Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Roger Fry, Dale Jacquette and Jonathan Tallant

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50 ideas

1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a quest for truthmakers [Tallant]
     Full Idea: In this book I will treat metaphysics as a quest for truthmakers.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 01)
     A reaction: I find this appealing, though obviously you have to say what sort of truthmakers generate 'metaphysical' truths, as opposed to physics or biology. I take it that would involve truthmakers that had a high level of generality, idealisation and abstraction.
2. Reason / D. Definition / 12. Paraphrase
Maybe number statements can be paraphrased into quantifications plus identities [Tallant]
     Full Idea: One strategy is whenever we are presented with a sentence that might appear to entail the existence of numbers, all that we have to do is paraphrase it using a quantified logic, plus identity.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 03.5)
     A reaction: This nominalist strategy seems fine for manageable numbers, but gets in trouble with numbers too big to count (e.g. grains of sand in the world) , or genuine infinities.
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 3. Truthmaker Maximalism
Maybe only 'positive' truths need truth-makers [Tallant]
     Full Idea: We might say that those truths that do not need truth-makers are those that are negative. Those that do need truth-makers are those that are positive.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 10.8)
     A reaction: If you deny the existence of something, there is always an implicit domain for the denial, such as 'on the table', or 'in this building', or 'in the cosmos'. So why can't that domain be the truthmaker for a negative existential?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
A truthmaker is the minimal portion of reality that will do the job [Tallant]
     Full Idea: A 'minimal' truth-maker is the 'smallest' portion of reality required to make a given proposition true.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 01.2)
     A reaction: A nice suggestion. This seems to make Ockham's Razor an integral part of the theory of truth-makers. I would apply the same principle to explanations. An Ockhamist explanation is what explains the puzzling thing - and nothing else.
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 12. Rejecting Truthmakers
What is the truthmaker for a possible new power? [Tallant]
     Full Idea: What power will make true 'there could be a power that does not in fact exist'?
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 04.13)
     A reaction: Nice question. We can't know whether it is true that a new power could exist, so we can't expect an actual truthmaker for it. Though we might predict new powers (such as for a new transuranic element), on the basis of the known ones.
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 3. Modal Logic Systems / a. Systems of modal logic
Modal logic is multiple systems, shown in the variety of accessibility relations between worlds [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Modal logic by its very nature is not monolithic, but fragmented into multiple systems of modal qualifications, reflected in the plurality of accessibility relations on modal model structures or logically possible worlds.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §3)
     A reaction: He implies the multiplicity is basic, and is only 'reflected' in the relations, but maybe the multiplicity is caused by incompetent logicians who can't decide whether possible worlds really are reflexive or symmetrical or transitive in their relations.
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 4. Alethic Modal Logic
The modal logic of C.I.Lewis was only interpreted by Kripke and Hintikka in the 1960s [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The modal syntax and axiom systems of C.I.Lewis (1918) were formally interpreted by Kripke and Hintikka (c.1965) who, using Z-F set theory, worked out model set-theoretical semantics for modal logics and quantified modal logics.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: A historical note. The big question is always 'who cares?' - to which the answer seems to be 'lots of people', if they are interested in precision in discourse, in artificial intelligence, and maybe even in metaphysics. Possible worlds started here.
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 1. Overview of Logic
The two main views in philosophy of logic are extensionalism and intensionalism [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Philosophy of logic has (roughly) two camps: extensionalists and intensionalists, with the former view dominant. ...There is a close connection between this and eliminativist or reductivist versus folk psychological and intentionalist philosophy of mind.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §4)
     A reaction: Hm. I think I favour intensionalism in the logic, and reductivism about the mind, so I may have a bit of bother here. I'm convinced that this jigsaw can be completed, despite all appearances.
Logic describes inferences between sentences expressing possible properties of objects [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: It is fundamental that logic depends on logical possibilities, in which logically possible properties are predicated of logically possible objects. Logic describes inferential structures among sentences expressing the predication of properties to objects.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: If our imagination is the only tool we have for assessing possibilities, this leaves the domain of logic as being a bit subjective. There is an underlying Platonism to the idea, since inferences would exist even if nothing else did.
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 6. Classical Logic
Classical logic is bivalent, has excluded middle, and only quantifies over existent objects [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Classical logic (of Whitehead, Russell, Gödel, Church) is a two-valued system of propositional and predicate logic, in which all propositions are exclusively true or false, and quantification and predication are over existent objects only.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to I: Classical Logic [2002], p.9)
     A reaction: All of these get challenged at some point, though the existence requirement is the one I find dubious.
