding the viewer's a t t e n t i o n (and h i s own) from important feature to important feature. On the con t r a r y , the a p p r e c i a t i o n of a work of a r t i s by and l a r g e enhanced, both f o r the c r i t i c and h i s reader, by j u s t the so r t of Cf. James K. Feibleman, Aesthetics, (N.Y.: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1949), p. 202. 34 "dissection" that figures i n this a n t i - i n t e l l e c t u a l com- p l a i n t . Often the aesthetic judgement, say, that the work of art i s u n i f i e d , i s i t s e f f sharpened, deepened, and en- riched in process of i t s a r t i c u l a t i o n , by the s p e c i f i c a t i o n of patterns of stress or emphasis in c r i t i c a l attention, and by the pursuant discovery of c r u c i a l features and further c r u c i a l features. At the same time, the aesthetic judgement i t s e l f contributes to the d i r e c t i o n of c r i t i c a l attention and helps to determine the pattern of focus. This is esp e c i a l l y ob- vious i n the case of judgements involving such terms as "balanced", "unbalanced", "coherent", " d i f f u s e " , and " u n i f i e d " . And again, i f this seems mysterious or paradoxical, i t i s at least no more so than i s the case of the duck-rabbit, where noticing the rabbit aspect both brings into prominence, and con- sists (in part) in seeing as prominent an otherwise i n s i g n i f i c a n t spot on the back of the duck's head. Whatever the strength and instructiveness of the seeing-as analogy in this regard, i t is equally important to see where the analogy f a i l s . I want now to expose a point of disanalogy between matters of aesthetic judgement and matters of aspect-perception by considering the phenomenon of aspect-change. I now see the figure as a duck. But I can s t i l l , with a l i t t l e e f f o r t , see the rabbit. I can look 35 fo r the other reading. Most important, there i s another reading to look f o r . I w i l l suggest that t h i s i s not always so w i t h a e s t h e t i c judgements. Let us note two important features of the duck- r a b b i t case: i ) There i s an exclusive disjunction of a l t e r n a t i v e readings of the f i g u r e . The f i g u r e can be seen e i t h e r as a duck or as a r a b b i t , but not both. Simultaneous grasp of both aspects i s an i m p o s s i b i l i t y . To recognize a f i g u r e as a duck-rabbit i s , of course, not to grasp both duck and r a b b i t aspects i n an i n s t a n t ; i t i s rather to recognize that i t i s true of that f i g u r e that i t can be seen e i t h e r as a duck or as a r a b b i t , but not both. i i ) Each d i s j u n c t persists. That i s , n e i t h e r the duck nor the r a b b i t i s i n any immediate or s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d way p r e f e r a b l e to the other as a reading of the f i g u r e . Or, to put i t another way, one can go from duck to r a b b i t w i t h equal ease as from r a b b i t to duck. Now there may be cases from time to time i n a r t c r i t i c i s m where both of the above features appear to be present. For i n s t a n c e , there may be cases where a p l u r a l i t y of a l t e r n a t i v e a e s t h e t i c judgements of a given work of a r t are e q u a l l y f i t t i n g , each "supportable" by the s p e c i f i c a t i o n f o r each of a p a r t i c u l a r p a t t e r n of c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n , a 36 p a r t i c u l a r p a t t e r n of stresses and emphases on nonaesthetic features which seem to emerge f o r each as c r u c i a l . Thus we get the i n t e r e s t i n g s o r t of dispute which can sometimes occur between recognized c r i t i c a l a u t h o r i t i e s , where each can see what i t i s the other i s t a l k i n g about, where each can understand or "appreciate" the other's a e s t h e t i c "per- s p e c t i v e " , and where each " a e s t h e t i c reading" seems to per- . + 35 s i s t . But t h i s i s not always so, and i t i s due, I suggest, when i t does occur, to a p e c u l i a r i t y you have sometimes w i t h works of a r t , j u s t as you have i t sometimes w i t h l i n e drawings: a s o r t of i n - b u i l t ambiguity. That o c c a s i o n a l l y we have a s i t u a t i o n i n a r t c r i t i c i s m such as the above i s not the mani- f e s t a t i o n of some part of the nature of a e s t h e t i c judgements', i t i s not an element of their l o g i c . This might e a s i l y be true even i f a l l the objects of a e s t h e t i c judgement were s y s t e m a t i c a l l y ambiguous, but anyway they're not. Some fi g u r e s ,have aspects: the duck-rabbit does; the f i g u r e below does, And yet there is even a difference here. Each of the dis- puting c r i t i c s can grasp the other's c r i t i c a l position without having to abandon his own. But in order to see the duck, you have to give up the rabbit. 37 but some do not. Likewise, some objects of aesthetic judge- ment, some works of art, for instance, w i l l support art- c r i t i c a l disagreement of the above sort, and so may be said to have "aesthetic aspects", but many w i l l not. Then too, there seem to be features of some of our art-related experience that make a seeing-as analysis of aesthetic judgement awkward. Suppose someone has come to see that a p a r t i c u l a r work of art is u n i f i e d and t i g h t l y - k n i t , where he had previously judged i t to be diffuse and chaotic. Kivy discusses a hypothetical case in which some- one l i s t e n i n g to Weber's Invitation to the Dance is t o l d [T]his is not merely a string of waltzes. It is a rondo in which one of the waltzes recurs, setting up a pattern of repitition. . . Further, the work is introduced by a seemingly diffuse section, which however, has a definite program. . . And i t ends with a coda, also programatic, which utilizes the same thematic material as the intro- duction. upon which he comes to see that the piece is u n i f i e d . In many cases of this sort there is no turning back, no looking for the previous reading. There is about such a change a sense of progress, enrichment, or improvement, which derives from the attainment of a plateau, and the a c q u i s i t i o n of hindsight. From the new vantage point one sees that his Peter Kivy, Speaking of Art, (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), p. 90. 38 former position no longer l i v e s as a seriously tenable op- tion. So, where aspect-change is e s s e n t i a l l y and neces-r s a r i l y r e v e r s i b l e , many cases of s h i f t s with respect to aesthetic judgement are one-;directional and i r r e v e r s i b l e , and hence "progressive". Harold Osborne makes a similar-sounding point con^ cerning what he claims as an essential feature of art appre- c i a t i o n generally: When we look at an ambiguous drawing which may be seen either as a duck or a rabbit, both perceptual objects are at the same level of complexity. . . Neither object is a development or enrichment of the other and the process is reversible. In appreciation, on the contrary, the aes-r thetic object which is actualized is an object of a dif- ferent category. It will be better articulated, more fully determinate and more unified than that which pre- ceeded i t . . . And the process is irreversible; once the aesthetic object is actualized there is no switching back. It i s in virtue of this sense of progress perhaps, in this sense of "progress", that we distinguish between the sophisticated and the naive, as well as between the insight- f u l and the misguided, i n c r i t i c i s m . In addition, the sense of progress about aesthetic judgements hints that there might be an honest ( i . e . not "metaphorical") analogue for 7 O aesthetic judgements of the really-is/only-seems dichotomy. Harold Osborne, The Art of Appreciation, (London: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 174-175 ,my emphasis. See Hungerland, "The Logic of Aesthetic Concepts," p. 602, references to this article are to its reprinting in Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, ed. Tillman and Cahn; and see below Chapter III. 39 N o t e a l i k e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n c o m i n g t o s e e t h e d u c k a s p e c t and c o m i n g t o s e e t h a t c e r t a i n r e l a t i o n s o b t a i n . What i s i n v o l v e d i n c o m i n g t o s e e t h a t t h e two f i g u r e s b e l o w a r e c o n g r u e n t ? H e r e i s one t h i n g a b o u t c o m i n g t o s e e t h e c o n g r u e n c y : o n c e s e e n , t h e c o n g r u e n c y c a n ' t be made t o d i s a p p e a r , l i k e t h e r a b b i t c a n . M i s s i n g t h e c o n g r u e n c y , o r f o r g e t t i n g a b o u t i t on an o c c a s i o n , t h e s e a r e n o t t h e same a s m a k i n g i t d i s a p p e a r . To make t h e r a b b i t d i s a p p e a r y o u l o o k f o r t h e d u c k . What w o u l d one l o o k f o r i n o r d e r t o make t h e c o n g r u e n c y d i s a p p e a r ? I n c o n g r u e n c y ? I t i s j u s t as s i l l y t o t h i n k o f b e a t i n g a r e t r e a t f r o m o n e ' s own c r i t i c a l s o p h i s t i c a t i o n . H e r e t h e n i s a c r u c i a l p o i n t a t w h i c h t h e a n a l y s e s o f a s p e c t - p e r c e p t i o n o r s e e i n g - a s and o f a e s t h e t i c j u d g e m e n t and s e n s i t i v i t y must d i v e r g e . The p e r s i s t e n c e o f e x c l u s i v e l y d i s j o i n e d r e a d i n g s , w h i c h i s o f t h e e s s e n c e o f phenomena a s s o c i a t e d w i t h f i g u r e s l i k e t h e d u c k - r a b b i t , i s n o t i n t h e same way t o l e r a b l e i n many c e n t r a l and r e l a t i v e l y s i m p l e c a s e s o f t h e e x e r c i s e o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , I w i l l h a v e 40 o c c a s i o n t o a p p l y t h i s r e s u l t i n t h e n e x t c h a p t 41 CHAPTER III In her attempt to c l a r i f y the aesthetic/nonaesthetic d i s t i n c t i o n , Isabel Hungerland takes the view that expressions of aesthetic judgement l i e between statements l i k e "I am in pain" and such expressions of nonaesthetic judgement as "The book is red." They are distinguished from the former in that they, l i k e the l a t t e r , concern features which are ex- perienced as phenomenally objective, ( i . e . experienced as "out there" rather than " i n here"). But they are d i s t i n - guished from the l a t t e r by being, l i k e the former, not " l o g i - c a l l y objective". They have not, i n Hungerland's words, got the " l o g i c a l force of claims", since they are not subject to 39 "intersubjective v e r i f i c a t i o n " . I w i l l return to consider some of Hungerland's claims s p e c i f i c a l l y at the end of t h i s chapter, but i t i s convenient for me f i r s t to approach the issue about the " l o g i c a l o b j e c t i v i t y " (hereafter " o b j e c t i v i t y " ) of aesthetic judgement by outlining and c r i t i c i z i n g one major po s i t i o n with respect to i t . In so doing, I hope ad d i t i o n a l l y i) to t i e up some loose ends l e f t in Chapter I, and i i ) to develop a strategy for the continuation of the inquiry into the nature of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . 39 Hungerland, "Once Again, Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic," p. 107, references to this article are to its reprinting in Aesthetics, ed. Osborne. 42 I have often overheard and more often p a r t i c i p a t e d i n sometimes heated debates over works of art. Debate often con- cerns the merits of a work of art, say whether a work i s good or great. But just as often, the controversy concerns another sort of remark. For instance, we might wonder whether a par- t i c u l a r passage of music is imposing, towering, or majestic; we might dispute whether certain shapes or lines are b r i t t l e , f r a g i l e , or delicate. In these l a t t e r cases i t is an aes- 40 thetic judgement that is the focus of discussion. An aes- thetic judgement i s challenged, and, i f not given up, becomes controversial. But quite frequently there i s a s h i f t , and the controversy, which began as an aesthetic or c r i t i c a l one, is either transformed into or replaced by a philosophical one. Parties whose concern at the beginning of an aesthetic contro- versy i s over what the resolution to i t w i l l be, f i n d them- selves l a t e r embroiled over whether the controversy is of a sort that i s to be resolved at a l l . A position which I w i l l c a l l "aesthetic r e l a t i v i s m " , and abbreviate " r e l a t i v i s m " arises. At f i r s t the position Sibley characterizes this difference as one between purely evaluative remarks, which he calls "verdicts", and aesthetic judgements, which are at least not purely evaluative. (See "Aesthetic Concepts,".p.' 68n.;. and "Aesthetic" and Nonaesthetic," p. 136.) Perhaps the intrusion of the fact/value distinction at this point is misleading and unneces- sary. See Alan Tormey, "Critical Judgements," Theoria, 39 (1973), esp. pp. 46-49. 43 may appear to be a n o n - p o s i t i o n . The r e l a t i v i s t i n i t i a l l y issues a challenge to produce the r a t i o n a l bases of c r i t i c i s m , the d e c i s i o n procedures whereby c r i t i c a l disputes may be s e t t l e d . So the r e l a t i v i s t may appear to be doing no more than asking , "But i s t h i s not simply a d i f f e r e n c e of opinion? What would s e t t l e such an argument anyway?" But the r e l a - t i v i s t challenge i s r a r e l y e n t i r e l y innocent. More often i t i s r h e t o r i c a l . I t i n v i t e s us to consider the p o s s i b i l i t y that no d e c i s i o n procedures are forthcoming to s e t t l e contro- v e r s i e s i n a r t c r i t i c i s m , such matters being e s s e n t i a l l y i r r e s o l u b l e . I m p l i c i t i n much r e l a t i v i s t r h e t o r i c i s the view that a remark l i k e "The waltz i s l i l t i n g " i s not a c l a i m . I t s l o g i c a l force i s d i f f e r e n t from that of "The book i s red." We are deceived (by the grammar?) i n t o t h i n k i n g that we contra^ d i e t one another about the w a l t z , when, i n a c t u a l i t y , issues of t h i s s o r t , about w a l t z e s , concern matters of o p i n i o n , not matters of f a c t , and i n any case, matters not to be s e t t l e d by r a t i o n a l debate. So l e t us admit to a d i f f e r e n c e of o p i n i o n ; l e t us agree to disagree, and q u i c k l y pass on to more promising t o p i c s . This i s roughly the view of Hungerland (though she does th i n k that some r e l a t i v e l y large measure of c r i t i c a l agreement can be expected w i t h i n a given c u l t u r a l c o t e r i e ) , and she i s not unique i n s u b s c r i b i n g to i t ; the view i s a l - 44 most vulgar. The r e l a t i v i s t p o s i t i o n (taken by Hungerland and others) i s a r e g i o n a l one (though i t might have been other- w i s e ) . That i s , i t i s based on a contrast between s o - c a l l e d matters of opinion and matters of f a c t . I t i s assumed by the a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s t that there are c o n t r o v e r s i e s which are amenable to f i n a l settlement, but that a e s t h e t i c contro- v e r s i e s are not among those. I have already taken note of one of the important consequences of a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m . A e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m provides an apparent ground f o r a challenge against the a u t h o r i t y or e x p e r t i s e of the s o - c a l l e d a e s t h e t i c a l l y sen- s i t i v e observer, a challenge against the d i s t i n c t i o n between the c r i t i c and the p e d e s t r i a n , and against the not i o n that some of us are b e t t e r than others at viewing and d i s c u s s i n g works of a r t . The e f f e c t of a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m i f i t can be maintained, i s to reduce the c r i t i c ' s proclamations to the rank of mere expressions of o p i n i o n , thereby p u t t i n g him on the same f o o t i n g as the p e d e s t r i a n ; t a l k i n g ( l i s t e n i n g ) to the c r i t i c is.'no "better than t a l k i n g ( l i s t e n i n g ) to one- s e l f . The core of the p h i l o s o p h i c a l i s s u e , of which aes- t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m i s one s i d e , and so the core of the concept " o b j e c t i v i t y " i n t h i s connection, concerns the r e s o l u b i l i t y 45 of controversy. I s h a l l continue to use " o b j e c t i v i t y " and i t s r e l a t i v e s to i n d i c a t e what the r e l a t i v i s t denies about a e s t h e t i c judgements: the r e s o l u b i l i t y of controversy. There i s a danger of misunderstanding here since two d i s t i n c t things might be understood by "The controversy i s r e s o l v e d . " One might say a controversy had been resolved where the p a r t i e s to i t have ceased debating and reached agreement. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , one would say a controversy had been resolved where i t had been e s t a b l i s h e d which among the c o n t r o v e r s i a l p o s i t i o n s was r i g h t and which wrong. The d i f - ference between these two i s e s s e n t i a l l y s i m i l a r to that between persuasion and proof. I may prove a p o i n t without thereby or at the same time persuading you; on the other hand, i f I am a c l e v e r s o p h i s t , I may persuade you, and yet f a i l to give proof. When I t i e o b j e c t i v i t y to the r e s o l u - b i l i t y of controversy, I s h a l l be concerned w i t h proof, not persuasion. I s h a l l now attempt to persuade, i f not to prove, that the t h e s i s against a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y i s too f i r m and f i n a l to be tenable. It i s easy to understand how i t i s that a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m i s so r e a d i l y o f f e r e d and so w e l l r e c e i v e d . Though the grammatical s i m i l a r i t i e s between expressions of a e s t h e t i c judgement and some paradigms of o b j e c t i v e expressions 46 are quite obvious, the notion that the logic of "The waltz is l i l t i n g " d i f f e r s from that of "The book is red" comes a l i v e as soon as attention i s drawn to the amount of long-lived and supposedly unresolved disagreement that attends judge- ments of the f i r s t type i n p a r t i c u l a r , that i s , when i t is pointed out that debate concerning aesthetic disagreements has proven so inconclusive and c r i t i c a l accord so elusive. However, while persistent disagreement i s indeed a notable feature of the aesthetic s i t u a t i o n , a feature that needs both to be taken into account and accounted for, i t is not enough by i t s e l f to secure the r e l a t i v i s t conclusion. It i s one thing to show that c e r t a i n matters are not agreed on; i t i s much more d i f f i c u l t to show such matters to be i r - resoluble. It c e r t a i n l y doesn't follow from some c r i t i c a l issue's remaining controversial, even over ages, that i t remains so of necessity. So re l a t i v i s m , which is eas i l y motivated, is not so e a s i l y established. In fact, with only this much offered in support of i t , the r e l a t i v i s t ' s posi- tion seems to be a mere expression of despair, and premature despair at that. If aesthetic r e l a t i v i s m is to be adequately defended, i t f i r s t needs to be c l a r i f i e d considerably. In p a r t i c u l a r , the requisites of r e s o l u b i l i t y need to be f i l l e d i n , and this i s no small order. Indeed, I suspect, though I can't prove, 47 that i t cannot be f i l l e d . Since the r e l a t i v i s t is concerned to r e s t r i c t the range of the objective by excluding from i t matters that have to do with aesthetic judgement, he i s re- quired to specify tests, p a r t i c u l a r l y the necessary condi- tions, for o b j e c t i v i t y . He w i l l want tests that aesthetic judgement f a i l s . I suspect that he w i l l find i t d i f f i c u l t to specify such tests as these which do not in addition vio- late certain of our i n t u i t i o n s about o b j e c t i v i t y . I know of no way to specify the necessary conditions for r e s o l u b i l i t y such as w i l l include the i n t u i t i v e l y obvious cases of s e t t l a b l e issues and yet f i l l the r e s t r i c t i v e needs of the r e l a t i v i s t . But u n t i l the necessary conditions are s p e c i f i e d in d e t a i l , i t is not e n t i r e l y clear what is meant by denying that aes- thetic controversy i s resoluble. Let us see how the r e l a t i v i s t might proceed toward a s p e c i f i c a t i o n of the necessary conditions for o b j e c t i v i t y . He might begin with the (ultimately empty) truism that a controversy i s resoluble i f and only i f there i s at least one way to resolve i t . Suppose there i s an analytic con- nection between o b j e c t i v i t y ( r e s o l u b i l i t y ) and decision pro- cedures (ways of resolving c o n t r o v e r s i e s ) . 