Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for R.G. Collingwood, Pierre Duhem and Gary Kemp

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9 ideas

14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 6. Falsification
Observation can force rejection of some part of the initial set of claims [Duhem, by Boulter]
     Full Idea: Logic and observation alone do not force a scientist to reject a scientific claim if experimental observations so not turn out as expected. The scientist must reject something of the initial set of claims, but that is a matter of choice.
     From: report of Pierre Duhem (The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory [1906]) by Stephen Boulter - Why Medieval Philosophy Matters 2
     A reaction: This is a key point against any simplified Popperian notion of falsification. Tiny observations can't kill huge well supported theories.
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 6. Theory Holism
Experiments only test groups of hypotheses, and can't show which one is wrong [Duhem]
     Full Idea: The physicist can never subject an isolated hypothesis to experimental test, but only a whole group of hypotheses; when the experiment is in disagreement with his predictions does not designate which one should be changed.
     From: Pierre Duhem (The Aim and Structure of Physical Theory [1906], p.187), quoted by Penelope Maddy - Naturalism in Mathematics II.2
     A reaction: This is the idea frequently invoked by Quine, in support of his holistic view of scientific knowledge (along with Neurath's Boat).
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Aesthetics
By 1790 aestheticians were mainly trying to explain individual artistic genius [Kemp]
     Full Idea: By 1790 the idea that a central task for the aesthetician was to explain or at least adequately to describe the phenomenon of the individual artistic genius had definitely taken hold.
     From: Gary Kemp (Croce and Collingwood [2012], Intro)
     A reaction: Hence when Kant and Hegel write about art, though are only really thinking of the greatest art (which might be in touch with the sublime or Spirit etc.). Nowadays I think we expect accounts of art to cover modest amateur efforts as well.
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 4. Art as Expression
The horror expressed in some works of art could equallly be expressed by other means [Kemp]
     Full Idea: The horror or terror of Edvard Much's 'The Scream' could in principle be expressed by different paintings, or even by works of music.
     From: Gary Kemp (Croce and Collingwood [2012], 1)
     A reaction: A very good simple point against the idea that the point of art is expression. It leaves out the very specific nature of each work of art!
The emotion expressed is non-conscious, but feels oppressive until expression relieves it [Collingwood]
     Full Idea: The emotion expressed is one of whose nature the person feeling it is no longer conscious. As unexpressed, he feels it in a helpless and oppressed way; as expressed, the oppression has vanished. His mind is somehow lightened and eased.
     From: R.G. Collingwood (The Principles of Art [1938], p.110), quoted by Gary Kemp - Croce and Collingwood 1
     A reaction: It sounds like the regular smoking of cigarettes. This is Collingwood answer the doubts I felt about Idea 20419. I would have thought the desire of Picasso was to create another painting, but not to express yet another new oppressive feeling.
Expression can be either necessary for art, or sufficient for art (or even both) [Kemp]
     Full Idea: Seeing art as expression has two components: 1) if something is a work of art, then it is expressive, 2) if something is expressive, then it is a work of art. So expression can be necessary or sufficient for art. (or both, for Croce and Collingwood).
     From: Gary Kemp (Croce and Collingwood [2012], 1)
     A reaction: I take the idea that art 'expresses' the feelings of an artist to be false. Artists are more like actors. Nearly all art has some emotional impact, which is of major importance, but I don't think 'expression' is a very good word for that.
We don't already know what to express, and then seek means of expressing it [Kemp]
     Full Idea: One cannot really know, or be conscious of, what it is that one is going to express, and then set about expressing it; indeed if one is genuinely conscious of it then one has already expressed it.
     From: Gary Kemp (Croce and Collingwood [2012], 1)
     A reaction: That pretty conclusively demolishes the idea that art is expression. I picture Schubert composing at the piano: he doesn't feel an emotion, and then hunt for its expression on the keyboard; he seeks out expressive phrases by playing.
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 7. Ontology of Art
Art exists ideally, purely as experiences in the mind of the perceiver [Collingwood, by Kemp]
     Full Idea: For Collingwood (and Croce) the work of art is an ideal object; …they are things that exist only in the mind, that is, only when one perceives. …The physical work exists to make this experience available.
     From: report of R.G. Collingwood (The Principles of Art [1938]) by Gary Kemp - Croce and Collingwood 2
     A reaction: This means that the paintings in a gallery cease to be works of art when the gallery is shut, which sounds odd. I suppose 'work of art' is ambiguous, between the experience (right) and the facilitator of the experience (wrong).
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
Art clarifies the artist's mind and feelings, thus leading to self-knowledge [Collingwood, by Davies,S]
     Full Idea: Collingwood suggests art should be thought of not as product or artifact but as an act or process of expression through which the artist clarifies her initially vague emotions and states of mind. As such, it is a source of self-knowledge.
     From: report of R.G. Collingwood (The Principles of Art [1938], Ch.6) by Stephen Davies - The Philosophy of Art (2nd ed) 8.4
     A reaction: I might believe this of writing novels, but not much else.