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 2. Platonism in Logic
Logic is not just about signs, because it relates to states of affairs, objects, properties and truth-values [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: At one level logic can be regarded as a theory of signs and formal rules, but we cannot neglect the meaning of propositions as they relate to states of affairs, and hence to possible properties and objects... there must be the possibility of truth-values.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: Thus if you define logical connectives by truth tables, you need the concept of T and F. You could, though, regard those too as purely formal (like 1 and 0 in electronics). But how do you decide which propositions are 1, and which are 0?
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 2. Descriptions / c. Theory of definite descriptions
On Russell's analysis, the sentence "The winged horse has wings" comes out as false [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: It is infamous that on Russell's analysis the sentences "The winged horse has wings" and "The winged horse is a horse" are false, because in the extant domain of actual existent entities there contingently exist no winged horses
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 6)
     A reaction: This is the best objection I have heard to Russell's account of definite descriptions. The connected question is whether 'quantifies over' is really a commitment to existence. See Idea 6067.
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 4. Substitutional Quantification
Nominalists like substitutional quantification to avoid the metaphysics of objects [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Some substitutional quantificationists in logic hope to avoid philosophical entanglements about the metaphysics of objects, ..and nominalists can find aid and comfort there.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to III: Quantifiers [2002], p.143)
     A reaction: This has an appeal for me, particularly if it avoids abstract objects, but I don't see much problem with material objects, so we might as well have a view that admits those.
Substitutional universal quantification retains truth for substitution of terms of the same type [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The substitutional interpretation says the universal quantifier is true just in case it remains true for all substitutions of terms of the same type as that of the universally bound variable.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to III: Quantifiers [2002], p.143)
     A reaction: This doesn't seem to tell us how it gets started with being true.
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 5. Extensionalism
Extensionalists say that quantifiers presuppose the existence of their objects [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Extensionalists hold that quantifiers in predicate logic presuppose the existence of whatever objects can be referred to by constants or bound variables, or enter into true predication of properties.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §4)
     A reaction: I have strong sales resistance to this view. Why should a procedure for correctly reasoning from one proposition to another have anything whatever to do with ontology? A false world picture can be interconnected by perfect logic.
5. Theory of Logic / I. Semantics of Logic / 6. Intensionalism
Intensionalists say meaning is determined by the possession of properties [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: According to intensionalist semantics the meaning of a proposition is determined by the properties an object possesses.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §4)
     A reaction: This sounds good to me. Extensionalist don't seem to care what sets they put things in, but if property possession comes first, then things will fall into their own sets without any help for us. We can add silly sets afterwards, if we fancy.
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 5. Paradoxes in Set Theory / d. Russell's paradox
Can a Barber shave all and only those persons who do not shave themselves? [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The Barber Paradox refers to the non-existent property of being a barber who shaves all and only those persons who do not shave themselves.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 9)
     A reaction: [Russell spotted this paradox, and it led to his Theory of Types]. This paradox may throw light on the logic of indexicals. What does "you" mean when I say to myself "you idiot!"? If I can behave as two persons, so can the barber.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / a. Nature of Being
To grasp being, we must say why something exists, and why there is one world [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: We grasp the concept of being only when we have satisfactorily answered the question why there is something rather than nothing and why there is only one logically contingent actual world.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Conclusion)
     A reaction: See Ideas 7688 and 7692 for a glimpse of Jacquette's answer. Personally I don't yet have a full grasp of the concept of being, but I'm sure I'll get there if I only work a bit harder.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 5. Reason for Existence
Existence is completeness and consistency [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: A combinatorial ontology holds that existence is nothing more or less than completeness and consistency, or what is also called 'maximal consistency'.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: You'll have to read Jacquette to understand this one! The claim is that existence is to be defined in terms of logic (and whatever is required for logic). I take this to be a bit Platonist (rather than conventionalist) about logic.
Being is maximal consistency [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Being is maximal consistency.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: You'll have to read Ch.2 of Jacquette to see what this is all about, but as it stands it is a lovely slogan, and a wonderful googly/curve ball to propel at Parmenides or Heidegger.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Ontologies
Ontology is the same as the conceptual foundations of logic [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The principles of pure philosophical ontology are indistinguishable ... from the conceptual foundations of logic.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Pref)
     A reaction: I would take Russell to be an originator of this view. If the young Wittgenstein showed that the foundations of logic are simply conventional (truth tables), this seems to make ontology conventional too, which sounds very odd indeed (to me).