4 1 From this The connection might be synthetic; i t might be the case that the availability of a decision procedure is just the best evidence for the objectivity of a kind of judgement. Little is lost however in allowing the assumption of an analytic connection. 48 follows the beginning, but only the beginning, of a t e s t f o r o b j e c t i v i t y : a controversy i s not r e s o l u b l e i f there i s no way to resolve i t . There must be some e s t a b l i s h e d or discoverable d e c i s i o n procedure f o r a given issue or i t remains up f o r grabs. For a range of judgements there must be e s t a b l i s h e d or discoverable procedures f o r dec i d i n g among r i v a l judgements which i s r i g h t and which wrong, i f the judgements i n that range are to be regarded as o b j e c t i v e . The questions are then, what w i l l count as a d e c i s i o n pro- cedure? and when can we conclude that there are none? At t h i s p o i n t the r e l a t i v i s t ' s p o s i t i o n may come unstuck! Let me i l l u s t r a t e what I take to be the r e l a t i v i s t ' s d i f f i c u l t y w i t h the f o l l o w i n g example. The f i r s t mate says the m a i n s a i l ' s rigged. I say i t ' s not. How do we s e t t l e t h i s dispute? There i s a c l e a r and rigorous means to go about checking whether or not the m a i n s a i l i s i n f a c t rigged. I check that the halyard i s both knotted at the head of the s a i l , and securely c l e a t e d to the mast, that the l u f f i s pr o p e r l y threaded i n t o the s l o t , that the mainsheet i s prop e r l y threaded through blocks and safety knotted. I check the tension at the o u t h a l l , the downhall, the i n h a l l , and so on. I f a l l the c o n d i t i o n s on my l i s t are f u l f i l l e d , then the s a i l i s ri g g e d ; i f one batten i s l e f t out of pl a c e , or one l i n e l e f t unsecured, 49 then i t ' s not rigged. What i t means quite simply for the s a i l to be "rigged" is for a l l the conditions on such a l i s t to be met. Here we have an example of a decision procedure, one that i s in fact used to s e t t l e a certain sort of question or dispute. W i l l this example serve the needs of the r e l a - t i v i s t ? At f i r s t glance, the r e l a t i v i s t p o sition for aes- thetics seems to gain force through this example, for this sort of checklist-and-inference procedure does seem to be lacking for aesthetic judgements. There i s no set of non- aesthetic features such that their presence in a work of art either l o g i c a l l y guarantees or i s l o g i c a l l y required for any p a r t i c u l a r aesthetic judgement about that work of art. There are no canons of c r i t i c i s m in that sense. The fact that some c r i t i c s have mistakenly supposed themselves to be employing or formulating or d i s t i l l i n g the canons of c r i t i c i s m serves apparently to bolster the r e l a t i v i s t posi- tion. C r i t i c s (and philosophers) who have supposed this have been, after a l l , mistaken. 4 2 Yet on closer inspection, this example yields a c r i t e r i o n for r e s o l u b i l i t y too r e s t r i c t i v e even for the r e l a t i v i s t . While admittedly no such checklist-and-infer- ence procedure is available for aesthetic judgements, no 42 Just why they have supposed this, and why they are mistaken are interesting matters, but ones I will not take up in detail here. 50 such c h e c k l i s t - a n d - i n f e r e n c e procedure i s a v a i l a b l e f o r c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n ( for example) e i t h e r . I know how to check and vprove that the s a i l i s r i g g e d ; how do I go about proving that the s a i l i s w h i t e ? 4 3 The same goes f o r other s o - c a l l e d secondary q u a l i - t i e s . One cannot go about checking, i n ways s t r i c t l y ana- logous to my dockside procedure, whether or not the meat i s s a l t y , while one can so check whether i t has s p o i l e d , or whether there i s s a l t i n i t . In s h o r t , i f the r e l a t i v i s t ' s p o s i t i o n i s f i l l e d out i n terms of the above example, then i t extends, not only to a e s t h e t i c judgement, but also to c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n and other supposed paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y , where someone w i t h a r e g i o n a l r e l a t i v i s m might be expected to balk. Nor i s the r e l a t i v i s t ' s t r o u b l e here owing simply to my choice of a sample d e c i s i o n procedure. My sample was not chosen at random, but n e i t h e r was i t chosen m a l i c i o u s l y . My str a t e g y here i s designed to poi n t up the f a c t that the s e l e c - t i o n of some paradigm or other of o b j e c t i v i t y cannot serve as a basis f o r d i s q u a l i f y i n g any candidate f o r o b j e c t i v i t y . Nor 4 3 Here my challenge to produce decision procedures for colors is entirely innocent. I do not mean that color decision procedures are not available. But they do need to be spelled out. Chapter IV below i s devoted to the task of spelling them out. 51 can a simple survey of any f i n i t e number of such paradigms so serve. And yet, in almost every r e l a t i v i s t i c discussion of the matter that I have seen, the r e l a t i v i s t ' s argument proceeds by selecting, as I have done, some paradigm or other of o b j e c t i v i t y , but then by treating the paradigm more or less as the basis for a c r i t e r i o n of o b j e c t i v i t y , such that departure from the paradigm d i s q u a l i f i e s a candidate from the realm of the objective. Note here how much tougher is the lot of the r e l a - t i v i s t than i s that of his opponent, the o b j e c t i v i s t . The aesthetic o b j e c t i v i s t needs only to specify a s u f f i c i e n t condition for r e s o l u b i l i t y , and show aesthetic judgement to meet i t , in order to secure his case; so paradigms, of which there are a f a i r number, can figure prominently i n the objec- t i v i s t ' s arsenal. Different sorts of controversy, after a l l , are to be settled i n d i f f e r e n t sorts of ways. This i s u l - timately how the notion of o b j e c t i v i t y must be handled, I believe. Since the range of objective matters is wide and s various, decision procedures relevant to certain matters w i l l not decide certain others, and yet those matters may a l l be objective enough. Think of such various tests or decision procedures as the litmus test, comparison with a standard, counting, deduction, induction. The l i s t i s c e r t a i n l y not complete; but why should we even think i t completable? The r e l a t i v i s t , however, as soon as he has f u l l y s p e c i f i e d what 52 c o n d i t i o n ( o r f i n i t e , d i s j u n c t i v e s e t o f c o n d i t i o n s ) i t i s t h a t a e s t h e t i c j u d g e m e n t , i n h i s v i e w , f a i l s t o m e e t , i s s a d d l e d w i t h t h e more g e n e r a l p r o b l e m o f s q u a r i n g t h e n o t i o n o f o b j e c t i v i t y w i t h t h e l a c k o f d e c i s i o n p r o c e d u r e s o f some k i n d , o r s e t o f k i n d s , f o r some p e r f e c t l y l i k e l y c a n d i d a t e s f o r o b j e c t i v i t y . S p e c i f y i n g t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r o b j e c t i v i t y i n t e r m s o f t h e a b o v e o r any o t h e r l i m i t e d a r r a y o f s a m p l e d e c i s i o n p r o c e d u r e s i n v i t e s a t l e a s t t h e P l a t o n i c r e s p o n s e , "What a r e o f f e r e d a r e e x a m p l e s , now g i v e t h e e s s e n c e " , and f i n a l l y p e r h a p s t h e W i t t g e n s t i n i a n c r i t i q u e o f t h e e n t e r - p r i s e o f s e a r c h i n g f o r a f i n i t e s e t o f d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s - t i c s . The p r o b l e m f o r t h e r e l a t i v i s t i s s i m p l y t h i s : W h i l e t h e r e l a t i v i s t ' s i n t e n d e d c o n c l u s i o n r e q u i r e s t h a t " o b j e c - t i v i t y " be t r e a t e d a s s a c l o s e d c o n c e p t , i t m i g h t w e l l be an o p e n o n e . I c a n n o t t a k e t h e p o s i t i o n t h a t " o b j e c t i v i t y " is an o p e n c o n c e p t , o r t h a t a l i s t o f p o s s i b l e t y p e s o f d e c i s i o n p r o c e d u r e c a n n o t be c o m p l e t e d . I h a v e no a r g u m e n t f o r t h a t p o s i t i o n . In f a c t , I s u s p e c t t h a t t h a t p o s i t i o n , l i k e a e s - t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m , i s t o o f i r m and f i n a l t o be t e n a b l e . I f I c a n n o t show " o b j e c t i v i t y " t o be an o p e n c o n c e p t , t h e n p e r - h a p s I c a n n o t show t h a t a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m i s t o o f i r m and f i n a l t o be t e n a b l e . But I c a n a t l e a s t hope t o p e r s u a d e t h a t i t i s . I t i s c o n c e i v a b l e , t h o u g h u n l i k e l y , t h a t some- one m i g h t p r o d u c e an e x h a u s t i v e l i s t o f t y p e s o f d e c i s i o n 53 procedure, which could then serve to close the concept "ob- j e c t i v i t y " . But no such compendium has yet been produced, and c e r t a i n l y not by aesthetic r e l a t i v i s t s . I countenance the position that " o b j e c t i v i t y " is an open concept p a r t l y to dramatize the s u p e r f i c i a l i t y of our understanding of objec- t i v i t y , and to caution against the premature assumption that a l l decision procedures are of a piece. My f l i r t a t i o n with the notion of an open concept in this connection is meant to in v i t e a deeper inquiry into the notion of o b j e c t i v i t y than has been made on behalf of aesthetic relat i v i s m . On the other hand, where d e f e n s i b i l i t y (as opposed to te n a b i l i t y ) i s concerned, i t is enough of an embarrassment to rel a t i v i s m to note that, since we can never be sure of a given l i s t of decision procedures that i t is exhaustive, the concept might be open. But as long as the concept might be open, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see how the r e l a t i v i s t can defend his p o s i t i o n . This ought to prompt the a l t e r a t i o n , i f not the abandonment, of re l a t i v i s m , even as an hypothesis. Let us see how the r e l a t i v i s t might try to obviate these d i f f i - c u l t i e s . A f i r s t move might be to resign to a very pervasive re l a t i v i s m on which many sorts of judgement, among them aes- thetic judgement and color a t t r i b u t i o n , f a i l the test for ob j e c t i v i t y . Here i t would be taken that the establishment 54 or discovery of decision procedures i s c e n t r a l l y bound up with the notion of o b j e c t i v i t y , and further concluded that there can be no decision procedures relevant to the sorts of judgement in question. To say that the f i r s t strategy involves an extensive r e l a t i v i s m , and that i t results i n the abandonment of some of the supposed paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y , i s to say enough against i t already. By such a move the r e l a t i v i s t is able to buy consistency, but at the exhorbitant cost of a l l p l a u s i - b i l i t y . . I am not here offering a. variant of the so-called Paradigm Case Argument. The fact that color a t t r i b u t i o n is almost surely objective does not cinch the case against general r e l a t i v i s m . What i t does do i s to make i t necessary for the r e l a t i v i s t to bring strong arguments i n support of his case, or f a i l i n g that, to retreat into a less r a d i c a l and more tentative position. In taking the heroic l i n e against paradigms, the r e l a t i v i s t assumes a substantial burden of proof, which he can only s h i f t by tempering his position. Furthermore, the conclusion that there can be no decision procedures relevant to the sorts of judgement in question i s premature and ill-founded i f i t i s based, as i t seems to be in the case of aesthetic r e l a t i v i s m , on an insuf- f i c i e n t l y deep analysis of " o b j e c t i v i t y " . That i s to say, 55 even i f the consistency of the r e l a t i v i s t ' s p o s i t i o n i s purchased at t h i s point by denying o b j e c t i v i t y to c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , the fundamental weakness of the p o s i t i o n r e- mains i n i t s r e f u s a l to search f o r and consider a l t e r n a t i v e v a r i e t i e s of d e c i s i o n procedure. A second move would be to attempt to p u l l objec- t i v i t y apart from d e c i s i o n procedures, and to say, i n e f f e c t , that o b j e c t i v i t y i s p o s s i b l e even where there can be no d e c i s i o n procedures. A c a r e l e s s r e l a t i v i s t might see t h i s as a way out, t h i n k i n g that the d i f f i c u l t y i n r e c o n c i l i n g the n o t i o n of o b j e c t i v i t y w i t h the lack of d e c i s i o n proce- dures f o r some paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y would be overcome, i f o b j e c t i v i t y d i d not re q u i r e d e c i s i o n procedures. Such a move, however, undercuts the very bas i s on which the r e l a t i v i s t grounds h i s attack on the o b j e c t i v i t y of a e s t h e t i c judgement. Indeed, i t amounts to a departure from the p h i l o s o p h i c a l issue w i t h which we began, and so too, the abandonment, or at l e a s t the a l t e r a t i o n , of r e l a - t i v i s m . Let us keep i n mind the o r i g i n s of the p o s i t i o n I"ve c a l l e d r e l a t i v i s m . R e l a t i v i s m a r i s e s s p e c i f i c a l l y out of, and i s a r e a c t i o n t o , f r u s t r a t i o n at the p e r s i s t e n c e of ae s t h e t i c disagreement. The r e l a t i v i s t ' s a ttack on the en- t e r p r i s e of a e s t h e t i c debate p o l a r i z e s some p a r t i e s to such debate, who come to the defense of the a c t i v i t y i n which they are, and wish to remain, engaged; thus i t generates a 56 philosophical issue. But the issue c l e a r l y concerns the r e s o l u b i l i t y of controversy and the p o s s i b i l i t y of proofs in aesthetics; the r e l a t i v i s t ' s contribution to the issue is p recisely the i n a r t i c u l a t e demand for proofs and decision procedures in aesthetics. When i t i s suggested that deci- sion procedures are no easier to fi n d for color a t t r i b u t i o n than they are for aesthetic judgements, i t i s not open for the r e l a t i v i s t to simply soften or withdraw the demand in the case of color a t t r i b u t i o n , unless he i s prepared to s i m i l a r l y soften or withdraw the demand in aesthetics, or unless he can show the two to be relevantly d i f f e r e n t . In this chapter I have so far maintained that the r e l a t i v i s t ' s thesis that decision procedures are not forth- coming i n aesthetics i s premature. I argued also that the r e l a t i v i s t ' s major contention would require a kind of support which would be quite d i f f i c u l t to provide, and which the o b j e c t i v i s t ' s major contention would not require. I have also mentioned a d i f f i c u l t y for the r e l a t i v i s t from which the o b j e c t i v i s t can take p o s i t i v e encouragement: the fact that the r e l a t i v i s t ' s epistemological challenge applies out- side the region of aesthetics, and indeed to some of those very paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y against which aesthetic judge- ment i s thought to be contrastable. I w i l l have more to say about this shortly. I want f i r s t to dispose of a possible 57 objection on the r e l a t i v i s t ' s behalf to what I have so far done in this chapter. I have represented the r e l a t i v i s t as having a more burdensome thesis to defend than does the o b j e c t i v i s t , and i t might be claimed, quite the contrary, that the r e l a t i v i s t has much less to defend than the o b j e c t i v i s t . It i s not uncommon for r e l a t i v i s t s to represent the o b j e c t i v i s t thesis in aesthetics as involving a substantial ontological commit- ment to "aesthetic properties". The r e l a t i v i s t might read the o b j e c t i v i s t as claiming: Aesthetic .^judgements -are .obj ective, even though there are no c r i t e r i a for them, because of the aesthetic properties of things. Works of art have aesthetic properties, just as they have non-aesthetic properties. But an object has what- ever aesthetic properties (and non-aesthetic properties) i t has regardless of what you or I or anyone else would say or think about the matter. Now i f you want to t e l l whether the work is graceful you just do the same as you would do i f you wanted to t e l l whether the book i s red: you look. You need to look because there are no conditions governing aesthetic concepts. But you must in addition use your aesthetic sensi- t i v i t y , because of the special aesthetic nature of the pro- perties, which though they are l i k e colors, i n ithat they are there to be perceived, they are not, l i k e colors, accessible 58 simply through the normal channels. The o b j e c t i v i s t i s presumed to have a s u b s t a n t i a l o n t o l o g i c a l commitment owing to h i s c o n v i c t i o n that aes- t h e t i c judgement i s o b j e c t i v e , while the r e l a t i v i s t , dubious about any o n t o l o g i c a l m u l t i p l i c a t i o n , argues on that basis against a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y . 4 5 Thus the r e l a t i v i s t would see h i s own burden of proof as rather s l i g h t by comparison with that of the o b j e c t i v i s t . I maintain, against t h i s , that the o b j e c t i v i s t can defend the o b j e c t i v i t y of a e s t h e t i c judgement without commit- t i n g h i m s e l f to anything which would be an o n t o l o g i c a l e x t r a - vagance . In connection with kinds of judgement claimed as ob- j e c t i v e , we may wish to i n d i c a t e that the features we judge things to have enjoy a kind of experience-independence. We want to be able to countenance cases of a person's experience being out of tune w i t h what i s the case. One way to do t h i s i s to invoke property l o c u t i o n s . But the i n v o c a t i o n of pro- perty l o c u t i o n s does not, i n and of i t s e l f , imply an extrava- gant ontology, f o r there are a number of senses of "experience- independence" . 44 Something li k e this i s involved in much of the off-hand criticism of Sibley as an intuitionist. 45 See Broiles;;and Margolis, "Sibley on Aesthetic Perception." 59 In the weakest sense, experience-independence amounts just to the p o s s i b i l i t y of countenancing cases of a person's experience being out of tune with what is the case. Colors have at least this sort of experience-independence. The visual experiences of col o r - b l i n d people are f a i r l y regu- l a r l y at variance with what is the case, and even a f u l l y color-sighted person may for instance have a phenomenally red vi s u a l experience when what he i s looking at is in fact green. The primary q u a l i t i e s might be said to be experience- independent in a somewhat stronger sense in respect of which they would be distinguished from the secondary q u a l i t i e s l i k e colors. F i n a l l y , a feature might be said to be experience- independent in a t h i r d and s t i l l stronger sense, where things which have such features have them regardless of a l l actual 46 or possible experiences of observers. It is only in this l a s t sense of "experience-independence" that one c l e a r l y runs a r i s k of ontological i n f l a t i o n . The relevant difference between properties which have experience independence in the Someone might hold that i t is just possession of this very strong kind of experience-independence that distinguishes the primary from the secondary qualities. But holding this, one is likely to beg a crucial question against phenomenalism and idealism. 60 former two senses and properties which have this very strong kind of experience-independence i s that the former w i l l , but the l a t t e r w i l l not, admit of certain sorts of metaphysical reduction. For instance, i t is l o g i c a l l y possible to reduce a l l talk of properties, with experience-independence of either of the f i r s t two kinds, to statements about the actual or possible experiences of observers; but talk of properties with strong experience-independence i s incompatible with any such analysis. Therefore, the former sorts of properties are at least p o t e n t i a l l y less of an ontological burden than are properties with strong experience - independence. Put b r i e f l y , talk,of properties, where what is implied is strong experience-independence, necessarily involves a commitment to ontological realism with respect to those properties, but talk of properties, where either of the two weaker sorts of experience - independence i s implied, need involve no such com- mitment. (Thus for instance, Thomas Reid i s a r e a l i s t with respect to a l l sensible properties, where Locke adopts realism with respect to primary, but not secondary q u a l i t i e s . 