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Joe

Anyone know where AR mentions esthetic science?

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Hi -- does anyone know where AR mentions esthetic science? I seem to remember a reference in TRM, but I can't find it.

Does LP mention it in OPAR?

Thanks in advance.

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Hi -- does anyone know where AR mentions esthetic science? I seem to remember a reference in TRM, but I can't find it.

Does LP mention it in OPAR?

Thanks in advance.

Could you please define esthetic science, using a genus and differentia?

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Hi -- does anyone know where AR mentions esthetic science? I seem to remember a reference in TRM, but I can't find it.

Does LP mention it in OPAR?

Is this the quote that you're looking for?

The esthetic principles which apply to all art, regardless of an individual artist's philosophy, and which must guide an objective evaluation, are outside the scope of this discussion. I will mention only that such principles are defined by the science of esthetics—a task at which modern philosophy has failed dismally.

And from OPAR:

Contrary to today's viewpoint, artistic creation is the opposite of the self-indulgent, the whim-worshiping, the irrational. An artist can choose to objectify any metaphysical value-judgments he wishes; but this fact does not imply that he can choose any means he wishes in order to objectify them. On the contrary, he can objectify his viewpoint only by adhering (knowingly or otherwise) to certain rational principles, principles that apply universally, to art as such, regardless of an individual artist's philosophy. These are the principles that constitute the standard of proper esthetic judgment. To identify them is the task of the science of esthetics (which must also indicate how they apply within the context of the different artistic media and forms).

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Ray's excerpts are the reason why I asked. In a sense, most of TRM is on esthetic science.

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Ray's excerpts are the reason why I asked. In a sense, most of TRM is on esthetic science.

While that's true, those are the only places in the Objectivist corpus where the words "esthetics" and "science" are mentioned in conjunction with each other. Hopefully that's what Joe was looking for. Thanks go to the indispensable Objectivism Research CD-ROM!

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Ray: thanks! - those are the passages I was looking for.

Could you please define esthetic science, using a genus and differentia?

...

In a sense, most of TRM is on esthetic science.

TRM does not explicitly cover the principles of esthetic science, as AR mentions in the quote from TRM.

Esthetic science studies the esthetic faculty, specifically, how we respond to certain external sensory-perceptual stimuli (for example determining the principles of color harmony).

Esthetic science should not be confused with esthetics, the philosophy of art -- although the elements and principles of esthetic science are the building blocks of art.

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Ray: thanks! - those are the passages I was looking for.

TRM does not explicitly cover the principles of esthetic science, as AR mentions in the quote from TRM.

Esthetic science studies the esthetic faculty, specifically, how we respond to certain external sensory-perceptual stimuli (for example determining the principles of color harmony). 

Esthetic science should not be confused with esthetics, the philosophy of art -- although the elements and principles of esthetic science are the building blocks of art.

I took Ayn Rand to mean that the principles of esthetic science (in her use of the term) to be outside the realm of that particular essay, which was concerned only with the relationship between art and the sense-of-life response, rather than the whole of her book. I think much of her book deals directly with esthetic science, however, particular regarding literature.

It seems that your definition differs slightly than hers (which is fine; we can use the same term to denote a number of concepts). In both of the passages Ray quoted, Rand and Peikoff referred to esthetic science as determining the principles by which art may be judged objectively, which is one of the tasks of esthetic philosophy; it's important to remember that Ayn Rand regarded philosophy as a science.

It seems to me you are using "esthetic science" as relating to the material side of esthetic evaluation and "esthetic philosophy" as relating to the spiritual side of esthetic evaluation. If that is how you meant the terms, then I don't think Objectivism has anything to say on the former.

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Ray: thanks! - those are the passages I was looking for.

You're welcome although I agree with what Dave is saying. I don't want to start a thread on linguistic analysis but there is an important point to be made here: there isn't any additional meaning implied in the quotes that I provided apart from just pointing to that branch of philosophy known as "esthetics." Miss Rand often described philosophy as a science (which it is) and, therefore, it is redundant to call esthetics a "science." I think that her use of the term in that statement served to highlight the fact that philosophy is as precise a form of knowledge as physics is.

There certainly is a place for studying the perception of music and art but I wouldn't call it "esthetic science" for the reasons that I gave above. For those same reasons I would not call the science that studies concept-formation, "epistemological science." As branches of philosophy, esthetics and epistemology are sciences but they study fundamental abstractions, not the mechanics of man's perceptual systems.

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Esthetic science studies the esthetic faculty, specifically, how we respond to certain external sensory-perceptual stimuli (for example determining the principles of color harmony).

Esthetic science should not be confused with esthetics, the philosophy of art -- although the elements and principles of esthetic science are the building blocks of art.

Joe:

Right.

The science that covers that subject matter is a branch of psychology called Applied Experimental Psychology," and its sub-classes are Human Factors Science, Human Engineering, and Human Factors Engineering and Design.

Not all of Experimental Psychology deals with rat psychology or with stimulus and response issues. The greatest amount of experimentation in Applied Psychology was not Behaviorist. The Behaviorists certainly earned the wrath of Objectivists during the 1960s, however, the Behaviorist's imprint upon science has been dwarfed by simple measurement science.

Due largely to military needs, the human being, and especially human soldier types and weapons or machine operator types have been measured every which way. Starting with the sizes for equipment for men of one range of sizes, to uniforms, to optics that would enable a person to see in mists or snow conditions, or the legibility requirements for instrument lettering or long distance signage that had to be read and comprehended in fractions of a moment, the men and women of America were measured.

