By Peter Kivy (auth.)
As the name of this e-book was once intended to indicate, its topic is the best way we speak about (and write approximately) artworks: or, fairly, one of many methods, specifically, the way in which we describe artworks for serious reasons. Be reason i wanted to limit my subject material during this manner, i've got made a pointy, and doubtless principally synthetic contrast among describing and comparing. and that i needs to, on the outset, safeguard opposed to a misreading of this contrast to which i've got left myself open. In distinguishing among evaluative and descriptive aesthetic judgments, it's not that i am asserting that once I assert "X is p," the place p is a "descriptive" time period like "unified," or "delicate," or "garish," i could no longer while be comparing X too; and i'm no longer asserting that once I make the evidently "evaluative" statement "X is good," i'll now not be describing X. truly, if I say "X is unified" i'm comparing X in that solidarity is a good-making characteristic of artistic endeavors; and because it is true in English a minimum of to name an overview an outline, i don't are looking to recommend that if an statement is evaluative, it can't be de scriptive (although there were many philosophers who've proposal this certainly to be the case).
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We come now to that ordinary sense of "taste," encapsulated in the age-old dictum, De gustibus non est disputandum, the sense Sibley explicitly disavowed. It is important, I think, for us to give this concept of taste our careful scrutiny, despite Sibley's disclaimers. For I suspect it of wielding a secret and unwholesome influence on the aesthetic climate; and clearing the air will be a good thing to do. What I will be trying to show in this section is that even the terms over which the ordinary concept of taste does range are not, because taste is appropriate to them, noncondition-governed; and, hence, even if taste were (which it is not) an ability to notice or see or tell that things have qualities (other than the qualities of goodness and badness), it still would not suggest that the terms which name these qualities are non-condition-governed.
But it became associated too, early on, with the adumbration of an aesthetic value theory - a theory which conceived of aesthetic value terms as naming very subtle features of works of art for which the phrase ie ne sais quoi was frequently used. In nature and art "these mysterious qualities ... 4 "Taste" very soon hardened into a faculty; and although it remained for the most part a faculty of evaluation, evaluation was generally conceived as involving special aesthetic qualities which aesthetic value terms named.
None of them could hear if a fugue had a stretto or not, although they could tell it by examining the score and applying some rule of thumb. Thus my argument merely shows that 40 ARE AESTHETIC TERMS UNGOVERNABLE? one cannot hear a stretto without a special ability we call an "ear" for music and which is the musical counterpart of aesthetic sensitivity. It does not show that one cannot discover in other ways that a fugue has a stretto. However, when we say that someone has a special ability to notice or see or tell that music has certain qualities, surely what we mean to assert is that he has an ability to hear those qualities.