4 7 ) The point with reference to aesthetics i s t h i s : while both the i n t u i t i o n i s t and RP accounts of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y discussed in Chapter I arguably involve commitments to onto- See eg. Peter Kivy, Thomas Reid's Lectures on the Fine Arts, (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), pp,4-8. 61 l o g i c a l r e a l i s m , one can be an a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s t , and f u r t h e r one can express one's a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s m i n terms of a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , without being committed to the onto- l o g i c a l r e a l i s m of those p r o p e r t i e s . Thus, i f one takes the p o s i t i o n of the o b j e c t i v i s t , but not that of the r e a l i s t , one's burden of proof i s considerably smaller than that of the r e l a t i v i s t . E a r l i e r I suggest that the o b j e c t i v i s t may take en- couragement from the f a c t that the r e l a t i v i s t ' s e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l challenge a p p l i e s as w e l l to c e r t a i n supposed paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y (eg. to c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n ) as i t does to a e s t h e t i c judgement. A s u r p r i s i n g number of both o b j e c t i v i s t s and r e l a - t i v i s t s have overlooked the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the g e n e r a l i z a - b i l i t y to which r e l a t i v i s m i s l i a b l e . One way to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s oversight i s to consider the way i n which S i b l e y ' s t h e s i s about governing co n d i t i o n s f o r a e s t h e t i c concepts has been handled. S i b l e y argues to the e f f e c t that there are no con^ d i t i o n s governing the a p p l i c a t i o n of a e s t h e t i c terms. There are those who would c l a i m that i n view of these arguments, S i b l e y ' s commitment to the o b j e c t i v i t y of a e s t h e t i c judge- ment commits him also to the existence of c e r t a i n b i t s of n o n - i n f e r e n t i a l knowledge, and so to an i n t u i t i o n i s m . And there are those who claim or imply that S i b l e y ' s t h e s i s about 62 governing c o n d i t i o n s i s incompatible w i t h the view that aes- t h e t i c judgement i s o b j e c t i v e . The reasons f o r making such claims are f a i r l y p l a i n ; they are also q u i t e p l a i n l y i n s u f - f i c i e n t . Theorists of c r i t i c i s m have f i x e d too f i r m l y on the "reasons" which c r i t i c s give why a p a r t i c u l a r work of a r t i s , f o r example, g r a c e f u l , the assumption being that the reasoning of c r i t i c i s m i s to be found i n the c r i t i c ' s "reasons" - i f 48 anywhere at a l l . One i s tempted to look f o r a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of d e c i s i o n procedure i n c r i t i c i s m , one that allows us to understand the c r i t i c ' s "reasons" on an analogy w i t h those of the geometrician. In geometry c r i t e r i a of c e r t a i n s o r t s are employed, a c e r t a i n paradigms of proof are ex e m p l i f i e d : among them one i n which the presence of feature $ i n an ob- j e c t i s e s t a b l i s h e d by the presence i n i t of c e r t a i n other "^-making" f e a t u r e s , 0, . . . I f i t i s c o r r e c t , as Si b l e y maintains, that the c r i t i c ' s "reasons" are not sup- ported by c r i t e r i a of t h i s s o r t , ( i . e . that judgements about the presence i n works of a r t of a e s t h e t i c features are not Eg. Margaret Macdonald, "Some Distinctive Features of Argu- ments Used in Criticism of the Arts," Proceedings of the A r i s t o t e l i a n Society, Supplement, 23 (1949), 183^194, reprinted in Aesthetics and Lan- guage, ed. Elton, see esp. p. 129; Stuart Hampshire, "Logic and Appre- ciat ionW The World Review, NS No. 44 (October, 1952), pp. 36-.40, re-r printed i n Elton, see esp, p. 166; Albert Tzugawa, "The Objectivity of Aesthetic Judgements," The Philosophical Review, 70 (1966), at p. 12; and Morris Weitz, "Criticism Without Evaluation," The Philosophical Review, 61 (1952), at p. 61. 63 to be inferred from the presence in works of art of non- aesthetic features), the i n c l i n a t i o n might be to jump in either of two directions: i ) aesthetic judgements are not objective; or i i ) their o b j e c t i v i t y depends on non-inferen- t i a l knowledge, an i n f l a t e d ontology, and in any case on something other than decision procedures. What we have here, though, i s a false trichotomy, founded again on the elevation of one paradigm of o b j e c t i v i t y (this time from the exact sciences) to the status of a standard for objec- t i v i t y . If there are no c r i t e r i a for, say, grace, then i f one is to see that a thing is graceful, one must grasp i t without an inference. One must do something i n t u i t i v e . And in c i t i n g the nonaesthetic features on which the grace of a p a r t i c u l a r thing notably depends, one c a l l s ultimately on an immediate or i n t u i t i v e grasping as well. S t i l l i t does not follow that one cannot demonstrate by an inference, using an inference procedure available, in theory, to anyone, that a given thing i s (or is not) graceful (or dainty, dumpy, . . . ) . In concluding, from the lack of a p a r t i c u l a r sort of c r i t e r i o n in c r i t i c i s m , that aesthetic o b j e c t i v i t y requires non-inferen- t i a l knowledge, etc. the p o s s i b i l i t y of there being decision procedures which do not involve or amount to the employment of c r i t e r i a for grace whicK hinge on. the,presence in graceful things 64 of "grace-making" features i s overlooked. But some such pro- cedure may nonetheless be adequate to the task of s e t t l i n g aesthetic controversy, and capable therefore of securing the o b j e c t i v i t y of aesthetic judgement. U n t i l this possi- b i l i t y has been eliminated, i t i s at least not the objectivity that requires the non-inferential knowledge. U n t i l this p o s s i b i l i t y has been eliminated, aesthetic o b j e c t i v i t y need 49 require only decision procedures. This suggests again what a further step in this i n - quiry must be. It i s a step in which we s t i c k , at least p r o v i s i o n a l l y , by our paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y , and suspend In Speaking of Art, Peter Kivy mounts an energetic argument against Sibley to the effect that aesthetic concepts may, for a l l Sibley says, be quite condition-governed after a l l . Kivy's strategy consists basically in the attempt to defuse various of Sibley's arguments meant to establish that aesthetic discourse is non-condition-governed, and to neu- tralize the observations of Sibley, Hungerland, and others, which are taken to indicate that aesthetic discourse is non-condition-governed. I have been assuming that Sibley is right about the lack of governing con- ditions, of a certain sort, for aesthetic terms. Nor shall I undertake to examine in detail Kivy's contentions against Sibley on this point. I am, however, unsatisfied with Kivy's general approach to Sibley, inas- much as Kivy seems insensitive to the distinction I am just now trying to urge. Kivy seems convinced that for there to be objectivity in art criticism is for there to be the possibility of art critical proofs of a certain kind: for there to be the kind of governing conditions for grace, unity, and so on, which hinge on the presence in graceful and unified things of grace- and unity-making features. It is just this that I want to deny. I take my point here to be similar to one made by Maurice Mandelbaum about family resemblances. See Maurice Mandelbaum, "Family Resemblances and Generalization Concerning the Arts," The American Philosophical Quarterly, 2 (1965), 219-228, reprinted" in Problems in Aesthetics, 2nd ed., ed. Morris Weitz (N.Y.: Macmiilan, 196 ), pp. 181-198, esp. pp. 183-186. 65 judgement about aesthetic judgement. It involves further the i n i t i a t i o n of the search for such decision procedures as might secure o b j e c t i v i t y both for color a t t r i b u t i o n (for example) and aesthetic judgement. This worthwhile search i s pursued by S i b l e y , a l - though his results are not e n t i r e l y conclusive. Sibley's reasons for searching involve his recognition that in con- nection with aesthetics, the philosophical issue of objec- t i v i t y is b a s i c a l l y an epistemological issue about the a v a i l a b i l i t y of decision procedures. One reason for denying objectivity to aesthetic descrip- tive remarks has been the supposed need of a special quasi-sense or intuition to explain how we come by the knowledge they express. I prefer to put the matter ans other way. . . With objective matters there must be proofs, decision procedures, ways of establishing truth and falsity. Where proof is impossible there is no ob- jectivity. . . Proof is a way of settling who is right and who is wrong.^ But i n addition we have some reason to hope for success i n the search, and at least for a break i n the epis- temological issue, Sibley's, for instance, is no pessimis- t i c undertaking, concerned only to eliminate a pesky alters native to rel a t i v i s m , nor i s itmmerely an experimental un^ Sibley, "Colours," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 68 (1967-1968), 145-166; Sibley, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," Pro- ceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplement, 42 (1968), 31-54. ^ Sibley, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," p. 34. 66 dertaking. From, the outset S i b l e y ' s p u r s u i t of t h i s s t r a t e g y i s an o p t i m i s t i c and confident one. The optimism i s grounded i n the analogy which S i b l e y s t r e s s e s , and which I have been 52 f o l l o w i n g , between a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n . There i s a somewhat understandable urge to t i r e of such analogies i n a e s t h e t i c s , i f not of the whole f i e l d of a e s t h e t i c s . The issue of a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y i s l i k e l y to seem p a r t i c u l a r l y tedious at t h i s stage. I t , l i k e some a r t - c r i t i c a l i s s u e s , may seem to be going nowhere, about as slowly as i t can. Here, f o r i n s t a n c e , i s W. B. G a l l i e on the dreariness of the h i s t o r y of a e s t h e t i c s : The main cause of the unsatisfactory state of . . . philo- sophical aesthetics i s the one-sided, almost exclusively epistemo^centered approach which philosophers adopt towards [ i t ] . . . To give some examples. Common to, and central to, both Kant's and Wittgenstein's contributions to aesthetics, is the question: are aesthetic judgements genuine judgements . . . in contrast to mere expressions or affirmations of personal likes and dislikes? Both philosophers begin by pointing to certain usually recognized expectations and ways of speaking which suggest that aesthetic judgements are intended to be accepted as correct', yet both acknowledge that, in contrast to the situation with sc i e n t i f i c judgements, there are no public and systematically applicable tests of their correctness. But to the question how these seemingly irreconcilable facts are to be explained, these leading philo- sophers offer surprisingly feeble and even half-hearted answers.^ 52 For another employment of the colors/aesthetics analogy, see Oliver A. Johnson, "Aesthetic Objectivity and the Analogy With Ethics," i n Philosophy and the Arts, 165-181, esp. p. 179. 53 W.B. Gallie, "Art and P o l i t i c s , " Proceedings of the Ar%s- totelian Society, Supplement, 46 (1972), pp. 103-104. 67 Gall i e ' s remark (and the "half-hearted" responses he laments) is an example of the profound despair of many aes- theticians; i t may point as well to a source of the d i s i n - terest i n , and even contempt for, aesthetics had by some philosophers. Aestheticians, in the i r despair, may be prone to view the analogy between aesthetic judgement and color a t t r i b u t i o n as very boringly old-hat, and so, to e n t i r e l y miss i t s l i b e r a t i n g significance for the aesthetic objec- t i v i t y enduro. I am disappointed to find l i t t l e evidence of Kivy's appreciation of the importance of the colors/aesthetics ana- logy in his Speaking of Art. His discussion there of aspect- perception includes a passage which provides some evidence that the importance of the analogy e n t i r e l y escapes him. Here i s that passage more or less i n i t s entirety. Imagine a dab of black paint on an otherwise blank canvas. It can be seen as a black dot either in front of or behind a white expanse; the figure will accomodate either perceptual interpretation. This seems to me a clear case of aspect-perceiving even more disarmingly simple than, yet in the same family as, the Duck-Rabbit. Suppose now that Mr. A sees the figure as black in front of white and Mr. B sees i t as black behind white. What crucial feature could Mr. A adduce. . . to defend the black-on-white ascription? He could say: "The white can be seen as behind the black," or urge: "See the white as behind the black,". . . But to say "The white can be seen as behind the black," is to say nothing more than "The black can be seen as in front of the white," which is exactly the ascription to be defended. . . The figure is so simple that whichever aspect we grasp is grasped as a whole with no really distinguishable parts to constitute crucial features and provide the basis for a defense. 68 The species of aspect-perceiving represented by Duck- Rabbit can be thought of as a series of figures of ascen- ding complexity, from the absolute simplicity of the White- Canvas -with- Black- Spot to such intricate figures as the Skull-Lady, with Duck-Rabbit somewhere in the middle range. At some point along this series we pass from aspect-ascrip- tions that are not to aspect-ascriptions that are defensible. . . Thus, to say that the canvas has a black-before-white aspect is to make a purely personal remark about how the figure appears to the one who makes the remark. . . ̂ We should be troubled i n i t i a l l y by Kivy's conclusion, for i t seems to deny what is asserted i n his hypothesis. We are f i r s t asked to suppose a very simple case of v i s u a l am- biguity, a figure which "can be seen as a black dot either in front of or behind a white expanse". What comes most readily to mind in answer to these sp e c i f i c a t i o n s i s a figure such that i) i t can be seen as a black dot in front of a white expanse, i i ) i t can be seen as a black dot behind a white expanse, i i i ) i t cannot be seen as the Parthenon against a f i e l d of l i l l i e s . There are, i n other words, certa i n readings of the figure which, though they are mutually incompatible, are i t s l e g i t i - mate readings; there are other conceivable readings of the figure which are not legitimate. And yet Kivy's conclusion Kivy, Speaking of Art, pp. 100-101. 69 amounts to the suggestion that aspect-perceptual claims about the f i g u r e are i n d e f e n s i b l e and i n c o r r i g i b l e , much as a s t a t e - ment of the form "X seems p to me". This i s , I submit, to deny, and i n q u i t e p a r a d o x i c a l f a s h i o n , the sense of l e g i t i - macy that n a t u r a l l y attaches to the various aspects or readings of our h y p o t h e t i c a l f i g u r e . But to r e t u r n to the importance of c o l o r s : what i s most i n t e r e s t i n g i s the mistake that u n d e r l i e s t h i s para- d o x i c a l suggestion. Kivy q u i t e c o r r e c t l y observes that there i s a hi e r a r c h y of complexity among ambiguous f i g u r e s , w i t h the duck-rabbit somewhere between the most simple and the more complex such f i g u r e s . But he mistakenly a s s e r t s that there i s a d i s t i n c t i o n between d e f e n s i b l e and i n d e f e n s i b l e a s p e c t - a s c r i p t i o n s which r e f l e c t s or p a r a l l e l s the h i e r - archy of complexity, such that at the lower extremity of the hi e r a r c h y , even i f nowhere above i t , aspect-perceptual claims are i n d e f e n s i b l e and i n c o r r i g i b l e , much as a statement of the form "X seems p to me". Kivy's grounds f o r t h i s a s s e r t i o n are apparently j u s t that at the lower extremity of the h i e r - archy what we have i s a f i g u r e of such extreme s i m p l i c i t y that i t cannot be analyzed or broken down i n t o a p l u r a l i t y of d i s c r e e t " c r u c i a l f e a t u r e s " , so t h a t , owing to the simplicity (read " u n a n a l y z a b i l i t y " ) of the f i g u r e , any attempted "defense" of an aspect-perceptual c l a i m c o l l a p s e s i n t o the aspect^per^ ceptual c l a i m . 70 But the argument i s unconvincing, f o r by these same reasonings we should have to conclude that c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n s , owing to the (supposedly paradigmatic) s i m p l i c i t y and unana- l y z a b i l i t y of c o l o r s , are i n d e f e n s i b l e and i n c o r r i g i b l e , much as a statement of the form, "X seems p to me", and t h i s con- c l u s i o n would be as unwarranted as i t i s unwelcome. I t h i n k i t unfortunate that the case of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n d i d not occur to Kivy at t h i s j u n c t u r e ; h i s c u r i o s i t y about how c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n s are to be defended might otherwise have been st i m u l a t e d , and such c u r i o s i t y , i t seems to me, i s quite c r u c i a l to advancing the issue of o b j e c t i v i t y i n a e s t h e t i c s . I t h e r e f o r e t h i n k i t worth re-emphasizing now that the p o i n t of an analogy between a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s not to e s t a b l i s h the existence of a range of simple a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , understood to a t t a c h to objects independent of the a c t u a l or p o s s i b l e experience of any observer, of f a c u l t i e s f o r the apprehension of such p r o p e r t i e s , or of c e r t a i n b i t s of n o n - i n f e r e n t i a l knowledge, as might be mis- taken. The point of such an analogy i s , so f a r , only to show t h a t , with respect to p r o o f s , d e c i s i o n procedures, and the r e s o l u b i l i t y of controversy, issues s t r i c t l y p a r a l l e l to those r a i s e d by the r e l a t i v i s t i n a e s t h e t i c s can also be r a i s e d about c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , and other paradigms of o b j e c t i v i t y , at l e a s t i n i t i a l l y . 71 Indeed the [ r e l a t i v i s t ] , whose f i r s t move, when there are disputes, i s to demand proofs in aesthetics, is l i k e l y to accept other matters as objective enough without making any such demand there. Nor i s i t prima facie obvious in detail what a conclusive proof even in some of these areas would come to: what would be involved in a proof that something is red. . . ?rr But since c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s not only almost s u r e l y o b j e c t i v e , but an area of paradigmatic s e t t l a b i l i t y as w e l l , there i s good (even i f not thoroughly conclusive) reason to suppose that there are d e c i s i o n procedures rele v a n t to c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n . We would be, at the very l e a s t , s u r p r i s e d to be shown that there are none. But i f p a r a l l e l e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l issues can be r a i s e d w i t h respect to both c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n and a e s t h e t i c judgement, then perhaps these issues can be s i m i l a r l y put to r e s t . Surely there must be d e c i s i o n pro- cedures f o r c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , so why not d e c i s i o n procedures f o r a e s t h e t i c judgement as w e l l ? This i s not to say that I think there i s l i t t l e con- f u s i o n about d e c i s i o n procedures f o r c o l o r s . There i s a good d e a l , and S i b l e y , of a l l people, shares i n i t . Indeed the continued underappreciation of the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy owes as much to the confusion that there i s about c o l o r d e c i - s i o n procedures as does the s t a t e of the debate about aes- t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y . Thus the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy i s Sibley, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," p. 35. 