Notes on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness -- Phil A231

William Jamison - Instructor

Why bother about art?

Why cry? Why laugh?

Does a piece of lit make us cry? Is it the tempo? What if it were in an unknown must be the story -- how?

Catharsis (From Encarta online)

Catharsis (Greek katharsis, “purification”), in psychology, term first applied in 1895 to the therapeutic release of emotions that cause tension or anxiety. In their early work on hysteria, Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer used hypnosis as a means of treatment. Under hypnosis some patients were able to relate and reexperience repressed conflicts or emotion-producing incidents. Bringing these experiences to the surface enabled the patients to release tensions and reduce the symptoms of their illness. Freud called this “cathartic therapy.” He later achieved this effect without hypnosis by using free association with his patients.

The process of catharsis always involves bringing repressed emotions to a conscious level. Talking about disturbing feelings and events may bring superficial relief, but only catharsis through some form of therapy can lead to a long-lasting elimination of the symptoms.

What do you consider the most beautiful building in Anchorage? In Alaska? That you have ever seen?

Mine -- not Neuschwanstein. It was beautiful but strange.

Not the Excalibur Hotel -- the Egyptian one-- Luxor?

Hearst Castle

Perhaps the National Shrine?

What about the Twin Towers before 9/11?

Subject: Why art? (Shepp)

 There are two ways to answer the philosophical questions:

1. All art has something in common: imitation, expression, or form (or quality of beauty?) This applies to nature as well as art. Here is a photo of "Raven's Journey" I took at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art:

What does it imitate or express?

2. Look not at the art but at the interest we have in it -- our aesthetic interest.

The last two chapters concern meaning and truth and art and morals. Notice how they are virtually the same as the last two chapters in the Wittgenstein Reader? 

Put this in the context of language games -- how many metanarratives are there? Do these issues fit those? Are they expressions of different narratives? Different narratives -- different focus?

Terry Pinkard: GP p. 67 Kant's main problem: How can we actually be bound by the laws we make? Are the norms making up reason instituted by us or the way they simply are?

"Why art?" possible topic -- Having children or not (The fine art of having children?) Within the context of an ethical narrative -- what should I do with my life? Having children seems biologically like eating or sleeping or breathing but many people do not have children -- some for biological reasons? (Notice that latest statistics indicate fewer than ever women between the ages of 15 and ? are having children.) The higher the education a woman has the less likely she is to have children.

Does this happen in 3rd world countries -- note that an assumption here is that the type of narrative will have an influence on the life of the people --- that it is associated with the form of life -- and that is associated with the facts and necessities as they are interpreted by the people in different states --so imagine in a 3rd world county -- most people are not monogamous-- most males do not mate? Roughly only 20% do. The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men and Women by Lionel Tiger

1st world: assume Plato's hierarchy of three plus psychological types. The lower class are focused on their lower appetites and sex is such an appetite. So it takes a greater level of intelligence (defined as adoption of higher order narratives) to lose interest in sex (this does not follow Plato). Decreasing intelligence gives an increase interest in sex -- but with technology we have fewer children on purpose!

Regarding truth here is a review of an exciting new book called Epistemetrics:






This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated August 14, 2012. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.