Famous Art Comes Alive
Today order (which for Aristotle is basically a synonym for beauty) is often condemned as a product of our ‘conspiracy theory perception’ (1) and not actually part of the object, leaving it with no natural significance. Many of the moderns believed after recent psychological advances that they were ‘up one’ on primitive Aristotle as though this ‘intrinsic finality illusion’ could not be something he would have seen.
But Aristotle was he was keenly aware of the idea that purpose can be extrinsic to the object. For him there are natural objects and there are artifacts (2). Artifacts have order imposed on them by us (like desks, paintings and skyscrapers) and they imitate natural objects which somehow contain order already within them. If they did not contain order, there would be no sense in anything we perceive.
Scientific reductionists (those who think order even in nature is created by our mind and really everything is just reducible to small particles acting coincidentally) and some modern artists alike cannot accept that order and beauty exist outside the perceiver (exist objectively), and yet they relish in and depend on it for their very scientific operation. Much more could be said about this but I won’t ruin the above! (3)
What a fine artifact!
- 0.0.0.1 Footnotes:
- 0.0.0.2 (1) Rosenberg says, “This drive to force events into the mold of a story with a plot [purpose] is a hangover from our evolutionary past…mother nature selected for conspiracy theorists…and built our minds for other purposes than understanding reality (survival).” Atheists Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions, pg. 13
- 0.0.0.3 (2) “Artifacts are objects first conceived in the mind, then physical parts are put together to serve a purpose endowed by our minds.” Aristotle. History of Animals. 491A. 642A.
- 0.0.0.4 (3) Book Recommendation: Gilson states in regard to this nature vs. artifact confusion: “It is fair to claim that the notion of final cause was inspired by the example of the artistic activity of an artisan “but it is not the case that mechanism lay the foundation for reproaching finalism with its anthropomorphic character. Bergson, Henri, L’ Évolution créatrice, “Introduction”, pp. 490-91
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