72 important a l s o as an i n v i t a t i o n to i n q u i r y i n t o the nature of c o l o r d e c i s i o n procedures. In Chapter IV below, I inves- t i g a t e the case of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n and sketch an account of i t s o b j e c t i v e b a s i s . In the remainder of the present chapter I r e t u r n to consider some of the theses of Isabel Hungerland. That Hungerland i s a r e l a t i v i s t , as I have charac- t e r i z e d that p o s i t i o n , i s i n d i c a t e d i n the f o l l o w i n g passages: For purposes of making a prima facie basis of distinction between A's aesthetic features and N's nonaesthetic features I shall reject the requirement, proposed by Sibley, that a special sort of training or sensitivity is always required. That leaves me with the following sort of rough basis for a distinction. A-ascriptions are not intersub- jectively verifiable. . . • A room that looks cheerful to you may look garish to me - though we can agree on what colors and shapes and so on the furnishings have. We can always agree in principle on a store's identifying descrip- tion of a garment, but not so on whether i t is dowdy or elegant. 5 6 The lack of v e r i f i a b i l i t y for A-ascriptions delights rather than distresses me. In moral matters, we must achieve some large measure of agreement or be annihilated. In science, we must require agreement or abandon the project - inter- subjectivity here is of the essence. In art, we can be out of step with the rest of the world without endangering a single soul or abandoning the enterprise. How delightful Hungerland's main t h e s i s i s that a e s t h e t i c judgements are not i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e l y v e r i f i a b l e . I take her to mean by t h i s that there are not any d e c i s i o n procedures, a v a i l a b l e Hungerland, "Once Again, Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic," p. 107 Ibid. pp. 110-111. 73 i n p r i n c i p l e to any su b j e c t , whereby to check the c o r r e c t - ness or i n c o r r e c t n e s s of a given a e s t h e t i c judgement. I f there were-not and could not be such d e c i s i o n procedures, then I would agree w i t h her that a e s t h e t i c judgements were not o b j e c t i v e , that t h e i r l o g i c d i f f e r e d from that of claims But I have yet to see i t demonstrated even that there are no such procedures. I have already argued that an analogy between a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , coupled with a lack of s p e c i f i c i t y and c l a r i t y about the nature of c o l o r d e c i s i o n procedures, provides some reason to suppose that there might a f t e r a l l be d e c i s i o n procedures i n aes- t h e t i c s . I think therefore that i t i s too e a r l y to assent to t h i s t h e s i s of Hungerland's. Hungerland claims as a r e l a t e d point that there i s no proper analogue f o r a e s t h e t i c judgements of the r e a l l y - i s / only-seems dichotomy, a dichotomy which presumably does apply w i t h c o l o r s . But her meaning here i s not e n t i r e l y c l e a r . At f i r s t she says that the terminology f o r a e s t h e t i c judgements was "invented j u s t f o r the purposesof d e s c r i b i n g how things 5 8 look". She seems to have i n mind the view that since an a e s t h e t i c judgement l i k e "The p a i n t i n g i s g a r i s h " i s e l l i p - t i c a l f o r "The p a i n t i n g i s g a r i s h - l o o k i n g " , sentences of the Hungerland, "The Logic of Aesthetic Concepts," p. 602. 74 form. "The painting (only) looks garish-looking" are fau l t y , or redundant, or useless, hence no dichotomy. Of course she q u a l i f i e s this as an indicator of really-is/only-seems areas. Color words, she allows, were "invented just for the purpose of describing how things look". But q u a l i f i e d or no,this is sophistry. F i r s t of a l l , not a l l aesthetic judgements are about the looks of things. And i f music presents no problem for Hungerland, prose cer- t a i n l y should. But more important is that Hungerland i s here obscuring the very point of application for the r e a l l y - i s / only-seems dichotomy. Even i f aesthetic judgements one and a l l concerned the looks of things, there might s t i l l be good use i n distinguishing between a thing's really being cjgarish- .looking, and i t s only seeming so. Part of Hungerland's problem here l i e s , I suspect, in her having put the appearance/reality dichotomy, for which I, in order to approximate her, use "really-is/only-seems", in terms of r e a l l y being $ and only looking '$. I would say that the really-is/only-seems dichotomy applies where i) matters are objective, and i i ) some accep- table explanation for a thing's seeming $ to someone, while not r e a l l y being $ can i n p r i n c i p l e be found. But the case for aesthetic o b j e c t i v i t y i s as yet far from l o s t ; Furthers more, we do o f f e r such explanations as "This only seems to 75 you to be vigorous because i t i s surrounded by so many f l a c c i d t h i n g s " , or "This only seems chaot i c to you because you are u n f a m i l i a r w i t h c u b i s t p a i n t i n g s " . On t h i s point Hungerland o f f e r s a d i s t i n c t i o n between explanations which " c a l l our a t t e n t i o n to the presence of absence of p h y s i c a l defects i n sense organs" and those which i n s t e a d c a l l a t t e n t i o n to "the presence or absence of common sympathies, snobberies, out- 59 looks. . ." She claims that explanations of the l a t t e r k ind alone are forthcoming i n connection w i t h a e s t h e t i c judge- ments, and that t h i s makes the extension of the r e a l l y - i s / only-seems dichotomy to a e s t h e t i c s a "metaphor". What i s wrong with an explanation that makes reference t o , say, lack of t r a i n i n g ? Hungerland seems to think that there i s something s p e c i a l about an explanation which makes reference to a p h y s i c a l d e f e c t , say one ass o c i a t e d with c o l o r b l i n d n e s s , as i f one could be t e s t e d f o r the presence of such a defect without l o o k i n g at things and making judgements about them. What i s explained on e i t h e r side of Hungerland's a l l e g e d d i s t i n c t i o n i f not simply the i n a b i l i t y to make c e r t a i n d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s ? I f a i l to see the relevance i n t h i s con- ne c t i o n of the point t h a t , while we th i n k that by talking we can sometimes " r e f i n e " a person's a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , we cannot t a l k a person out of c o l o r - b l i n d n e s s . 5 9 Ibid. p. 604. 76 There remains only Hungerland's f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h so- c a l l e d g e s t a l t p r o p e r t i e s . 6 0 The features of g e s t a l t s i t u a - t i o n s most i n t r i g u i n g f o r Hungerland and others are those i l l u s t r a t e d so w e l l by t r i c k f i g u r e s l i k e the duck-rabbit, and the phenomena known as "figure-ground", namely the per- s i s t e n c e of e x c l u s i v e l y d i s j o i n e d r e a d i n g s . 6 1 Seeing-as i s here seen, I t h i n k , as the ba s i s on which to e s t a b l i s h the t h e o r e t i c a l l e g i t i m a c y of a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m . I f p a r t i - c u l a r works of a r t can be seen-as X, Y, Z, P, Q, and R, then i t i s senseless to expect agreement i n a e s t h e t i c judgements l e t alone i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e d e c i s i o n procedures. How de- l i g h t f u l ! I n t e r e s t i n g note: B. R. Tilghman th i n k s that the seeing-as a n a l y s i s of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y provides a basi s f o r a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s m , since the duck-rabbit cannot "also 6 2 be seen as a kangaroo". The duck and the r a b b i t are the duck-rabbit's only ( l e g i t i m a t e ) aspects. But though the duck-rabbit has only two aspects, there i s nothing i n p r i n - c i p l e b a r r i n g ambiguous o b j e c t s ' having more than two. And as between any of the l e g i t i m a t e readings of a given ambi- 60 Hungerland, "The Logic of Aesthetic Concepts," pp. 610-612; Hungerland, "Once Again: Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic," pp. 109-ff. AT See above, Chapter II . 62 B.R. Tilghman, The Expression of Emotion in the Visual Arts, p. 79. 77 guous object, there i s no p r e f e r a b i l i t y ; each reading per- s i s t s . But this i s the p a r t i c u l a r seeing-as phenomenon that seems to arrest Hungerland, and she is absolutely correct about what the effect of i t s introduction, by way of the seeing-as analysis of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , into the ob- j e c t i v i t y issue w i l l be. Her mistake, however, i s in g l i b l y and u n c r i t i c a l l y assuming the aesthetic-gestalt connection. A zoo director can return the animal i f he orders a zebra but what is delivered turns out to be a pony. But he will get nowhere i f he claims that he ordered a horse-like black animal with white stripes (this is the way he sees zebras) and what he got was a horse-like white animal with white stripes. A museum director who purchases a Rothko identified as having a certain size and shape and having broad horizontal bands of blue, white, and green, can re- turn i t i f the canvas is a larger one, uniformly yellow, except for a narrow red band accross the middle. There is no point however in his arguing that though the iden- tifying description fits the picture ordered, i t does not have the dynamic visual tensions that some critics have found.gj Now, as i t turns out, one can sensibly distinguish between v a r i e t i e s of zebra according to whether the stripes are black on a white background or white on black. But supposing zebras not to be sortable i n this way, Hungerland is right about zebras: one could not legitimately f e e l cheated about a zebra on figure-ground grounds. But here is pr e c i s e l y the point at which the zebra case and the Rothko case might be Hungerland, "Once Again: Aesthetic and Non-Aesthetic,';' p. 109. 78 disanalogous. For i f a e s t h e t i c judgement i s an o b j e c t i v e matter, then i f one were s o l d a p a i n t i n g on the understan- ding that c e r t a i n v i s u a l tensions were among i t s a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , and i t turned out that they weren't, one could p e r f e c t l y l e g i t i m a t e l y f e e l cheated - e s p e c i a l l y i f one found oneself stuck w i t h the p a i n t i n g . But even i f a e s t h e t i c judgement u l t i m a t e l y turns out not to be an o b j e c t i v e matter* there i s an important d i f f e r e n c e between seeing-as and a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y which Hungerland misses, a point I developed i n Chapter I I , The d i f f e r e n c e I p o i n t out, that the p e r s i s t e n c e of e x c l u s i v e l y d i s j o i n e d readings, which i s e s s e n t i a l to seeing-as, i s not i n the same way t o l e r a b l e w i t h a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , i s i n f a c t j u s t the d i f f e r e n c e Hungerland wants to deny. I f the r e s u l t s of my Chapter I I are c o r r e c t , and Hungerland's a s s e r t i o n of an analogy gives no s u b s t a n t i a l evidence to the co n t r a r y , then at least Hungerland has no ba s i s f o r r e l a t i v i s m i n the comparison between a e s t h e t i c judgement and aspect-perception. 79 CHAPTER IV In the preceding chapter I considered the a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s t ' s a n t i - c r i t i c a l challenge and discovered that i t s a p p l i c a b i l i t y i s i n i t i a l l y somewhat wider than the r e l a t i v i s t l e t s on. I suggest that t h i s discovery ought to prompt a re- opening of the search f o r the r a t i o n a l bases of a r t c r i t i c i s m , that i s , f o r d e c i s i o n procedures f o r a e s t h e t i c judgements. I discussed what i s perhaps S i b l e y ' s most s i g n i f i c a n t , i f most widely misunderstood, c o n t r i b u t i o n to the issue of a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y : h i s i n s i s t e n c e on an analogy between a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , and h i s r e l a t e d s t r a t e g y of searching f o r the foundations of a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i t y along l i n e s to be discovered i n analyzing the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n . The st r a t e g y i s , I t h i n k , both sound and promising, whether or not i t w i l l lead to the concl u s i o n that a e s t h e t i c judgement i s o b j e c t i v e . What i s l e f t wanting i n S i b l e y ' s treatment of the o b j e c t i v i t y i s s u e , however, i n an adequate a n a l y s i s of the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n . What i s i t to say that c o l o r s are o b j e c t i v e , or that the a t t r i b u t i o n of c o l o r s to things i s an o b j e c t i v e business? I t i s to t h i s matter, i n t e r e s t i n g enough on i t s own, that I address myself i n t h i s chapter. I am convinced that the re- s u l t s of philosophers' i n q u i r i e s i n t o i t have not been en- 80 t i r e l y c o n c l u s i v e , and that the p r e v a i l i n g confusion about c o l o r s , coupled w i t h the widely acknowledged c e n t r a l i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n as an area of o b j e c t i v i t y , has both re- tarded our understanding of o b j e c t i v i t y g e n e r a l l y and severe- l y hampered most of the d i s c u s s i o n concerning a e s t h e t i c ob- j e c t i v i t y i n p a r t i c u l a r . As a p r e l i m i n a r y to the d i s c u s s i o n of c o l o r d e c i s i o n procedures, i t i s convenient to develop a terminology f o r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g among various types of pro- perty that a t h i n g might be s a i d to have. Where the d e c i s i o n procedures r e l e v a n t to e s t a b l i s h i n g the t r u t h of judgements of a c e r t a i n kind i n v o l v e h y p o t h e t i c a l or c o n d i t i o n a l p r o p o s i t i o n s we may speak of d i s p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s . Thus f r a g i l i t y ( s o l u b i l i t y , e l a s t i c i t y ) i s a d i s p o s i t i o n a l property. The t r u t h c o n d i t i o n s f o r judgements l i k e "X i s f r a g i l e " i n v o l v e c o n d i t i o n a l s of the form "Under c e r t a i n p h y s i c a l c o n d i t i o n s , X would undergo c e r t a i n p h y s i c a l changes." When the h y p o t h e t i c a l f o r a d i s p o s i t i o n a l property makes c r u c i a l reference to the experience of an observer, I w i l l speak of " e x p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s " . An e x p o s i t i o n a l property w i l l be one where the t r u t h c o n d i t i o n s f o r judge- ments a t t r i b u t i n g i t to things i n v o l v e h y p o t h e t i c a l s of the form, " I f an object X stood i n r e l a t i o n R to an observer 0, 0 would have an experience of such and such a k i n d . " 81 On t h i s t e rmino logy , f r a g i l i t y i s d i s p o s i t i o n a l but n o n - e x p o s i t i o n a l ; t r i a n g u l a r i t y i s both n o n - d i s p o s i t i o n a l and n o n - e x p o s i t i o n a l ; smoothness i s e x p o s i t i o n a l ; redness (see below) i s e x p o s i t i o n a l ; a l l e x p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s are d i s p o s i t i o n a l . C o l o r s , though they are e x p o s i t i o n a l , are not simply e x p o s i t i o n a l . Determining that an object has an e x p o s i t i o n a l p roper ty i s a matter o f e s t a b l i s h i n g that there are or cou ld be observers for whom the object has the c a p a c i t y to occas ion a c e r t a i n k i n d o f exper ience ; but e s t a b l i s h i n g t h i s does not e s t a b l i s h an o b j e c t ' s c o l o r , fo r the f o l l o w i n g so r t of s i t u a - t i o n can a r i s e : A blue o b j e c t , l i k e c o l o r ch ip I has an e x p o s i t i o n a l p roper ty (A) which manifests i t s e l f i n fo r ins tance my f i n d i n g i t d i f f e r e n t from c o l o r ch ip I I . But i t may a l so have an e x p o s i t i o n a l p roper ty (B) which mani- fes t s i t s e l f i n some c o l o r - b l i n d obse rve r s ' f i n d i n g i t i den - t i c a l to I I . I t has but one c o l o r : b l u e . Thus e s t a b l i s h i n g I ' s c o l o r i n v o l v e s not on ly e s t a b l i s h i n g that there are some 82 observers for whom I has the capacity to occasion a certain sort of v i s u a l experience; i t involves establishing some such observers as also having pre-eminent or authoritative status. Accordingly I s h a l l speak of "pre-eminent exposi- t i o n a l properties". An object may have, as above, numerous expositional properties in an area such as color, of which only one w i l l be pre-eminent. It i s even possible for an object which has a number of expositional properties, to have no pre-eminent expositional properties at a l l . ^ 4 I assume that color a t t r i b u t i o n i s objective. I assume, in other words, that there are decision procedures available for s e t t l i n g disputes about the colors of things. If t h i s assumption stands in need of support, l e t that sup- port come in the form of an account of what those decision procedures are. I propose the following account. Color a t t r i b u t i o n l i e s in one of those areas whose o b j e c t i v i t y i s t i e d to a reference group of observers. In such areas, the members of reference groups, or "referees" as I s h a l l c a l l them, function as potential f i n a l arbiters for disputes. Disputes within any of these areas may be se t t l e d with f i n a l i t y by appeal to the experiences of the referees. 64 I discuss examples which indicate this possibility at the end of this chapter. 