Response To Knowledge and the Arts

In the Knowledge and Arts essay on page 1, I was not convinced there are only two parties involved in a work of art. Sure the artist creates it and the audience views it, but there must be more. I can agree that technical and personal knowledge as well as experience are factors in the production of art, but how do we know we can trust these experiences and simply claim we have created or displayed knowledge? One specific aspect of studying the art is tracing where the artist’s ideas were derived from. Are they truly original, or are they simply expanding on a previous individual’s philosophies? It’s easy to say there are many ways of knowing, but how do we know what we claim to know? This is important to ponder as simply concluding the arts produce knowledge may be misleading. However, I am not arguing that the arts do not produce knowledge. I truly believe they do, but mainly when important issues such as politics, sexism, and global catastrophes occur, do they truly evolve. For example, if a new undiscovered or depicted natural disaster occurred, and someone made an art piece depicting it, I would consider that pure knowledge production. However, proving that the artist did experience the event may be hard unless a whole group of people testify and say it did happen.


I believe looking at an artist’s background to help understand their art is complete nonsense. It shapes our perception of them and may lead to the misleading conclusions of the initial knowledge they were trying to produce. On page 2, when it asks whether we would be better off studying such things as history and anthropology directly, I question whether that would work either. For example: If you wanna study Inca gold and you have it in your hand, besides weighing it and looking at the designs engraved on it, what knowledge are you producing? How do you “study something directly”? I believe we sabotage our ability to effectively learn from the arts. The constant sensationalism ( empiricism limiting our experiences as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions ) is ruining the real knowledge we can obtain from it. I believe this is what causes an almost automatic decision to derive our ideas from previous individuals and knowledge. I do agree with the ideas presented on pages 4-6, regarding the habit of asking the wrong questions. “What does it mean?” is not specific and allows for someone to give any crap answer from ‘knowledge’ they may have received from their grade 10 science teacher (just an example). “Where was it derived from?” is not perfect, but would be more suitable. If you use the tree example provided on page 6, and you ask “where was it derived from?”  you could be asking how science (or a higher power, if you believe in that) came up with all these cool creations that come in multiple forms such as trees. I believe that the questions raised on pages 9 and 10 are nonsense (sorry). They lead to bigger questions that cause us to question what we claim to know and further sabotage the whole process of figuring out who we are, and what we are meant to be doing. See, it’s a big endless loop. Despite this, it was a well thought out, and well written essay.


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