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 11. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
Ontology must include the minimum requirements for our semantics [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The entities included in a theoretical ontology are those minimally required for an adequate philosophical semantics. ...These are the objects that we say exist, to which we are ontologically committed.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Pref)
     A reaction: Worded with exquisite care! He does not say that ontology is reducible to semantics (which is a silly idea). We could still be committed, as in a ghost story, to existence of some 'nameless thing'. Things utterly beyond our ken might exist.
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
Logic is based either on separate objects and properties, or objects as combinations of properties [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Logic involves the possibilities of predicating properties of objects in a conceptual scheme wherein either objects and properties are included in altogether separate categories, or objects are reducible to combinations of properties.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: In the first view, he says that objects are just 'logical pegs' for properties. Objects can't be individuated without properties. But combinations of properties would seem to need essences, or else they are too unstable to count as objects.
Reduce states-of-affairs to object-property combinations, and possible worlds to states-of-affairs [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: We can reduce references to states-of-affairs to object-property combinations, and we can reduce logically possible worlds to logically possible states-of-affairs combinations.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: If we further reduce object-property combinations to mere combinations of properties (Idea 7683), then we have reduced our ontology to nothing but properties. Wow. We had better be very clear, then, about what a property is. I'm not.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 11. Properties as Sets
If classes can't be eliminated, and they are property combinations, then properties (universals) can't be either [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: If classes alone cannot be eliminated from ontology on Quine's terms, and if classes are defined as property combinations, then neither are all properties, universals in the tradition sense, entirely eliminable.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 9)
     A reaction: If classes were totally conventional (and there was no such things as a 'natural' class) then you might admit something to a class without knowing its properties (as 'the thing in the box').
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
The wisdom of Plato and of Socrates are not the same property [Tallant]
     Full Idea: It is not the case that Plato's wisdom = Socrates's wisdom. Platonic-wisdom and Socratic-wisdom are not the same property.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 05.4)
     A reaction: This seems reasonable in the case of wisdom, but not so clear in the case of indistinguishable properties of redness or squareness or mass. Nevertheless it gives nice support for trope theory.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
An object is a predication subject, distinguished by a distinctive combination of properties [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: To be an object is to be a predication subject, and to be this as opposed to that particular object, whether existent or not, is to have a distinctive combination of properties.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: The last part depends on Leibniz's Law. The difficulty is that two objects may only be distinguishable by being in different places, and location doesn't look like a property. Cf. Idea 5055.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / c. Modern abstracta
Numbers, sets and propositions are abstract particulars; properties, qualities and relations are universals [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Roughly, numbers, sets and propositions are assumed to be abstract particulars, while properties, including qualities and relations, are usually thought to be universals.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 9)
     A reaction: There is an interesting nominalist project of reducing all of these to particulars. Numbers to patterns, sets to their members, propositions to sentences, properties to causal powers, relations to, er, something else.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
Substance must have two properties: individuation, and property-bearing [Tallant]
     Full Idea: It appears that substance has essential properties: it is of the essence of substance that it individuates, and it is of the essence of substance that it bears properties.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 06.2)
     A reaction: The point being that substances are not 'bear', because they have a role to perform, and a complete blank can't fulfil a role. We can't take substance, though, seriously in ontology. It is just a label for distinct individuals.
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / a. Possible worlds
The actual world is a consistent combination of states, made of consistent property combinations [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The actual world is a maximally consistent state-of-affairs combination involving all and only the existent objects, which in turn exist because they are maximally consistent property combinations.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: [This extends Idea 7688]. This seems to invite the standard objections to the coherence theory of truth, such as Ideas 5422 and 4745. Is 'maximal consistency' merely a test for actuality, rather than an account of what actuality is?
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / a. Nature of possible worlds
The actual world is a maximally consistent combination of actual states of affairs [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The actual world can be defined as a maximally consistent combination of actual states of affairs, or maximally consistent states-of-affairs combination.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: A key part of Jacquette's program of deriving ontological results from the foundations of logic. Is the counterfactual situation of my pen being three centimetres to the left of its current position a "less consistent" situation than the actual one?
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / c. Worlds as propositions
Do proposition-structures not associated with the actual world deserve to be called worlds? [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Many modal logicians in their philosophical moments have raised doubts about whether structures of propositions not associated with the actual world deserved to be called worlds at all.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 2)
     A reaction: A good question. Consistency is obviously required, but we also need a lot of propositions before we would consider it a 'world'. Very remote but consistent worlds quickly become unimaginable. Does that matter?