83 With c o l o r s and other s i m i l a r matters, the p r a c t i c e of s e t t l i n g disputes involves s e l e c t i n g r e f e r e e s . So we are concerned with p r i n c i p l e s of s e l e c t i o n . There are two b a s i c p r i n c i p l e s f o r the s e l e c t i o n of members of reference groups: one corresponding to a m a j o r i t a r i a n b i a s or i n c l i n a - t i o n we have i n matters of o b j e c t i v i t y i n general; the other corresponding to a bias or i n c l i n a t i o n we have i n favor of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s and s e n s i t i v i t y . I w i l l c a l l the f i r s t p r i n - c i p l e the " m a j o r i t a r i a n p r i n c i p l e " , and the second the "sen- s i t i v i t y p r i n c i p l e " . Each p r i n c i p l e may be understood i n i - t i a l l y as a systematic i n c l i n a t i o n , on thervone hand, to count heads, and on the other, d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s . We are i n c l i n e d to take the s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal, the members of the agreed m a j o r i t y or p l u r a l i t y as r e f e r e e s ; and we are i n c l i n e d to take the maximally s e n s i t i v e observers, those capable of the most d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s , as r e f e r e e s . By "maximally s e n s i - t i v e " and so on, I do not mean "capable of a l l p o s s i b l e d i s - c r i m i n a t i o n s " , but rather "capable of more d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s than any competitor". A l s o , f o r the sake of convenience, I ignore cases of r a d i c a l l y divergent sets of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s and l i m i t c o n s i d e r a t i o n to cases where the s e n s i t i v e obser- vers make a l l the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s other people do, plus a few more. The two c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , s t a t i s t i c a l n o r m a l i t y , and 84 r e l a t i v e d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y , seem to be f a i r l y equal i n weight. Neither s t a t i s t i c a l n o r m a l i t y nor maximum d i s - c r i m i n a t o r y capacity i s by i t s e l f a necessary c o n d i t i o n f o r q u a l i f i c a t i o n as a r e f e r e e . Neither s t a t i s t i c a l normality nor maximum d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y i s by i t s e l f s u f f i c i e n t to e s t a b l i s h the reference group. A necessary c o n d i t i o n f o r a given group's s e l e c t i o n to r e f e r e e s h i p i s that that group s h a l l be e i t h e r s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal or capable of more rele v a n t d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s than any competing group. That i s , I repeat, not capable simply of a greater number of d i s - c r i m i n a t i o n s , but capable of a l l the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s made by any competitor, plus a few more. Of course, i f the maximally s e n s i t i v e are al s o s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal, that i s s u f f i c i e n t to e s t a b l i s h them as r e f e r e e s . I have used the terms " b i a s " and " i n c l i n a t i o n " . I do not mean by these to derogate e i t h e r of the two p r i n c i p l e s of s e l e c t i o n . But because of t h e i r place and r o l e i n a com- plex and d e l i c a t e s e l e c t i o n procedure, n e i t h e r the majori- t a r i a n nor the s e n s i t i v i t y p r i n c i p l e can be formulated e i t h e r as a necessary or as a s u f f i c i e n t c o n d i t i o n f o r q u a l i f i c a t i o n as a r e f e r e e . This i s why " b i a s " and " i n c l i n a t i o n " suggest themselves. I t i s w e l l to c a l l both p r i n c i p l e s " p r i n c i p l e s " because our s e l e c t i o n of referees i s i n any case guided by them. But i t i s also w e l l to be reminded that each of the 85 two p r i n c i p l e s can be overridden, under c e r t a i n circumstances, by the other. What happens, f o r i n s t a n c e , when the s e n s i t i v e people make up a t i n y m i n o r i t y ? The case of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s an important one to explore, f i r s t because i t i l l u s t r a t e s the c e n t r a l i t y of s e l e c - t i n g referees to the o b j e c t i v i t y of a c e r t a i n k i n d of judge- ment, and second because i t brings the above two p r i n c i p l e s of s e l e c t i o n i n t o focus. The observers to whose judgements the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s t i e d are both s t a t i s - t i c a l l y normal and c o l o r s e n s i t i v e , that i s , capable of more c o l o r d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s than r i v a l groups. But t h i s f a c t , that c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal, has made the case of c o l o r s an occasion f o r some controversy and confusion about the conceptual basis of o b j e c t i v i t y . Competing t h e o r i e s have been suggested: i ) to the e f f e c t that the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s grounded i n the experiences of the s t a t i s t i c a l l y normal o b s e r v e r ; ^ i i ) to the e f f e c t that the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n i s t i e d to the experiences of those making the most d e t a i l e d This view, often attributed to Locke, appears more recently eg. i n Jonathan Bennett, Locke, Berkeley, Ewne - Central Themes, (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), at p. 94; George Pitcher, A Theory of Per- ception, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), at p. 223; Johnson, "Aesthetic Objectivity and the Analogy With Ethics," pp. 179-181; and Hungerland, "The Logic of Aesthetic Concepts," at p. 51; Kivy, at pp. 67-68 of Speaking of Art, in examining Hungerland's position, accepts normality as the basis of color objectivity. 86 and extensive set of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s . ^ The two t h e o r i e s are ma n i f e s t l y opposed i n answer to the question, "Who would de- cide the c o l o r s of things i f the c o l o r s e n s i t i v e numbered a small m i n o r i t y ? " (Again f o r the sake of expository s i m p l i - c i t y I l i m i t c o n s i d e r a t i o n to cases where the po p u l a t i o n d i v i d e s f a i r l y n e a t l y i n t o two groups, one l a r g e r than the other, the smaller of the two being the more s e n s i t i v e . ) On the f i r s t account, the c o l o r s that things are would be the c o l o r s that things looked to be to the m a j o r i t y . On the second account, the c o l o r s that things are would be the c o l o r s that things looked to be to the s e n s i t i v e m i n o r i t y . On the account I propose, i t i s not yet c l e a r to whose experiences the o b j e c t i v i t y of c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n would be t i e d , the hypo- t h e t i c a l s i t u a t i o n being at t h i s stage underdescribed. Room i s made, as I say, f o r the two competing theo r i e s by the convergence, i n the case of c o l o r s , of s e n s i t i v i t y and norm a l i t y , and each of the two the o r i e s has i t s measure of p l a u s i b i l i t y owing to the c e n t r a l i t y of s e n s i t i v i t y and of normality r e s p e c t i v e l y to the business of s e l e c t i n g r e f e r e e s . But i n each case something has gone wrong. I t i s as i f the philosopher, i n t r y i n g to see c l e a r l y , holds the object very Sibley, "Colours," p. 149; An irony: Sibley's well known emphasis on the normality of sight, hearing, touch. . . as that than which something more i s needed in order to make aesthetic judgements documents the grip that our majoritarian bias has even on him. 87 clo s e and s q u i n t s , c l o s i n g one or the other of h i s eyes. I am suggesting that we open both eyes and stand a b i t f u r t h e r back. I want now to d i s c r e d i t the two above t h e o r i e s of the s e l e c t i o n of c o l o r r e f e r e e s , and to motivate my own, by exposing four p o s s i b l e sources of confusion. i ) I t i s a matter of contingent f a c t that people s e n s i t i v e to c o l o r d i f f e r e n c e s v a s t l y outnumber the c o l o r - b l i n d , that c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y . n o r m a l . This i s not to say that the no r m a l i t y of c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s an accident. I expect there i s a p r e t t y good explanation f o r the convergence of c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y and n o r m a l i t y , which would in v o l v e observed r e g u l a r i t i e s i n the behavior of l i g h t , and i n the physiology of the p e r c e i v i n g organism, some repro- ductive g e n e t i c s , and so on. Nevertheless, we can e a s i l y imagine c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y ' s being or becoming s t a t i s t i c a l l y r a r e , and t h i s j u s t means that the connection between c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y and normality i s a contingent one. But t h i s f a c t i s i t s e l f subject to a m i s a p p l i c a t i o n through p h i l o s o p h i c a l s q u i n t i n g . A c c o r d i n g l y a word of cau t i o n : I t does not f o l l o w from the contingency of s e n s i t i v i t y ' s connection w i t h normality either that s e n s i t i v i t y i s i n c i d e n t a l to o b j e c t i v i t y while nor- m a l i t y i s germane or that normality i s i n c i d e n t a l to objec- t i v i t y while s e n s i t i v i t y i s germane. 88 i i ) Secondly, a word about the words "normal" and " s e n s i t i v e " . Each of these words wears i t s heart, so to speak, on i t s sleeve. Each i s i n a way l i k e the word "gringo", which i s not f u l l y or adequately understood except as con- veying a measure of disapprobation. "Normal" and " s e n s i t i v e " , i n connection w i t h c o l o r perception and a t t r i b u t i o n at any r a t e , each c a r r y a c l e a r , but not, I emphasize, overwhelming measure of approbation. That there should be a measure of approbation i s only to be expected, since the words r e f l e c t our m a j o r i t a r i a n and s e n s i t i v i t y biases r e s p e c t i v e l y . But our being biased i n favor of the m a j o r i t y i s not equivalent t o , nor does i t e n t a i l , our being bound to s e l e c t normal ob- servers as r e f e r e e s . Our i n c l i n a t i o n s to r e c e i v e the m a j o r i t y report and to t r e a t normal people as referees are not i r r e s i s - t i b l e . I t i s open to us to d e c l i n e to so t r e a t them, even against our i n c l i n a t i o n s ; s i m i l a r l y f o r our s e n s i t i v i t y b i a s . i i i ) T h i r d l y , we must c a r e f u l l y d i s t i n g u i s h between d e c i s i o n procedures ( f o r disputes) and s e l e c t i o n procedures (f o r r e f e r e e s ) . Color disputes are s e t t l e d u l t i m a t e l y by appeal to the c o l o r reference group, however that group i s s e l e c t e d . Now, g e n e r a l l y , i t takes a m a j o r i t y report from an overwhelming m a j o r i t y of a reference group to b r i n g a d i s - pute to u l t i m a t e settlement. I won't go i n t o the reasons f o r t h i s - some of them are q u i t e obvious; others have to do w i t h such vagaries of the perceptual encounter as the e f f e c t s 89 of disease, v i t a m i n i n t a k e , temperature of the surrounding a i r , etc. on our perceptions. In any case, a c o l o r dispute i s s e t t l e d by an impressive m a j o r i t y of the c o l o r reference group, which happens to be an impressive m a j o r i t y of the popula t i o n . In t h i s case, an impressive m a j o r i t y of the impressive m a j o r i t y i s , i t s e l f , an impressive m a j o r i t y . But the f a c t that d e c i s i o n procedures c a l l f o r impressive m a j o r i t i e s does not re q u i r e that reference groups be im- pr e s s i v e m a j o r i t i e s . i v ) F i n a l l y , we must bear i n mind that the means of determining the normality of an observer are d i f f e r e n t from the means of determining h i s s e n s i t i v i t y . S t a t i s t i c a l nor- m a l i t y i s determined by a process of counting heads, s e n s i - t i v i t y by a process of counting and comparing d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s . Now, i n the ordinary course of t h i n g s , i f we were to c a l l someone a "normal observer", we would mean, among other t h i n g s , that he had a c e r t a i n l e v e l of c o l o r - d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y . So we might be i n c l i n e d to construe the standard c o l o r d i s - c r i m i n a t i o n t e s t as a t e s t f o r the normality of c o l o r v i s i o n . One might t h i n k thereby to c o l l a p s e s e n s i t i v i t y and normality. But t e s t s f o r any p a r t i c u l a r l e v e l of c o l o r - d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y can f u n c t i o n as t e s t s f o r the normality of c o l o r v i s i o n only so long as that l e v e l of c o l o r - d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y i s i n f a c t normal. So, unless the s t a t i s t i c a l ab- normality of c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s i n c o n c e i v a b l e , which i t i s 90 n o t , t h e two c a n n o t be c o l l a p s e d . I h o p e now t o h a v e g i v e n some m o t i v a t i o n f o r t h e v i e w t h a t t h e n o t i o n s o f s t a t i s t i c a l n o r m a l i t y and o f s e n s i t i v i t y c a n n e i t h e r be c o l l a p s e d one t o t h e o t h e r n o r d i m i n i s h e d r e l a t i v e t o one a n o t h e r i n t h e i r i m p o r t a n c e t o t h e b u s i n e s s o f s e l e c t i n g r e f e r e e s . I h o p e , i n o t h e r w o r d s , t o b h a v e done s o m e t h i n g t o w a r d e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e q u e s t i o n , "Who w o u l d d e c i d e t h e c o l o r s o f t h i n g s i f t h e c o l o r s e n s i t i v e w e r e n o t i n t h e m a j o r i t y ? " a s a m a t t e r o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l i m p o r t a n c e . We a r e , I t h i n k , l e f t w i t h o u r two m a i n p r i n c i p l e s o f s e l e c t i o n , w h i c h i n t h e c a s e o f c o l o r s h a p p e n t o p i c k o u t t h e same as r e f e r e n c e g r o u p , ( t h u s e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e c o l o r r e f e r e n c e g r o u p w i t h o u t f u r t h e r ado) , b u t w i t h a n e e d as w e l l t o c o n - s i d e r c a s e s i n w h i c h t h e y do n o t , o r w o u l d n o t , o r m i g h t n o t p i c k o u t t h e s a m e . In s u c h c a s e s we h a v e a b a t t e r y o f s u b - s i d i a r y a d j u d i c a t i n g p r i n c i p l e s , w h i c h h e l p us t o d e c i d e b e t w e e n t h e m a j o r i t y a n d t h e s e n s i t i v e , when t h e two m a i n p r i n c i p l e s l e a v e us i n t e n s i o n . L e t us s u p p o s e t h a t a f e l l o w i n L o n d o n c l a i m s t o n o t i c e a d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n o b j e c t s w h i c h we s e e as i d e n - t i c a l . We may s u p p o s e t h i s t o c o n c e r n a d i f f e r e n c e o f a w i d e v a r i e t y o f s o r t s , b u t l e t us f o r s i m p l i c i t y ' s s a k e s u p p o s e t h a t what t h e f e l l o w c l a i m s t o n o t i c e i s a d i f f e r e n c e i n c o l o r . We c a n s a t i s f y o u r s e l v e s r a t h e r s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y 91 as to whether or not he does discriminate, by administering tests to him. One such test would involve placing before him objects which we cannot distinguish and getting him to order them or pick out the odd ones. We then label the ob- jects and record his ordering. We scramble the objects, and ask him to re-order them as before, a l l the while keeping the labels hidden from him. After several successful re- orderings, the p l a u s i b i l i t y of supposing the fellow to be guessing, or lucky, etc. begins to decrease rapidly u n t i l we are just r i g i d and s i l l y not to be s a t i s f i e d that he does, after a l l , d i s t i nguish between objects where we do not. Now suppose that a f a i r l y widely d i s t r i b u t e d group of ob- servers, s t i l l though a tiny minority, have demonstrated, in some such way, the a b i l i t y to make certain agreed d i s c r i - minations where the majority do not, thus establishing t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y r e l a t i v e to the majority. What considerations would count either in favor of or against treating such a group as the reference group? i) One consideration concerns the degree of subtlety of the difference that distinguishes these objects for these 6 7 observers. Suppose we ask the sensitive observers how big or drastic i s the difference they notice. Would they say i t I am following a suggestion of Jonathan Bennett's. 92 i s a very b i g d i f f e r e n c e , and l i k e n i t to that between red and blue? Or would they c a l l i t a subtle nuance, l i k e n i n g i t to some of the more minute d i f f e r e n c e s i n shade to which we i n the i n s e n s i t i v e m a j o r i t y are a l i v e ? The more su b t l e the d i f f e r e n c e , the stronger the case becomes i n favor of the s e n s i t i v e m i n o r i t y ; the more gross or r a d i c a l the d i f - ference, the stronger the case becomes against. This may sound a b i t a r b i t r a r y i n i t s b a l d form, but there are reaons why the s u b t l e t y of a d i f f e r e n c e tends to make i t acceptable. Here are two: a) Subtle d i f f e r e n c e s , s l i g h t d i f f e r e n c e s , are q u i t e r i g h t l y thought hard to d e t e c t , whereas gross or r a d i c a l d i f - ferences are thought hard to miss. Hence there w i l l be a good measure of i n i t i a l i m p l a u s i b i l i t y and subsequent dazzle about any s u p p o s i t i o n to the e f f e c t that there i s n o t i c e d some r a d i c a l , hard-to-miss d i f f e r e n c e , which i s nevertheless r e g u l a r l y and uniformly missed by n e a r l y everyone. But there i s nothing so e x t r a o r d i n a r y i n supposing that there i s n o t i c e d some s u b t l e , hard-to-detect nuance, which goes r e g u l a r l y , u n i f o r m l y , and widely unnoticed. Now, we are not at t h i s stage e n t e r t a i n i n g any doubts about the a b i l i t y of the s e n s i t i v e few to d i s t i n g u i s h where the vast m a j o r i t y do not. That a b i l i t y of t h e i r s we may suppose has been amply demonstrated, whether the d i f f e r e n c e 93 i n question i s t i n y or tremendous. What is at issue here i s whether we s h a l l or shan't allow the language to conform to t h e i r judgements. I am suggesting that the uncomfortable c u r i o s i t y of t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y to a gross, hard-to-miss d i f - ference, which c u r i o s i t y remains even a f t e r t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y has been e s t a b l i s h e d , presents a not n e g l i g i b l e obstacle to t r e a t i n g them as r e f e r e e s . b) There i s a n a t u r a l ease about regarding s e n s i - t i v i t y to s u b t l e , hard^-to-detect d i f f e r e n c e s as nonetheless w i t h i n the range of i m p r o v a b i l i t y of those who l a c k i t , while i t i s d i f f i c u l t to regard s e n s i t i v i t y to gross d i f - ferences as something one might improve toward and acquire. One's th r e s h o l d of s e n s i t i v i t y needs only to be coaxed a b i t f o r one to be enabled to see a very s u b t l e nuance, say be- tween c o l o r samples of the same hue, d i f f e r i n g only by a few increments i n s a t u r a t i o n or i n t e n s i t y . So we tend to t h i n k , w i t h subtle d i f f e r e n c e s , that i f we got more sle e p , or more p r a c t i c e , of more vi t a m i n A, we too could see them. But w i t h gross d i f f e r e n c e s i t i s much more d i f f i c u l t to ima- gine what an improvement i n one's s e n s i t i v i t y would be l i k e , much l e s s what might e f f e c t such an improvement. i i ) Another important c o n s i d e r a t i o n concerns the presence or absence of other measureable d i f f e r e n c e s which correspond to those n o t i c e d by the s e n s i t i v e few. Suppose 94 the sensitive few divide the test samples into two color categories, A and B. Now suppose we discover uniform measureable differences between the A objects and the B objects. Suppose that the A's always r e f l e c t l i g h t waves of one length and the B's of another; or that the A's, when placed in water, regularly dissolve, while the B's, when placed i n water, p r e c i p i t a t e sugar; or suppose we discover a uniform age difference between the A's and B's by carbon dating. At one l e v e l , such discoveries can func- tion to corroborate an i n i t i a l claim to be sensitive. They can be used to help establish what can otherwise be estab- lished by a hidden-labels test. At another l e v e l , they can help to determine what kind of s e n s i t i v i t y i s established whether we are dealing with color, as opposed to say tem- perature, ? s e n s i t i v i t y . But once s e n s i t i v i t y has been es- tablished, and where i t has been established i n a minority, any impressive discovery of this sort w i l l tend also to weigh i n favor of the sensitive minority. A f a i l e d heroic attempt to discover any uniform measureable correlate of the minority's basis of discrimination w i l l tend to count against treating the minority as reference group. Of course, the more numerous, and various, these c o r r e l a t i v e discoveries are, the more impressive they each become in favor of the sensitive. 