That isn't rat psychology-- that Materialist Behaviorist stuff simply didn't take. They didn't allow that the individual human being was a major causal factor in the creation and functioning of his own environment. We are still plagued by their social adaptationist city design concepts. The Behaviorists did, however, help to bring a scientific regimen to the science of causation regarding humans.

The art and science of the experimental method, or measurement science, of the applications of new knowledge was already in high gear when the colleges began accepting the ideas of the Behaviorists In the 1940s, due to WW2, in the 1950s, and possibly earlier due to the prior work of many independent scientists and inventors, the U.S. Military began commissioning hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Applied Psychology studies.

That information was generally done within the strict scientific rules of induction, logic, arithmetic that adds up, discovery, experimentation, measurement, proof, and demonstration.

Most of the work was of a highly practical nature, and only occasionally did human "subjective" experimentation [then meaning measurable values to scientists and not whim oriented choices ] enter the scene. The experimenters found, for example, that humans could see individual photons, which modern rationalist mathematician scientists tend to deny. In the science of Applied Experimental Psychology the human machine of the behaviorists never produced the discoveries and facts that weren't better explained by the Measurement scientists and experimenters.

A huge amount of work was done in vision, color, kinesthetics, and the functioning structures of the human physiognomy. Medical physiology provides a companion science, and general classification, for Experimental Psychology.

Experimentation did not mean theory-less Pragmatic trials to see what would happen under certain conditions. The concept of experimentation meant the design of a rational plan that would yield specific knowledge. Science in Applied Experimental Psychology survived the Behaviorists quite well.

Can knowledge that is of use in the arts be generated by science? Yes. Examples are the scientists, Pythagoras [the Parthenon], Euclid [science, engineering and architecture in general], and Helmholtz [general discovery and science of the relationships of the pitches of musical notes to the aesthetic sensibilities of the listener and musical scales].

That type of work has not been done in the 2D and 3D spatial design and geometrical realm, and would be based upon the work of Pythagoras and Euclid. The science that provides the framework of proportions for designs began with Pythagoras, and was taken a step further in the Bauhaus. Work continues here and there, however, since manufactured products in increasing numbers are both made and designed outside the US or EU, the amount of private sector money devoted to Experimental Psychology, Human Engineering, or Human Factors in Equipment Design, has been radically diminished. The Pragmatist product buyers in the West simply aren't interested. Today, to say the least, you get one-size-fits all or standard Chinese Communist brown consumer products.

Human Factors Science is greatly under funded thanks to imports from the PRC, and thanks to the Nixon promoted Pragmatists who brought about the sea of PRC imports.

Pseudo-scientific products are cascading upon the public, e.g., technical looking and hard to read $3,000 watches. Beauty-wise most designers and architects don't know what beauty is, and what we get from our anti-free enterprise left-leaning PRC oriented traders is a torrent of ugliness from the PRC. The rare exceptions are IBM computers, wherein, the US designers taught the East what design is all about. The PRC now gets the lion's share of the computer manufacturing business. Competition was so strong that we now have the marketing-child of IBM, Lenovo.

The science of knowledge that is part of the basis of beauty isn't well funded in the USA. The manufacturers and designers of a huge number of products are in the PRC, and unlike the Japanese and Koreans, couldn't care less.

Let me finish this with a comment about beauty as a value to be incorporated into manufactured items. Beauty costs nothing to create or design into an item. Human factors knowledge is a lot more difficult to obtain without more investment in R&D. Businessmen have to evaluate the needed amounts of both values relative to the payback in profits. During the recent 50 years in the USA the design of houses has been eclectic or imitative of style, and that combined with a dearth of practicality houses of lesser overall value have tended to have been produced. The aesthetic and practical product values produced by most of the architects and builders in the USA have been lowered by their own philosophy and goals. The Pragmatist bottom-linists banker lenders were not interested in the product values being created or purchased. They simply didn't care if the real value of the houses they were lending towards was sufficient to support the high prices their lowered-interest housing sales bubble was creating. Wonder of wonders, when loans had to be repaid the real selling price values of the houses was insufficient to support the bubbled high asking prices. Consequently, prices have fallen to the levels appropriate to the lower aesthetic and practical values the market would support.

An ugly-bubble? That's what the bottom-linist Pragmatist bankers and legislators have given us. Pick up a copy of One Hundred New Home Plans. Every one is worse than the next. Go to the Hovnanian home builder web site, and the story is the same; too little value in unit after unit after unit. They led the market when their sales began to fall. In defense of rational designing for homes see the publication called, Dwell, and their editors illustrate many examples of a rare type of economy, beauty and practicality.

To wrap up this rant I will say that a proper science of esthetics should have human factors science as a base. Especially in the Formal Arts of music, dance, architecture, product design, and fashion design. In that I agree, however, there is more to it. There is also the study of the geometry-based science of proportional harmony systems. An artistic science of color harmony and lighting for art and design in the Formal Arts also needs more work.

Right now, it seems hopeless that more than a few artists, architects, designers, patrons, customers, and clients in the USA would have the sensitivities and knowledge to bring the market around. The economy is thriving upon the savings of its heirs, and venture capital is really pricey due to the very short supply.

Esthetics? Human Factors Design? Practicality? May we actually discuss that in a scientific sense? I think so. However, The Post Modernists, Pragmatists, and social consensus advocates have ruined the beaches. The basic science, terminology, and methods remain something that should be re-created.

Inventor

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