We must experience the 'actual' world, which is defined by maximally consistent propositions [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Conventional modal semantics, in which all logically possible worlds are defined in terms of maximally consistent proposition sets, has no choice except to allow that the actual world is the world we experience in sensation, or that we inhabit.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 9)
     A reaction: Jacquette dislikes this because he is seeking an account of ontology that doesn't, as so often, merely reduce to epistemology (e.g. Berkeley). See Idea 7691 for his preferred account.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / c. Explaining qualia
If qualia supervene on intentional states, then intentional states are explanatorily fundamental [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: If qualia supervene on intentional states, then intentionality is also more explanatorily fundamental than qualia.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch.10)
     A reaction: See Idea 7272 for opposite view. Maybe intentional states are large mental objects of which we are introspectively aware, but which are actually composed of innumerable fine-grained qualia. Intentional states would only explain qualia if they caused them.
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 3. Limits of Introspection
Most of us are too close to our own motives to understand them [Fry]
     Full Idea: The motives we actually experience are too close to us to enable us to feel them clearly. They are in a sense unintelligible.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.30)
     A reaction: Fry is defending the role of art in clarifying and highlighting such things, but I am not convinced by his claim. We can grasp most of our motives with a little introspection, and those we can't grasp are probably too subtle for art as well.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 2. Reduction of Mind
Reduction of intentionality involving nonexistent objects is impossible, as reduction must be to what is actual [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: If intentionality sometimes involves a relation to nonexistent objects, like my dreamed-of visit to a Greek island, then such thoughts cannot be explained physically or causally, because only actual physical entities and events can be mentioned.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch.10)
     A reaction: Unimpressive. Thoughts of a Greek island will obviously reduce to memories of islands and Greece and travel brochures. Memory clearly retains past events in the present, and hence past events can be part of the material used in reductive accounts.
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 7. Extensional Semantics
Extensionalist semantics is circular, as we must know the extension before assessing 'Fa' [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: Extensional semantics is blatantly circular. For 'Fa' to be interpreted as true, we must know that object a belongs to the extension of the predicate F, so we must already know which objects belong to the extension.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §4)
     A reaction: I'm delighted to read this, because it was the first thought that occurred to me when I encountered the theory. Presumably this leads Quine to take predication as basic, because you can't break into the circle. Or, vote for intensionalism?
Extensionalist semantics forbids reference to nonexistent objects [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: In extensionalist semantics only existent objects can be referred to, ...but in everyday thought and discourse we regularly and apparently without undue confusion speak about nonexistent objects.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Intro to 'Philosophy of Logic' [2002], §4)
     A reaction: This is the reason why Meinong, whose views are presented by Russell as absurd, are undergoing a revival. The full-blown view will even treat 'round squares' as objects about which we can reason - and why not? Don't open a shop which sells them.
19. Language / D. Propositions / 1. Propositions
The extreme views on propositions are Frege's Platonism and Quine's extreme nominalism [Jacquette]
     Full Idea: The extreme ontological alternatives with respect to the metaphysics of propositions are a Fregean Platonism (his "gedanken", 'thoughts'), and a radical nominalism or inscriptionalism, as in Quine, where they are just marks related to stimuli.
     From: Dale Jacquette (Ontology [2002], Ch. 9)
     A reaction: Personally I would want something between the two - that propositions are brain events of a highly abstract kind. I say that introspection reveals pre-linguistic thoughts, which are propositions. A proposition is an intentional state.
19. Language / D. Propositions / 2. Abstract Propositions / a. Propositions as sense
Are propositions all the thoughts and sentences that are possible? [Tallant]
     Full Idea: One might be tempted to the view that there are as many different propositions as there are thoughts that could be thought and sentences that could be uttered.
     From: Jonathan Tallant (Metaphysics: an introduction [2011], 04.5.3)
     A reaction: A fairly orthodox view I take to be crazy. I think it is a view designed for logic, rather than for how the world is. Why tie propositions to what can be thought, and then introduce unthought propositions? Why no unthinkable propositions?
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 2. Aesthetic Attitude
Everyone reveals an aesthetic attitude, looking at something which only exists to be seen [Fry]
     Full Idea: It is only when an object exists for no other purpose than to be seen that we really look at it, …and then even the most normal person adopts to some extent the artistic attitude of pure vision abstracted from necessity.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.29)
     A reaction: A painter of still life looks at things which exist for other purposes, with just the attitude which Fry attributes to the viewers of the paintings. We can encourage a child to look at a flower with just this attitude.