95 i i i ) Then too, there i s the dimension of u t i l i t y . How u s e f u l or d e s i r a b l e would i t be to have the d i s c r i m i n a - t o r y c a p a c i t y of the s e n s i t i v e few? There are many ima- ginable a l t e r n a t i v e s here, ranging from s e n s i t i v i t i e s w i t h no u s e f u l a p p l i c a t i o n s whatever, to s e n s i t i v i t i e s w i t h t r i v i a l a p p l i c a t i o n s (imagine a man who had become unbeat- able at poker, so long as he could see the backs of c a r d s ) , to s e n s i t i v i t i e s with v i t a l uses (imagine a man who could a c c u r a t e l y f o r e c a s t earthquakes, based on a s e n s i t i v i t y to c o l o r d i f f e r e n c e s i n r o c k s ) . There might even be s e n s i - t i v i t i e s which are p o s i t i v e l y to be avoided i f at a l l p o s s i - b l e . Here I think of extreme temperature s e n s i t i v i t y , ac- companied perhaps by a low discomfort t h r e s h o l d . Of course, the more a t t r a c t i v e , u s e f u l , or important the d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y of the s e n s i t i v e , the higher i t s p o s i t i v e u t i l i t y v a lue, the greater the tendency to s e l e c t the s e n s i t i v e to r e f e r e e s h i p ; the lower the u t i l i t y v alue, the greater the tendency i n the opposite d i r e c t i o n . I s a i d that a s u f f i c i e n t q u a l i f i c a t i o n f o r a reference group i s both maximum d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y and s t a t i s t i c a l n o r m ality. Where no s i n g l e group i s both s e n s i t i v e and normal, a s u f f i c i e n t c o n d i t i o n f o r a given group's q u a l i f i - c a t i o n as reference group w i l l be e i t h e r that group*s s e n s i - t i v i t y or i t s n o r m a l i t y , plus whatever a d d i t i o n a l s u b s i d i a r y 96 evidence i s impressive enough to cause us to s e l e c t that group as reference group. I have i l l u s t r a t e d some ways i n which evidence might be obtained e i t h e r i n support of the s e n s i t i v e or of the m a j o r i t y . There are other considera- t i o n s that can count: the s i z e of the m a j o r i t y r e l a t i v e to the m i n o r i t y ; the r e l a t i v e s t a t i s t i c a l d i v e r s i t i e s of the two groups, that i s , whether the s e n s i t i v e m i n o r i t y would, apart from performance on d i s c r i m i n a t i o n t e s t s , con- s t i t u t e a random sample; and so on. There are also c e r t a i n interdependencies between various of the s u b s i d i a r y p r i n - c i p l e s . For in s t a n c e , the r e l a t i v e s i z e s of m i n o r i t y and ma j o r i t y w i l l a f f e c t the weighting of other s u b s i d i a r y p r i n - c i p l e s i n a given d e l i b e r a t i o n , i . e . w i l l determine i n part how much s u b s i d i a r y evidence of one or another kind i t w i l l take to sway the s e l e c t i o n i n e i t h e r d i r e c t i o n . I have touched on p r i n c i p l e s which seem to me l i k e l y to have a s p e c i a l bearing on the issue of o b j e c t i v i t y i n a e s t h e t i c s . For insta n c e , supposing f o r the moment that the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy can be pressed to y i e l d a c r i t e r i o n f o r a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , and supposing what i s l i k e l y that the membership of the c l a s s thus d e l i n e a t e d i s a m i n o r i t y , then a f a i r l y strong case could be made f o r t h e i r s e l e c t i o n to r e f e r e e s h i p based on the s u b s i d i a r y p r i n c i p l e s I've men- tione d . The s u b t l e t y and richness of the vocabulary of 97 c r i t i c i s m indicates that the d i s t i n c t i o n s i t is used to make.are themselves of a high degree of subtlety. Secondly, part of the logic of aesthetic judgments: the emergence of aesthetic features, l o g i c a l l y guarantess c o r r e l a t i v e sets of differences. And t h i r d l y , the behavior of those indi-*- viduals who we (in the absence of a clear account of aes- th e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y ) call sensitive i n the arts indicates quite strongly that they derive a greater measure of en- joyment from contact with the arts than do those we c a l l i n s e n s i t i v e ; and i f we are to believe their words, the i r a r t - r e l a t e d pleasure i s as a rule increased and i n t e n s i f i e d by their having and exercising s e n s i t i v i t y , which would make aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y -prima facie d e s i r a b l e . Often the prescribed order of inquiry in philosophy i s to f i r s t get clear about fundamental notions, l i k e the notion of o b j e c t i v i t y , by considering standard, central cases, l i k e color a t t r i b u t i o n , and only then to proceed to consider the more controversial, less central cases, such as aesthetic judgement. It has been suggested to me that, epistemology being fundamental and basic to any p a r t i c u l a r - ized or "applied" philosophizing, i f you want to do good aesthetics, you must f i r s t do sound epistemology. It w i l l no doubt raise a few eyebrows to suggest that aesthetics has something to offer epistemology. I think, though, that there is something to be said for proceeding, as I have done, 98 in "reverse order" with respect to o b j e c t i v i t y , colors, and aesthetics. In approaching the question of o b j e c t i v i t y v i a i t s aesthetic p a r t i c u l a r i z a t i o n , one has an unparalleled opportunity for getting the question into clear focus. For, unlike color a t t r i b u t i o n , art c r i t i c i s m i s notoriously an area i n which the persistence of disagreement i s notable, alarming, and of considerable p r a c t i c a l concern; and i t is disagreement that gets the philosophical issue about ob- j e c t i v i t y o f f the ground. So i t i s heve , in connection with (an area such as) art c r i t i c i s m , that the motivations for scepticism can be most v i v i d l y and dramatically exposed. With the sceptics motives in f u l l view, we have been able to explore color o b j e c t i v i t y in a way which might otherwise have been ignored. E a r l i e r I complained at the running together of certain epistemological and ontological issues, to the detriment of the (important) epistemological ones, rt may perhaps be objected, in view of my heavy emphasis in t h i s and the preceding chapter, on the epistemological issue of decision procedures, that I myself have run epis-: temology into ontology, that I have drawn certain (mainly negative) ontological conclusions from e s s e n t i a l l y epis- temological considerations. I think not. I argued that the supposition that there are aes- 99 t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s with strong experience-independence i s more extravagant than i s r e q u i r e d f o r the task of d e f e a t i n g a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m . I t may seem that I purport to e l i - minate such p r o p e r t i e s by an a p p l i c a t i o n of Occam's r a z o r . But most c a r e f u l l y put, I b e l i e v e Occam's razor amounts to the t h e s i s that any o n t o l o g i c a l m u l t i p l i c a t i o n i s prima facie extravagant, and stands th e r e f o r e i n need of j u s t i f i c a t i o n . I t f i x e s t h e r e f o r e the burden of proof on whoever would add to ontology; but i t i s c u t t i n g only i n the absence of such proof. I have not examined a l l extant arguments i n favor of r e a l i s m f o r a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s ; 6 ^ that i s outside the scope of t h i s essay. I have not r u l e d out r e a l i s m i n t h i s way. I have given an account of the d e c i s i o n procedures relev a n t to e s t a b l i s h i n g judgements of a c e r t a i n kind (of which c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n s are exemplary) as true or f a l s e , and I have suggested the account as p l a u s i b l e f o r a e s t h e t i c judgements. The account I have given i s s i m i l a r i n form to what a phenomenalist would g i v e as an a n a l y s i s of what judge- ments l i k e "X i s r e d " mean (or should mean ) . But what I have given i s s t i l l only an account of a procedure f o r t e l l i n g when i t i s c o r r e c t to say of an object ( f o r instance) that 6 8 See GfcVran Hermeren, "The Existence of Aesthetic Qualities", i n Modality, Morality and Other Problems of Sense and Nonsense: Essays Dedi- cated to Soren Hallden, (Lund: C.W.K. Gleerup, 1973), pp. 64-76. 100 i t i s red. As such, i t i s as compatible w i t h r e a l i s t ana- lyses of the meaning of "X i s red" as i t i s w i t h phenomen- a l i s t ones; and i t i s compatible w i t h r e a l i s t as w e l l as phenomenalist o n t o l o g i e s . I t f o l l o w s from the appropriate- ness of a p a r t i c u l a r d e c i s i o n procedure f o r c o l o r a t t r i b u - t i o n n e i t h e r that the meaning of "X is red" must be analyzed s o l e l y i n terms of experience, nor that i t cannot be so ana- lyz e d . I t f o l l o w s from the appropriateness of a p a r t i c u l a r d e c i s i o n procedure f o r c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n n e i t h e r that c o l o r s are, nor that they are not, p r o p e r t i e s w i t h strong experience- independence . ̂ 9 F i n a l l y , I want to consider an example of Micheal Tanner's, because i t i l l u m i n a t e s a f e a t u r e , worth b r i n g i n g out, of the account I. have o u t l i n e d of an area of o b j e c t i v i t y : namely that on that account, o b j e c t i v i t y i s p e r f e c t l y com- p a t i b l e with a limited r e l a t i v i s m . Tanner asks us to sup- pose the e n t i r e population d i v i d e d i n t o two f a i r l y equal groups, making equa l l y many c o l o r d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s , and whose judgements c o i n c i d e everywhere, but f o r a systematic d i s a - U J Because I believe i ) that real i s t analyses of the meaning of "X is graceful" w i l l not do, and i i ) that there are in fact no aes- thetic properties with strong experience ̂-independence, I have been con- cerned to show that aesthetic objectivism does not entail ontological realism with respect to aesthetic properties. Apart from that, my views about realism, phenomenalism, and so on, are tangential to theipreseht essay. 101 greement about the c o l o r o f some s p e c i f i c t h i n g or s o r t o f t h i n g , say crude o i l . Group A c a l l s t h i s s o r t o f t h i n g b l u e , and cannot d i s t i n g u i s h c i t s c o l o r from t h a t o f the deep s e a , w h i l e Group B c a l l s t h i s s o r t o f t h i n g y e l l o w , and cannot d i s t i n g u i s h i t s c o l o r from t h a t o f a r i p e banana. Tanner su g g e s t s . ' t h i s as a case i n which t h e r e would be no r e f e r e n c e group, and so presumably, no o b j e c t i v i t y , or a t 7 0 l e a s t none o f the k i n d I have been d i s c u s s i n g . My i n - c l i n a t i o n i s t o handle the example q u i t e d i f f e r e n t l y . I would say i ) t h a t t h e r e is a r e f e r e n c e group i n t h i s c a s e , namely the c o l o r r e f e r e n c e group, which i s {ex hypothesi ) the e n t i r e p o p u l a t i o n ; and i i ) t h a t i t i s p r e c i s e l y because the r e f e r e n c e group i s d i v i d e d as to the c o l o r o f crude o i l t h a t i t makes no sense t o t a l k o f " t h e " c c o l o r o f crude o i l . In o t h e r words, here i s a case o f a t h i n g h a v i n g a number o f e x p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s i n the area o f c o l o r , none o f which i s pre-eminent. ( T h i s i s not t o say t h a t crude o i l i s " c o l o r l e s s " . ) I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note an a c t u a l case which i s v e r y c l o s e to Tanner's h y p o t h e t i c a l one: the case o f p h e n o l - t h i o - u r e a , which t a s t e s i n t e n s e l y b i t t e r t o a f a i r l y s i z a b l e p r o p o r t i o n o f the normal and s e n s i t i v e e h u m a n t a s t e r s , but t a s t e s " t a s t e l e s s " ( l i k e water) to the r e s t . J o n a t h a n Tanner, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," p. 57. 102 Bennett has s a i d that i n t h i s case we cannot s e n s i b l y t a l k 71 of "the" t a s t e of the substance. This i s , of course, not to say that the substance i s t a s t e l e s s . (Water i s t a s t e - l e s s . " T a s t e l e s s " i s what "the" t a s t e of water i s c a l l e d ) . I t i s ra t h e r to assert r e l a t i v i s m . I t i s to say that the substance phenol-thio-urea has a number of e x p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t i e s i n the area of t a s t e , none of which i s pre- eminent. And that i s to as s e r t a l i m i t e d r e l a t i v i s m . But there i s nothing i n the a s s e r t i o n of r e l a t i v i s m here that i m p l i e s that the t a s t i n g of t a s t e s i s not an o b j e c t i v e business. There i s nothing i m p l i c i t i n the a s s e r t i o n of r e l a t i v i s m here that denies the a v a i l a b i l i t y of a d e c i s i o n procedure or a reference group of observers, even f o r phenol-thio-urea. S i m i l a r l y , i n Tanner's h y p o t h e t i c a l case I would suggest that the f a i l u r e of the appropriate d e c i - s i o n procedure to y i e l d settlements i n some s p e c i f i c and l i m i t e d range of cases would not show that we hadn't any d e c i s i o n procedures, or even that we hadn't any r e f e r e e s . We assent to r e l a t i v i s m i n such i s o l a t e d cases p r e c i s e l y because the d e c i s i o n procedures we do have f a i l to do t h e i r j obs. Jonathan Bennett, "Substance, Reality, and Primary Qualities," The American Philosophical Quarterly, 2 (1965), 9. 103 CHAPTER V The r e s u l t s of Chapter IV, and the a n a l y s i s of c o l o r o b j e c t i v i t y , move us somewhat c l o s e r to a settlement of the issue of o b j e c t i v i t y i n a e s t h e t i c s . We can at l e a s t see what the i m p l i c a t i o n s of the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy would be f o r a e s t h e t i c s . We can at l e a s t see what so r t of a e s t h e t i c analogue we are l o o k i n g f o r . I f the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s ana- logy has anything f u r t h e r to o f f e r toward a e s t h e t i c objec- t i v i t y , then what we are l o o k i n g f o r i s a reference group of observers to whose experiences we might appeal f o r the settlement of a e s t h e t i c d i s p u t e s ; and we know what some of the considerations are that w i l l be re l e v a n t to our s e l e c - t i o n of such a group. I f , as would seem l i k e l y , the aes- t h e t i c a l l y s e n s i t i v e are few and f a r between, we w i l l want to know how subtle the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s they make are, whether or not there are c o r r e l a t i v e nonaesthetic d i f f e r - ences between objects they d i s t i n g u i s h a e s t h e t i c a l l y , and how important or valuable t h e i r a b i l i t y to make a e s t h e t i c d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s i s . Having s e l e c t e d an a e s t h e t i c reference group, we would be able to i d e n t i f y , by reference to i t s members' a e s t h e t i c experiences, c e r t a i n e x p o s i t i o n a l a e s t h e t i c pro- p e r t i e s of an object as pre-eminent. By reference to the 104 a e s t h e t i c e x p e r i e n c e s o f members o f g r o u p s o t h e r t h a n t h e r e f e r e n c e g r o u p , we c o u l d e s t a b l i s h o b j e c t s t o h a v e a d d i - t i o n a l e x p o s i t i o n a l a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , b u t t h e s e w o u l d h a v e a s t a t u s a n a l o g o u s t o t h e d i s p o s i t i o n s t h a t c o l o r e d t h i n g s h a v e t o o c c a s i o n t h e v i s u a l e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h e c o l o r - b l i n d : t h e y w o u l d b e t n o H-preTeminent e x p o s i t i o n a l a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s o f t h e o b j e c t . When a d i s p u t e a r i s e s a b o u t an o b j e c t as t o w h e t h e r o r n o t a c e r t a i n f e a t u r e ( s a y a c o l o r o r an a e s t h e t i c f e a t u r e ) i s among " i t s p r o p e r t i e s " , i t i s w i t h what I h a v e c a l l e d t h e p r e - e m i n e n t e x p o s i t i o n a l p r o p e r t y t h a t we w o u l d be c o n c e r n e d . T h u s , w h e r e t h e c o l o r o f an o b j e c t i s t h e one o f i t s e x p o - s i t i o n a l c o l o r p r o p e r t i e s w h i c h i s p r e - e m i n e n t , and n o t any o f i t s n o n - p r e - e m i n e n t e x p o s i t i o n a l c o l o r p r o p e r t i e s , l i k e - w i s e i n t h e c a s e o f a e s t h e t i c s : An o b j e c t ' s " a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s " w o u l d be t h o s e o f i t s e x p o s i t i o n a l a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s w h i c h a r e p r e - e m i n e n t . The n o n - p r e - e m i n e n t e x p o - s i t i o n a l a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s o f an o b j e c t w o u l d n o t be among i t s " a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s " , t h o u g h t h e y w o u l d be p r o p e r t i e s o f t h e o b j e c t i n t h e p e r f e c t l y g o o d s e n s e t h a t t h e o b j e c t w o u l d g e n u i n e l y h a v e t h e d i s p o s i t i o n s i n q u e s t i o n , and t h o u g h t h e y w o u l d be a e s t h e t i c i n t h e s e n s e t h a t t h e e x p e r i e n c e s t h e y m a n i f e s t t h e m s e l v e s i n w o u l d be a e s t h e t i c , r a t h e r t h a n 105 c o l o r , or o l f a c t o r y , or texture ones,''6 A l l of t h i s depends on the relevant v i a b i l i t y of the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c analogy. Because I am sympathetic to aes- t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s m , and also because I f e e l that the analogy has been traduced, I have t r i e d so f a r to develop the ana- logy s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y , and to p r o t e c t i t against attack. In so doing, I do not present a knock-down argument f o r aes- t h e t i c o b j e c t i v i s m , since I leave i t open f o r r e l a t i v i s t s to continue to probe the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy f o r f a t a l flaws. However, should the analogy f a i l , we have seen that r e l a t i v i s m would s t i l l not be i n e v i t a b l e . This being so, I '̂  There i s an interesting difference between the colors case and the aesthetic case, as regards the ways in which we might talk about non-pre-eminent expositional properties: Owing partly to some of the re- ceived central functions of art works, i t would be much more important generally to know about and talk about the capacity of a given work to occasion aesthetic experiences in observers who are not aesthetic referees, than i t is to know about or talk about the analogous capacities of objects in the area of color. We care l i t t l e what non-pre-eminent expositional color properties a thing has, but we might care a great deal about the non-pre-eminent expositional aesthetic properties of a novel or a sym- phony. Suppose the reference group of listeners turned out not to in- clude those whotfind Beethoven's music profound, but rather those who find i t repititious, finding Shoenberg or Webern profound instead. Now, where we readily say of an object that i t is red, but only seems grey to the color-blind observer, we might prefer to say of Beethoven's 9th, not that i t only seems profound to nonereference-group listeners, but that i t really is profound for them. This need not disrupt the colors/aes- thetics analogy: To say that the red object only seems grey to the color-blind observer should not be construed as denying the object's capacity to occasion a phenomenally grey experience in the color-blind observer, a capacity genuinely had by the red object; and to say that Beethoven's 9th really i s profound for some non-reference-group listeners would be consistent with denying that profundity i s among i t s "aesthetic properties". 