Impersonal vs. Objective


I want to make a brief correction to a phrase I used in my last post.  The phrase is “objective aesthetic judgment. “

Is such an objective point of view possible?  Probably not.  To clarify my meaning, then, I have switched the word “objective” with the word “impersonal.”  It seems like a small matter, but “impersonal” takes us closer to my intended meaning.  For I do not want to suggest that we can stand outside of ourselves, find some illusory perspective that is independent of our learning and experience, and judge a work of art like some inhuman, empty god–some unnatural tabula rasa.  No; what I mean to suggest is that we can make aesthetic judgments independent of personal taste, based solely on our knowledge, experience, and critical understanding of the art in question.  Rather than taking art personally, we can take it impersonally.

In future discussions, now, I hope to discuss ways to define art and to explain what I mean by “knowledge, experience [which are both related], and critical understanding.”

Art and criticism are such messy, imperfect undertakings; their rules and definitions are so alive and mutable.  But that’s also why they’re so much fun.

Further reading:

Hume, Kael, and the Role of Subjectivity in Criticism


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