Blobjectivism and art

Perception and conventional meaning are governed by normatively tight semantic standards, whereas artistic judgment is not

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Perception and conventional meaning are governed by normatively tight semantic standards, whereas artistic judgment is not.

The construal of truth as indirect correspondence is compatible with the monistic austere realism view of the world. Notice that normative scores have shifted from treating cats as ontologically ultimate entities towards treating them as the just recognized ontic entities ex-sisting region-ishly in the blob. In this sense, perception provides a form that supports truth as indirect correspondence. Perception does not normally involve the presence of other people or of community. Given that presence of community shows itself in obligations and similar normative matters, perception may be called non-deontic. But it certainly seems the case that perception is tight, in the following sense. Whatever is perceived seems to be well placed and well delimited by something such as perceptual fence. Usually we would immediately recognize a cat, without inference of normative stuff. Yet if blobjectivism is right, perception is a form of indirect correspondence.

Let us take a look at the word “cat” and at its meaning. This is not private, proper just to myself as perceiving subject, as perception seems to be. Meaning of a word seems to be deontic in the sense that it appears as something proper to a community; it involves the presence of other people. The meaning of the word “cat” is proper to a language, and I am a member of that language if I share that meaning with everybody else inhabiting the language. One may say that we all need to hold the rope in a tight manner in order to get the meaning of “cat”. It is a conventional meaning, which may also be called core meaning of that world.

As we mentioned core meaning of a word, we were invoking tight semantic normative standards. Could there be something else? We all share the meaning of “cat”, we hold the conventional rope, the conventional meaning providing rope in a tight manner, if the already introduced comparison may be used. But as I own a small white cat, she owns an old black cat, and he lives with a siamese cat in his apartment, there will be disparities for each of us underneath the conventional meaning which we all share.

The disparities that are there in our private cat meanings are constitutively there for some other areas of discourse. In an interesting judgment involving philosophical or political debate there may be rational disagreement between the involved participants, for all of which we may presume skilfully mastering all the argumentative and inferential moves that may be forthcoming in the debate. Similarly it goes for juridical discourse which becomes interesting once as there is disagreement in respect to how judgment is made, the dispute being attached to the same evidence. Moral discourse as well is rooted upon basic diversity of judgmental intuitions: consequentialists and deontologists will stick to radically different interpretations of the same data, and they will eventually fall diverse judgments. One can say that normativity concerning such discourses is not tight anymore, for besides to the core meaning of terms involved into judgment there is a constitutive semantic slack.

Art, we take it, does not stick to semantically tight normative standards. Rather, the artistic judgment builds upon a constitutive semantic slack. The very material constitution of works of art pushes towards normative non-tightness, towards normative diversity of opinion, so that each one involved as addressed by art encounters one's own qualitative touch with the world, with the cosmos or with the blobject. Core meaning of works of art is put in secondary position, and qualitative, phenomenology involving approach gets promoted. It is not just rational disagreement that we are talking about. It is a possibility to form a unique qualitative phenomenology supported judgment. If shoes are depicted in a painting, they point to the whole complex and qualitatively forthcoming world. Artistic judgment with its constitutive normative and semantic slack points to the quality and dynamical intertwinedness of the one blob.


Horgan, T. and Potrč, M. (2002). Blobjectivism and Indirect Correspondence. Facta Philosophica, vol. 2 no. 2: 249–270.

Horgan, T. and Potrč, M. (2008). Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. MIT Press.

Horgan, T. and Potrč, M. (2008). Contextualist Semantics and Particularist Semantic Normativity. In M. Lance, M. Potrč and V. Strahovnik (eds.) (2008) Challenging Moral Particularism. Routledge NY, 123-139.

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