106 am content to devote t h i s chapter to the modest task of de- fending the p l a u s i b i l i t y of the analogy against two s o r t s of o b j e c t i o n . One i n t e r e s t i n g outcome of Chapter IV i s the n o t i o n of d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y . This n o t i o n seems a f i n d , f o r as i t turns out, c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y , s e n s i t i v i t y to s m e l l s , s e n s i t i v i t y to t a s t e s , s e n s i t i v i t y to temperatures, r e l a - t i v e p i t c h , and so on, can all be analyzed i n terms of i t . I t i s a b i t embarrassing that d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y d i d not present i t s e l f straightaway as the way to begin an ana- l y s i s of aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y . The very word " s e n s i t i v i t y " seems to suggest an a b i l i t y , not u n i v e r s a l l y shared, to d i f f e r e n t i a t e . But i t i s also understandable that the n o t i o n of d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y should emerge as an im- portant one as the d i s c u s s i o n of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y reaches advanced stages, because the n o t i o n of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y comes i n i t i a l l y t i e d to the o b j e c t i v i t y i s s u e , which comes i t s e l f i n i t i a l l y i n rather confused shape. I t has been argued though that problems e x i s t even f o r a d i s c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y a n a l y s i s of a e s t h e t i c s e n s i - t i v i t y , and so, problems f o r the f u r t h e r p u r s u i t of the c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s analogy. One supposed problem has to do w i t h an assymetry between c o l o r s and a e s t h e t i c features as regards d i s c r i m i - 107 n a t i o n t e s t s . In the case of c o l o r s , the notion of d i s - c r i m i n a t o r y c a p a c i t y i s informed by c e r t a i n s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and persuasive t e s t i n g procedures, such as the colored-dots t e s t s used by optometrists and hidden-labels t e s t s such as I described above i n Chapter IV. Micheal Tanner suggests that s i m i l a r l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d t e s t i n g procedures would, i n a e s t h e t i c s , be much l e s s persuasive, owing to the emergence of a e s t h e t i c f e a t u r e s . . . . i t is sensible to say that two objects differ only in respect of their colours, but not to say that two objects differ only in respect of their aesthetic properties. . . Since this is so, the ways in which we t e l l whether a per- son has acute color discrimination, and the ways in which we t e l l whether he has acute aesthetic perception, are markedly different i n their logical character. For the best way of testing a person's colour discriminations would be e.g. to present him with a set of cards, identical in appearance except for their colouring, and get him to sort them, and then after shuffling, to re-sort them, as often and as much as we f e l t necessary for ruling out chance, co- incidence, or whatever. This procedure i s simple, straight- forward, unproblematic. But unfortunately there is nothing at a l l l i k e i t that we can do in the aesthetic case. It is impossible to test a person's aesthetic discriminations with- out also testing some of his non-aesthetic discriminations. And this means that whereas the colour-tester might himself be colour-blind, and have to rely on numbers on the reverse side of the cards to see that they had been properly sorted, yet he would have no grounds for scepticism as to the objec- t i v i t y of colours, the aesthetic tester, i f he was himself lacking in any capacity for aesthetic discrimination, might say, "There's nothing more to a l l this aesthetic-properties talk than the fact that some people l i k e some shapes, and c a l l them 'graceful', while disliking others, which they c a l l 'meandering'. I can see as well as they can that the shapes are different; but there is no further objective dif- ference between them than that which anyone with normal eye- sight could perceive. . . 7 7 Tanner, "Objectivity and Aesthetics," pp. 61-62. 108 The s c e p t i c a l move Tanner deploys here sounds at f i r s t both p l a u s i b l e and devastating. However I have a measure of s u s p i c i o n about the caution of Tanner's s c e p t i c . I t may be no more than a general, and (despite the appear- ance of astute care) u n c r i t i c a l fear of being taken i n by a s o r t of "emperor's t a i l o r " . Tanner's move i s not as simple as i t at f i r s t appears, and I want to show how by disassembling i t one may be able to d i v e s t i t of some of i t s appeal. i ) F i r s t of a l l , i f the s c e p t i c i s m goes through here, i t only works i n i t i a l l y against t e s t i n g procedures as s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d as those we i n f a c t use f o r c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y . I t does not show that l e s s s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d a e s t h e t i c s e n s i - t i v i t y t e s t s could not be formulated which would be as per- suasive as the quite s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d c o l o r ones. i i ) But before r e t r e a t i n g even t h i s f a r , i t i s worth not i n g that while the current c o l o r - d i s c r i m i n a t i o n t e s t s are both r e l a t i v e l y simple and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d , they are not n e a r l y so unproblematic as Tanner suggests. To show t h i s I o f f e r two thought experiments, (whose very p o s s i b i l i t y makes the s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d s i m p l i c i t y of persuasive c o l o r - d i s c r i - mination t e s t s p r o b l e m a t i c ) . a) Suppose every d i s c r i m i n a b l e d i f f e r e n c e i n c o l o r corresponded to a d i s c r i m i n a b l e d i f f e r e n c e i n shape, so that 109 a t h i n g c o u l d not undergo a n o t i c e a b l e change i n c o l o r with- out s u f f e r i n g i n a d d i t i o n a n o t i c e a b l e change i n shape. On t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n i t would be impossible to d i s p l a y to anyone a set of t e s t i n g samples i d e n t i c a l i n every d i s c r i m i n a b l e r e s p e c t save c o l o r , l i k e the below, but only one l i k e the below, i n which both c o l o r and shape were v a r i e d . Thus i t would be i m p o s s i b l e , on t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n , to t e s t a person's c a p a c i t y to d i s c r i m i n a t e c o l o r s without a l s o t e s t i n g h i s c a p a c i t y to d i s c r i m i n a t e shapes, so that a t o t a l l y achromatic c o l o r - s e n s i t i v i t y - t e s t e r might say, "There's no more to t h i s c o l o r s t a l k than the f a c t that some people r e a c t i n one say to one shape and c a l l i t 'red', w h ile r e a c t i n g i n other ways to other shapes, c a l l i n g them 'yellow' or 'orange'. I can see as w e l l as they can that the shapes are different, but there i s no f u r t h e r objective d i f f e r e n c e between them." The f i r s t thought experiment i s intended to show that the presuasiveness of simple and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d t e s t s f o r 110 c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s not unproblematic. On a c e r t a i n , not inconceivable hypothesis, the assymetry Tanner claims be- tween a e s t h e t i c judgement and c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n vis a vis s e n s i t i v i t y t e s t s can be e l i m i n a t e d . Color s e n s i t i v i t y i s l e f t open to the same s c e p t i c a l challenge as Tanner's scep- t i c l e v e l s against a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . "But", i t might be p r o t e s t e d , "even though the assy- metry can be e l i m i n a t e d , as you say, on a c e r t a i n conceivable hypothesis, the e l i m i n a t i o n of i t r e q u i r e s , i n any case, an hypothesis, and a w i l d l y f a r - f e t c h e d one at t h a t . Color d i f f e r e n c e s and d i f f e r e n c e s i n shape are not connected as i n the f i r s t hypothesis, and i f they were, the world would be, to say the l e a s t , a rather d i f f e r e n t s o r t of place than i t i s . So, while you may have e s t a b l i s h e d that i n a cer- t a i n p o s s i b l e world s c e p t i c i s m w i t h respect to c o l o r sen- s i t i v i t y would be supportable alongside s c e p t i c i s m w i t h re- spect to a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , such s c e p t i c i s m w i t h respect to c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y i s not i n f a c t supportable i n t h i s world, while s c e p t i c i s m w i t h respect to a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y j u s t is." This brings me to the second thought experiment. b) Let us not forget that there are, i f we are to b e l i e v e current t h e o r i e s about the behavior of l i g h t , d i f - ferences which correspond to and always accompany d i s c r i m - i n a b l e d i f f e r e n c e s i n c o l o r . We needn't p o s i t a f a r - f e t c h e d I l l correspondence between c o l o r and shape d i f f e r e n c e s i n order to challenge Tanner's assymetry. Since any d i s c r i m i n a b l e d i f f e r e n c e i n c o l o r i s , so we t h i n k , n e c e s s a r i l y accompanied by a d i f f e r e n c e i n the wave lengths of r e f l e c t e d l i g h t , we cannot (mutatis mutandis from Tanner) t e s t a person's ca p a c i t y to d i s c r i m i n a t e c o l o r s , without also t e s t i n g h i s capacity to d i s c r i m i n a t e wave lengths of l i g h t . We are nowhere near as good at d i s c r i m i n a t i n g wave lengths as we are at d i s - c r i m i n a t i n g c o l o r s - and shapes. But suppose we were a l l p h y s i o l o g i c a l l y so equipped as to be able to see l i g h t waves and to d i s c r i m i n a t e t h e i r lengths i n Angstrom u n i t s w i t h the naked eye. Then a t o t a l l y achromatic c o l o r - s e n s i - t i v i t y - t e s t e r , nonetheless p e r f e c t l y "normal" i n h i s a b i l i t y to d i s c r i m i n a t e wave lengths, might say, "There's nothing more to t h i s c o l o r s t a l k than that some people react on way to objects r e f l e c t i n g l i g h t of c e r t a i n wave lengths and c a l l them 'red', while r e a c t i n g i n other ways to ob- j e c t s r e f l e c t i n g other wave lengths, c a l l i n g them 'yellow' or 'orange'. I can see as w e l l as they can that the objects are different i n respect of the l i g h t waves they r e f l e c t , but there i s no f u r t h e r objective d i f f e r e n c e between them." A l l I can so f a r have shown by e n t e r t a i n i n g the above hypotheses i s that the persuasiveness of simple and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y t e s t s i s problematic. I t 112 i s open f o r Tanner, or someone f o l l o w i n g Tanner, now to suggest that were we so equipped as to be able to t e l l wave length d i f f e r e n c e s w i t h the naked eye, s c e p t i c i s m would be appropriate f o r c o l o r s e n s i t i v i t y as well as aes- t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . This takes f o r granted the sense and force of Tanner's s c e p t i c ' s i n i t i a l move against a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y , and i t seems to me s t i l l that there i s some- th i n g odd about i t . i i i ) We speak of doubt (and of scepticism) as of the s o r t of t h i n g that one sometimes has room f o r - (eg. of c e r t a i n t y as a c o n d i t i o n i n which there i s not any room f o r doubt). What I want to explore now i s what i t i s that makes room f o r the doubt df :Tanner's s c e p t i c about simple and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d s e n s i t i v i t y t e s t s , and then what i t i s that prompts or occasions h i s doubt, once there i s room f o r i t . Tanner's s c e p t i c takes, as h i s o s t e n s i b l e beginning p o i n t , a logical assymetry between c o l o r s and a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s : the emergence of a e s t h e t i c f e a t u r e s . Tanner suggests that i t i s t h i s logical assymetry that makes f o r the f u r t h e r assymetry between s e n s i t i v i t y t e s t persuasive- nesses. Since I suppose there is the l o g i c a l assymetry to which Tanner r e f e r s , I wonder how i t i s that my thought experiments work, how i t i s t h a t , on c e r t a i n hypotheses, s t r i c t l y s y m e t r i c a l s c e p t i c a l challenges can be l e v e l l e d 113 against color s e n s i t i v i t y tests. I suggest that what makes the doubt in the aesthetic case possible is not the emer- gence of aesthetic features at a l l , but something which i s equally present in the colors case, something which makes the doubt dubious. Suppose we are testing for color s e n s i t i v i t y . A precondition for doubt about color s e n s i t i v i t y i s that there be possible an alternative or c o r r e l a t i v e set of differences between test samples, a set of differences other than or additional to those the s e n s i t i v i t y to which we are testing for. The precondition i s necessary for the doubt. The c o l o r - b l i n d c o l o r - s e n s i t i v i t y - t e s t e r would have no room to doubt the performance of his subject at discriminating the test samples by color but for the p o s s i b i l i t y of alterna- tiv e differences (shape differences, for instance) by means of which the subject might have been discriminating. But we can also see that the precondition i s s u f f i c i e n t for the s c e p t i c a l opening. Wherever such a p o s s i b i l i t y e x i s t s , there i s room for the kind of doubt Tanner's sceptic ex- presses. But then we are well on the way to t r i v i a l i z i n g Tanner's sce p t i c a l move. He is not, i n i t i a l appearances to the contrary, probing a special s c e p t i c a l opening at a l l . Aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y , so far from being a special case of v u l n e r a b i l i t y to scepticism, is on a par, not only with 114 color s e n s i t i v i t y , but with any other sort of s e n s i t i v i t y you care to name, as far as room for doubt goes. Tanner finds the s c e p t i c a l opening an impressive feature of the aesthetic case; what impresses me is how unimpressive that opening in aesthetics r e a l l y i s . The s c e p t i c a l opening i s ubiquitous, mundane; in f a c t , i t cannot in p r i n c i p l e be closed. There is always the p o s s i b i l i t y of alternative sets of differences, so there is always room for doubt. iv) Why is i t then that Tanner probes s c e p t i c a l l y at aesthetic s e n s i t i v i t y and not at color s e n s i t i v i t y ? Per- haps i t i s because the s c e p t i c a l opening in the aesthetic case seems an especially gaping one. Perhaps the aesthetic case seems an especially good occasion for doubt. Why should th i s be? Each of my hypotheses involves, over and above the p o s s i b i l i t y of c o r r e l a t i v e sets of differences, a supposi- tion that the p o s s i b i l i t y i s actualized. The supposition that there are actual c o r r e l a t i v e differences prompts the doubt that their p o s s i b i l i t y makes room for. But as the second hypothesis makes clear, this supposition i s not enough to explain Tanner's taxing aesthetics while exempting colors. Of course there i s also the l o g i c a l assymetry between color talk and aesthetic t a l k , which highlights the scep- t i c a l opening in aesthetics. A c o r r e l a t i o n between sets of 115 differences i s l o g i c a l l y guaranteed i n the aesthetic case, (by the emergence of aesthetic features), where i t is in other cases a matter of empirical fact, and where in s t i l l other cases we have to imagine i t . These l o g i c a l gradations do not, however, make the s c e p t i c a l move any more or less appropriate in a given case; a c o r r e l a t i o n which i s cer- tain is more possible than one which is (merely) possible. Another part of the story involves the s e n s i t i v i t y - tester's supposed direct awareness of the alternative or c o r r e l a t i v e differences as something which occasions the doubt that there i s room for, The c o l o r - b l i n d color-sen- s i t i v i t y - t e s t e r would have no less room, but less occasion, or so i t might seem, for doubt i f he were not himself able with the unaided eye to discriminate' between the test samples by shape or by wave length differences. Cf. Tanner's scep- t i c : "I can see as well as they can that the shapes are d i f f e r e n t . . ." In each of my hypotheses, over and above the a c t u a l i t y of c o r r e l a t i v e differences, i t i s supposed that the c o l o r - s e n s i t i v i t y - t e s t e r is d i r e c t l y aware of the c o r r e l a t i v e differences, and can pick them out with the un- aided eye. But to assume a s c e p t i c a l pose in such an i n - stance i s to assume quite a b i t besides, for notice that the very same wave length differences, when discovered by the use of spectrometric instruments, serve to support, not to challenge, the positive findings of simple color s e n s i T 116 t i v i t y t e s t s . I am tempted r a t h e r c y n i c a l l y t o add t o a l l t h i s t h a t i n Tanner's passage, as i n my two h y p o t h e s e s , the s c e p t i c i s assumed to have a c e r t a i n insensitivity. Tanner's s e n s i - t i v i t y t e s t e r i s supposed t o be a e s t h e t i c a l l y i n s e n s i t i v e ; i n my examples the c o l o r t e s t e r i s supposed t o be c o l o r - b l i n d . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h i s c o n n e c t i o n t h a t scep- t i c i s m seems most e a s i l y r a i s e d a g a i n s t a kind , as opposed t o a h e i g h t e n e d degree, of s e n s i t i v i t y . One's i n s e n s i t i v i t y might incline one toward s c e p t i c i s m about s e n s i t i v i t y , but i t would not w a r r a n t i t . I don't t h i n k we would s u p p o r t an analogous s o r t o f s c e p t i c i s m where t a s t e and s m e l l d i f f e r - ences c o i n c i d e . I t might be d i f f i c u l t t o convince a s m e l l - d e f e c t i v e p e r s o n , w i t h normal t a s t e buds, t h a t we can s m e l l d i f f e r e n c e s between o b j e c t s as w e l l as t a s t e them. T h i s would p r o v i d e no c o m p e l l i n g e v i d e n c e f o r the v i e w t h a t ob- j e c t s w h i c h d i f f e r i n t a s t e do not a l s o d i f f e r i n s m e l l . I f Tanner's o b j e c t i o n i s g e n e r a l i z a b l e and so l o s e s f o r c e , t h e r e i s a second o b s t a c l e w h i c h has i t s r o o t s s p e c i - f i c a l l y i n t h e o r y o f a r t c r i t i c i s m . Numerous w r i t e r s on the t h e o r y o f c r i t i c i s m have s u g g e s t e d t h a t a r t c r i t i c i s m may be l o g i c a l l y p e c u l i a r , t h a t i t may not share c e r t a i n l o g i c a l f e a t u r e s o f the b e h a v i o r o f c o l o r t a l k . The pecu- l i a r i t i e s , which have o c c a s i o n e d r e a c t i o n s r a n g i n g from 117 Northrop Frye's attempt to rescue the c o g n i t i v i t y of a r t c r i t i c i s m by systematizing the a r t c r i t i c a l vocabulary, to Henri Bergson's doc t r i n e s of the absolute i n e f f a b i l i t y of the a r t work, and the profound f u t i l i t y of a l l v e r b a l i z i n g about a r t , are thought to i n v o l v e the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of saying the same a r t c r i t i c a l t h i n g about two d i s t i n c t aes- t h e t i c o b j e c t s . This seems to have been behind §10 of Wittgenstein's Lectures on A e s t h e t i c s : Such words as 'pompous' and 'stately' could be expressed by faces. Doing this our descriptions would be much more flexible and various than they are as expressed by adjec- tives. If I say of a piece of Schubert's that i t is mel- ancholy, that is l i k e giving i t a face. . . I could i n ^ stead use gestures or dancing. In fact, if we want to be exact, we do use a gesture or a facial expression.-. And i t seems to have i n f l u e n c e d Arnold Isenberg when he n o t i c e d that Reading criticism, otherwise than in the presence, or the direct recollection, of the objects discussed i s a blank and senseless employment.7_ Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief, ed. C y r i l Barrett (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), p. 10, my emphasis; for a somewhat different reading of Wittgenstein, see Micheal Tanner, "Wittgenstein and Aesthetics," The Oxford Review, No. 3 (Michealmas, 1966), pp. 15-16. If I were a good draughtsman, I could convey an innumerr able number of expressions with four strokes. 75 Isenberg, p. 139. 118 and then went on somewhat g i n g e r l y to speculate that the meaning of [even] a word li k e 'assonance'. . . i s in c r i t i c a l usage never twice the same. . . 7g I may be stretching usages by the senses I am about to assign to certain words, but i t seems that the c r i t i c ' s meaning is ' f i l l e d i n ' , 'rounded out', or 'completed' by the act of perception, which i s performed not to judge the truth of his description, but i n a certain sense to understand ^-JJ These speculations seem i n a way n a t u r a l . But taken l i t e r a l l y they lead to the i m p l a u s i b l e p o s i t i o n that there are no a e s t h e t i c concepts, or (what i s the same thing) that d e s c r i p t i o n i s impossible i n a r t c r i t i c i s m . ( I ' l l c a l l t h i s the Non-Descriptive, or ND t h e s i s , f o r s h o r t ) . A con- cept, by i t s nature, must be m u l t i p l y i n s t a n t i a b l e . But to describe something i s to b r i n g i t under a u n i v e r s a l , to say that i t i n s t a n t i a t e s a concept. Therefore the use of a term as d e s c r i p t i v e r e q u i r e s that i t be p o s s i b l e to apply the term t r u l y and without change i n meaning i n a p l u r a l i t y of cases. This may be put i n terms of p r o p e r t i e s : to des- c r i b e a t h i n g as having a c e r t a i n property r e q u i r e s that the property be shareable. Thus i f one i s l o g i c a l l y barred i n an area of d i s c o u r s e , from applying any term t r u l y and without change i n meaning i n a p l u r a l i t y of cases, then that Ibid. p. .140. Ibid. p. 137. 