Imaginative life requires no action, so new kinds of perception and values emerge in art [Fry]
     Full Idea: In the imaginative life no action is necessary, so the whole consciousness may be focused upon the perceptive and the emotional aspects of the experience. Hence we get a different set of values, and a different kind of perception
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.24)
     A reaction: Good. A huge range of human activities are like scientific experiments, where you draw on our evolved faculties, but put them in controlled conditions, where the less convenient and stressful parts are absent. War and sport. Real and theatrical tragedy.
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 4. Beauty
'Beauty' can either mean sensuous charm, or the aesthetic approval of art (which may be ugly) [Fry]
     Full Idea: There is an apparent contradiction between two distinct uses of the word 'beauty', one for that which has sensuous charm, and one for the aesthetic approval of works of imaginative art where the objects presented to us are often of extreme ugliness.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.33)
     A reaction: The gouging of eyes in 'King Lear' was always the big problem case for aesthetics, just as nowadays it is Marcel Duchamp's wretched 'Fountain'.
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 6. The Sublime
In life we neglect 'cosmic emotion', but it matters, and art brings it to the fore [Fry]
     Full Idea: Those feelings unhappily named cosmic emotion find almost no place in life, but, since they seem to belong to certain very deep springs of our nature, do become of great importance in the arts.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.31)
     A reaction: Focus on the sublime was big in the romantic era, but Fry still sees its importance, and I don't think it ever goes away. Art styles which scorn the sublime are failing to perform their social duty, say I.
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 2. Art as Form
Art needs a mixture of order and variety in its sensations [Fry]
     Full Idea: The first quality that we demand in our [artistic] sensations will be order, without which our sensations will be troubled and perplexed, and the other will be variety, without which they will not be fully stimulated.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.32)
     A reaction: He makes good claims, but gives unconvincing reasons for them. Some of us rather like 'troubled and perplexed' sensations. And a very narrow range of sensations could still be highly stimulated. Is Fry a good aesthetician but a modest philosopher?
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 3. Art as Imitation
If graphic arts only aim at imitation, their works are only trivial ingenious toys [Fry]
     Full Idea: If imitation is the sole purpose of the graphic arts, it is surprising that the works of such arts are ever looked upon as more than curiosities, or ingenious toys, and are ever taken seriously by grown-up people.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.23)
     A reaction: But then you might say that same about fine wines. A mere nice taste is hardly worthy of grown ups, and yet lots of grown ups feeling quite passionately about it. What about Fabergé eggs?
Popular opinion favours realism, yet most people never look closely at anything! [Fry]
     Full Idea: Ordinary people have almost no idea of what things really look like, so that the one standard that popular criticism applies to painting (whether it is like nature or not) is the one which most people are prevented frm applying properly.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.29)
     A reaction: A nice remark, though there is a streak of Bloomsbury artistic snobbery running through Fry. Ordinary people recognise photographic realism, so they can study things closely either in the reality or the picture, should they so choose.
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 1. Artistic Intentions
When viewing art, rather than flowers, we are aware of purpose, and sympathy with its creator [Fry]
     Full Idea: In our reaction to a work of art (rather than a flower) there is the consciousness of purpose, of a peculiar relation of sympathy with the man who made this thing in order to arouse precisely the sensations we experience.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.33)
     A reaction: I think this is entirely right. I like the mention of 'sympathy' as well as 'purpose'.
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 4. Emotion in Art
In the cinema the emotions are weaker, but much clearer than in ordinary life [Fry]
     Full Idea: One notices in the visions of the cinematograph that whatever emotions are aroused by them, though they are likely to be weaker than those of ordinary life, are presented more clearly to the conscious.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.25)
     A reaction: Fry had probably only seen very simple melodramas, but the general idea that artistic emotions are weaker than real life, but much clearer, is quite plausible.
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 7. Art and Morality
For pure moralists art must promote right action, and not just be harmless [Fry]
     Full Idea: To the pure moralist, accepting nothing but ethical values, to be justified, the life of the imagination must be shown not only not to hinder but actually to forward right action, otherwise it is not only useless but, by absorbing energies, harmful.
     From: Roger Fry (An Essay in Aesthetics [1909], p.26)
     A reaction: I think this is the sort of attitude you find in Samuel Johnson. Puritans even reject light music, which seems pleasantly harmless to the rest of us. 'Absorbing energies' doesn't sound much of an objection, and may not be the actual objection.