119 area i n v o l v e s no concepts, no shareable p r o p e r t i e s , and l o g i c a l l y excludes d e s c r i p t i o n . The ND t h e s i s would have unfortunate consequences f o r my p u r s u i t of o b j e c t i v i t y i n a e s t h e t i c s . Though i t i s not p r i m a facie l o g i c a l l y i m p o s s i b l e f o r there to be d e c i - s i o n procedures f o r s e t t l i n g d i s p u t e s i n an area which l o g i - c a l l y excludes d e s c r i p t i o n , i t i s u n l i k e l y that such d e c i - s i o n procedures could be much l i k e c o l o r d e c i s i o n procedures. Color s e n s i t i v i t y may be understood as a measure of the number of c o l o r concepts at one's command. But i f there are no a e s t h e t i c concepts, the analogous c o n s t r u a l of aes- t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y seems blocked. However, i t is p r i m a facie i m p l a u s i b l e to suppose a whole area o f d i s c o u r s e , even a r t c r i t i c i s m , to exclude des- c r i p t i o n . I t seems t h a t there are a e s t h e t i c concepts, t h a t there are s e v e r a l gaudy t h i n g s , s e v e r a l g r a c e f u l t h i n g s , and so on. How does such an i m p l a u s i b l e p o s i t i o n a r i s e ? Let us d i s t i n g u i s h between determinate and (sub-) determinable p r o p e r t i e s as f o l l o w s : A determinate p r o p e r t y i s such t h a t two o b j e c t s which have i t are i n that r e s p e c t q u a l i t a t i v e l y i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . A (sub-)determinable p r o p e r t y i s such that two o b j e c t s which have i t need not. be i n that r e s p e c t q u a l i t a t i v e l y i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . Thus e l l i p s e s A, B, and C 120 A B c share the determinable property of being shaped (non amor- phous) and the sub-determinable property of being e l l i p - t i c a l , while A and B share a determinate property d i f f e r e n t from that had by C. Thus al s o blueness i s a sub-determinable property shared by a number of t h i n g s : a sub-set of the things which share the determinable pro- perty of being c o l o r e d , and each of which has a determinate c o l o r shared only by things from which i t cannot be d i s t i n - 7 8 guished by c o l o r . An object's determinate c o l o r (even i f the object can be d i s t i n g u i s h e d by c o l o r from everything else i n the universe) i s shareable. Thus i n c o l o r a t t r i b u t i o n , one describes an object whether one i s t a l k i n g about i t s sub- I am following the usage of C.W.K. Mundle in his Perception: Facts and Theories, (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), p, 133. The difference between determinable and sub-determinable properties (both on the same side of the main distinction), may be construed in a number of ways, but i t involves at least a difference in level of generality. 121 d e t e r m i n a b l e or i t s d e t e r m i n a t e c o l o r ; and t h e r e a r e b o t h s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e and d e t e r m i n a t e c o l o r c o n c e p t s . B u t t h e r e seems t o b e r e a s o n t o s u p p o s e t h i s m i g h t n o t b e t h e c a s e i n a r t c r i t i c i s m . T h e r e seems t o be r e a s o n t o s u p p o s e t h a t an o b j e c t ' s d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s m i g h t n o t be s h a r e - a b l e . I s e n b e r g b e l i e v e s a t l e a s t t h i s m u c h . B u t when he c l a i m s t h a t t h e m e a n i n g o f a w o r d l i k e " a s s o n a n c e " i s i n c r i t i c a l u s a g e " n e v e r t w i c e t h e s a m e " , he a p p a r e n t l y moves f r o m t h e a s s u m e d n o n - s h a r e a b i l i t y o f d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s t o t h e n o n - s h a r e a b i l i t y o f a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s f u l l s t o p . B u t i t d o e s n o t f o l l o w f r o m t h e r e b e i n g no d e t e r - m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c c o n c e p t s t h a t t h e r e a r e no a e s t h e t i c c o n - c e p t s . T h e r e m i g h t f o r a l l t h a t be s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e a e s - t h e t i c c o n c e p t s . T h e r e i s p e r h a p s an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h i s non sequitur. I f one h e l d t h a t t h e g o a l o f a r t c r i t i c i s m was s p e c i f i c a l l y n o t t o p o i n t o u t s i m i l a r i t i e s b e t w e e n o b j e c t s w h i c h s h a r e s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , b u t r a t h e r t o p o i n t o u t t h e d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s o f e a c h (a s u p p o s i r t i o n s u p p o r t e d t o an e x t e n t b y t h e p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f m e t a p h o r i n a r t c r i t i c i s m ) , and i f one h e l d i n a d d i t i o n t h a t d e t e r - m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s w e r e n o n - s h a r e a b l e , one m i g h t be i n c l i n e d t o r e - i n t e r p r e t a l l r e f e r e n c e t o an o b j e c t ' s s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s a s p a r t o f a n e c e s r 122 s a r i l y r o u n d - a b o u t way o f i n d i c a t i n g w h a t t h e o b j e c t ' s n o n - 79 s h a r e a b l e d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s a r e . H o w e v e r one c a n n o t c o n c l u d e f r o m t h i s t h a t t h e l o g i c o f a r t c r i t i - c i s m e x c l u d e s d e s c r i p t i o n , f o r one m i g h t w e l l s a y t h a t as p a r t o f t h e n e c e s s a r i l y r o u n d - a b o u t way o f i n d i c a t i n g an o b j e c t ' s n o n - s h a r e a b l e d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , one f i n d s o n e s e l f describing i t i n t e r m s o f i t s s h a r e a b l e i s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e o n e s . I t s h o u l d be n o t i c e d t h a t , t h o u g h t h e ND t h e s i s i s i m p l a u s i b l e , and so f a r as I c a n s e e , w i t h o u t f o u n d a t i o n , i t i s n o t , a s some m i g h t t h i n k , i n c o h e r e n t . I t i s somewhat e n - t r e n c h e d t h a t a l l m e a n i n g and c o m m u n i c a t i o n a r e e s s e n t i a l l y l i n g u i s t i c and t h e r e f o r e c o n v e n t i o n a l . So i t m i g h t seem t h a t f o r a r t c r i t i c i s m t o be m e a n i n g f u l ( i . e . c o n v e n t i o n a l ) i t w o u l d h a v e t o i n v o l v e c o n c e p t s . I t w o u l d h a v e t o be p o s s i b l e t o e m p l o y a c r i t i c a l e x p r e s s i o n t r u l y a n d w i t h o u t c h a n g e i n m e a n i n g i n a p l u r a l i t y o f c a s e s . So i t w o u l d s o u n d p a r a d o x i c a l t o t a l k o f a r t c r i t i c i a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n a n d o f m e a n i n g i n a r t c r i t i c i s m i f one h e l d t h a t t h e r e w e r e 79 I am not t e r r i b l y concerned t o second guess I senberg ' s t r a i n o f thought. Neverthe les s there i s ev idence to support t h i s r ead ing o f him: eg. h i s treatment o f G o l d s c h i e d e r ' s c r i t i c a l remarks on The Burial of Count Orgaz, " C r i t i c a l Communication," p. 137; C f , Hampshire, " L o g i c and A p p r e c i a t i o n , " p. 166; John Wisdom, "Things and Pe r son s , " i n Philo- sophy and Psychoanalysis, (Oxford: B a s i l B l a c k w e l l , 1953), p. 222; J . A . Passmore, "The Drear iness o f A e s t h e t i c s , " Mind, 60 (1951), 318^335. 123 no a e s t h e t i c concepts. One would want to know how a r t c r i t i - cism can be w r i t t e n , read, and understood i f objects cannot be described a e s t h e t i c a l l y . The e x p l a n a t i o n , i f i t i s to be had, requires a ra t h e r lengthy excursion through the theory of meaning, which can- not be undertaken here. I w i l l only sketch the l i n e s along which an explanation might be pursued. A f i r s t step would be to adopt a "meaning-nominalist 8 0 s t r a t e g y " , i ) i n which meaning i n language, which i s con- v e n t i o n a l , i s t r e a t e d as a species of meaning i n general, i i ) i n which i t i s taken that not all meaning i s co n v e n t i o n a l , and i i i ) i n which an account of the n o t i o n of meaning i n general i s sought without appeal to e i t h e r the concepts of language or convention, but rat h e r as a f u n c t i o n of the 81 u t t e r e r ' s i n t e n t i o n s . The s t r a t e g y , i f s u c c e s s f u l , enables us to regard c e r t a i n e x t r a - l i n g u i s t i c performances, and even c e r t a i n performances which have no conventional b a s i s as meaningful. o u A term taken from Jonathan Bennett, "The MeaningrNominalist Strategy," foundations of Language, 10 (May, 1973), 141-168. There are of course reasons independent of my current predicament for adopting such an approach to meaning. The approach is attractive for example in that i t can deal with a problem faced by more conventional theories of meaning: how to explain the origin of meaning conventions. 81 See H.P. Grice, "Meaning," The Philosophical Review, 66 (1957), 377-388, reprinted in Philosophical Logic, ed. P.F. Strawson (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 39-48. 124 Cases of meaning need not in any way involve conventional meaning: someone who utters something giving i t a certain meaning need not be conforming to any convention for utter- ances of that kind, nor need he be flouting or extending or launching or trying to conform to a convention.g^ The next stage would involve arguing that not a l l l i n g u i s t i c meaning need be through and through l i n g u i s t i c , more pre c i s e l y , that not a l l meaning in language need be through and through conventional: someone may utter words, giving them a certain meaning, yet he need not be conforming to or launching or try i n g to conform to any conventions for those words. The thesis that i t i s possible for an expression i n a language to be used on an occasion non-conventionally yet meaningfully is connected with a defense against a certain well known objection to meaning-nominalism, to the effect that meaning i n language cannot be a function of utterers' intentions. The objection: If the utterer's intentions determined meaning, then an utterer could mean anything by any expression in any set of circumstances, which is absurd. In other words, i t i s contested that meaning-nominalism vio- lates a certain regularity-guaranteeing p r i n c i p l e of meaning in language. 82 Bennett, "The Meaning-Nominalist Strategy," p. 141; "utter- ance" is here construed broadly a la Grice, loo. ait. I shall follow this usage. 125 [T]he principle. . . i s that the conventions of one's lan- guage dictate the meaning of one's words, and intentions are powerless to intervene. . . [T]heories of meaning that take the intentions of speakers as primitive. . . must either deny the principle or show how they avoid running afoul of i t . g j The defense: The o b j e c t i o n takes i t tha t one cannot mean j u s t anything by any express ion i n any set of c i r - cumstances, and of course t h i s i s t r u e . But t h i s f ac t about language becomes f o r c e f u l aga ins t meaning-nominalism only i f one can , by c o n t r a s t , intend to mean j u s t anyth ing by any express ion i n any set of c i rcumstances . But t h i s too 8 4 i s i m p o s s i b l e , because language is c o n v e n t i o n a l , because of what a convent ion i s (a b e h a v i o r a l r e g u l a r i t y founded on 8 5 a network of mutual knowledge ) , and because of the f o l l o w - i n g connec t ion between i n t e n t i o n s and b e l i e f s : In order fo r a man to in tend to X he must b e l i e v e i t to be p o s s i b l e for him to X . S p e c i f i c a l l y , i n the meaning-nominal i s t program, i n order fo r a man to in t end to mean by S that P, he would have to b e l i e v e i t to be p o s s i b l e fo r him to produce i n h i s audience, through the Gr icean mechanism, the a c q u i s i t i o n Keith S. Donnellan, "Putting Humpty Dumpty Together Again," The Philosophical Review, 77 (1968), p. 203. Op. cit., p. 212; Bennett, "The Meaning-Nominalist Strategy," p. 166. Steven R. Schiffer, Meaning, (London; Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 30-32. 126 of the b e l i e f that P by u t t e r i n g S. But since one cannot g e n e r a l l y b e l i e v e contrary to what one knows, i t w i l l no more be p o s s i b l e f o r a man (who knows the re l e v a n t meaning conventions) to simply intend to mean "condominium" by the word "stove" than i t w i l l be f o r a man (who knows about the b i r d s and the bees) to intend to metamorphose i n t o a b u t t e r f l y . This then i s how the general i n t r a c t a b i l i t y of l a n - guage i s compatible w i t h meaning-nominalism. But the meaning- n o m i n a l i s t program i s not t r i v i a l i z e d by v i r t u e of t h i s com- p a t i b i l i t y , because the f a c t that what one can intend to mean i s p a r t l y a f u n c t i o n of what meaning conventions there are does not e n t a i l that one cannot on an occasion use an expression i n a language i n a non-conventional, yet meaning- f u l way. One has to b e l i e v e i t to be p o s s i b l e f o r the ex-r p r e s s i o n to mean what i t does not c o n v e n t i o n a l l y mean, but t h i s r e q u i r e s only that one make i t p o s s i b l e f o r an audience to acquire, through the utterance of the expression, a b e l i e f not c o n v e n t i o n a l l y associated w i t h i t . [0]ne cannot simply choose to mean by S that P, yet that does not imply that there i s any S and P such that one could not mean by S that P i n some circumstances. That any sen- tence could carry any meaning, i f the conditions .were right, is essential to the service that convention renders; for what a meaning convention does i s just to make the conditions right for S to mean that P. One might make the general point by saying that for any given S and P is would be possible, 127 after suitable 'stage-setting' to utter S and mean by i t that P.gg There might be a number of ways of clearing away otherwise operative meaning conventions. Some might them- selves be conventional: one might just say that in what he i s about to say, certain normal meaning conventions are to be disregarded. Other indicators, gestures, winks, vocal intonations, might be employed in a Gricean way to suspend conventions. (Of course, gestures, etc. can be conventional too,) The suspension of a meaning convention can make way either for the substitution of another con- vention or for a Gricean act of communication. I see nothing l o g i c a l l y incoherent i n the idea of a whole area of discourse, i n which every predicate, say, had to be understood by Gricean means. This is apparently what would be involved in art c r i t i c i s m , on the ND thesis. But though i t doesn't seem to me logically impossible to suspend meaning conventions on such a grand scale, the stage-setting process which would be necessary would be a gargantuan under- taking, an obstacle to art c r i t i c a l communication which, for a l l p r a c t i c a l purposes, might as well be insurmountable. Thus a second way in which the ND thesis i s implausible. 8^ Bennett, "The Meaning-Nominalist Strategy," p. 167. 128 The more r e s t r i c t e d c l a i m , t h a t d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s are not s h a r e a b l e , or t h a t t h e r e are no d e t e r - minate a e s t h e t i c c o n c e p t s , i s f r e e o f a l l the l i a b i l i t i e s I have charged t o the ND t h e s i s , and meaning n o m i n a l i s m may w e l l i l l u m i n a t e the r o l e o f d e s c r i b i n g an o b j e c t ' s s h a r e a b l e s u b - d e t e r m i n a b l e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s i n i n d i - c a t i n g i t s n o n - s h a r e a b l e d e t e r m i n a t e ones, i f i n f a c t t h a t i s how a r t c r i t i c i s m p r o c e e d s . However, even the r e s t r i c - t e d c l a i m s t a n d s i n need o f de f e n s e . A defense might be based on the supposed r a d i c a l u n iqueness o f i n d i v i d u a l works of a r t , but we would need t o s a t i s f y a c o m p l a i n t l i k e S trawson's. [R]emarks. . . by writers who stress the i n d i v i d u a l i t y of the work of a r t , and the non-conceptual character of aes- t h e t i c appreciation, have t h i s i n common: that they seem true but mysterious. One wants to ask why we can have no general p r i n c i p l e s of art. . . One wants also to ask i n what special sense the work of ar t i s unique, i n d i v i d u a l , unrepeatable.g 7 I t may be p o s s i b l e t o h o l d (perhaps as an e x p l a n a t i o n f o r the emergence o f a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s ) what c o u l d be c a l l e d an " o r g a n i c t h e o r y of d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s " , t o the e f f e c t r o u g h l y t h a t any d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t y o f a t h i n g depends on the t o t a l i t y o f i t s a e s t h e t i c a l l y r e l e v a n t n o n a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s , so t h a t a change i n any o f the a e s t h e t i c a l l y r e l e v a n t n o n a e s t h e t i c p r o p e r t i e s would 87 P.F. Strawson, "Aesthetic Appraisal and Works of A r t y " The Oxford Review, No. 3, (Michealmas, 1966), pp. 8-9. 129 necessarily r e s u l t in a change in the determinate aesthetic property. Then i f the c r i t e r i a for ide n t i t y among aes- thetic objects were t i e d d i r e c t l y to the t o t a l i t y of the ae s t h e t i c a l l y relevant non-aesthetic properties of a thing, i t would follow that no two aesthetic objects could have the same determinate aesthetic property: 1. Suppose two aesthetic objects have the same determinate aesthetic property. 2. They would, on the organic theory, have ex- actly the same bunch of a e s t h e t i c a l l y r e l e - vant nonaesthetic properties. 3. But then they would meet the c r i t e r i a for ide n t i t y among aesthetic objects. 4. They would therefore be one and the same aesthetic object. 5. Therefore we may not, on pain of contradic- tion, suppose two aesthetic objects to have the same determinate aesthetic property. We may not, in other words, suppose deter- minate aesthetic properties to be shareable. Whether t h i s defense w i l l stand up depends upon the v i a b i l i t y of the organic theory, and also on the basis of numerical i d e n t i t y among aesthetic objects. The connec- t i o n , supposed in the above argument, between i d e n t i t y and the t o t a l i t y of a e s t h e t i c a l l y relevant nonaesthetic proper- t i e s i s a t t r a c t i v e mainly for seeming to shed l i g h t on the 88 idea of a special uniqueness had by aesthetic objects. ^ Ibid. 130 B u t i t h a s c e r t a i n awkward c o n s e q u e n c e s as w e l l , n o t t h e l e a s t o f w h i c h i s t h e n e e d t o d e t a c h t h e a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t as a s e p e r a t e o n t o l o g i c a l i t e m f r o m t h e p h y s i c a l o b j e c t , and t o c o u n t e n a n c e c a s e s o f m u l t i p l e p h y s i c a l o b j e c t s ' b e i n g " a s s o c i a t e d w i t h " a s i n g l e a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t . T h e s e a r e m a t t e r s I w i l l n o t e x p l o r e f u r t h e r h o w e v e r , s i n c e I h a v e a l r e a d y r e a c h e d t h e m o d e s t g o a l o f t h i s c o n - c l u d i n g c h a p t e r . I s e t o u t t o d e f e n d t h e c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s a n a l o g y a g a i n s t two k i n d s o f o b j e c t i o n , one o f w h i c h i n - v o l v e s what I h a v e c a l l e d t h e ND t h e s i s . H a v i n g a r g u e d t h a t t h e ND t h e s i s i s i m p l a u s i b l e , i t i s e n o u g h f o r me t o n o t e t h a t t h e more r e s t r i c t e d v i e w o u t l i n e d a b o v e , t h a t t h e r e a r e no d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c c o n c e p t s , and i t s n e g a - t i o n , t h a t t h e r e are d e t e r m i n a t e a e s t h e t i c c o n c e p t s , a r e c o m p a t i b l e , w h e r e t h e ND t h e s i s was n o t , w i t h what h a s b e e n my t h e s i s : t h a t t h e c o l o r s / a e s t h e t i c s a n a l o g y p l a u s i b l y s u g g e s t s b o t h an a c c o u n t o f a e s t h e t i c s e n s i t i v i t y a n d a n a n s w e r t o a e s t h e t i c r e l a t i v i s m . 131 BIBLIOGRAPHY OF WORKS CITED Ald r i c h , V i r g i l C. Philosophy of Art. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963. Austin, J. L. "A Plea for Excuses." in Philosophioal Papers. by J. L. Austin, ed. J. 0. Urmson and G. J. 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