Reality, Art, and Truth
This 6-8 page essay assignment will be completed in three parts. You may want to use section headers to organize your paper. Remember to explain the theories you reference with supporting citations to the textbook and online lectures in correct APA format.
Part I. The Self
Discuss the avocado idea of the self and explain at least one version of the idea that human beings have a shared essential nature (such as Cartesian rationalism or Greek philosophy). Contrast this account with the artichoke idea of the self (drawing upon existentialism to develop your account) and a discussion of how the modern/avocado and postmodern/artichoke ideas of the self differ. You may use your analysis from the Week 2 assignments to develop your account in Part I.
Part II. The Avocado Self and Art as Representation
Explain the idea that art is mimesis (Plato and/or Aristotle) and how this is like the avocado idea of the self. Discuss a character/narrator/subject in a work of art (novel, poem, film, graphic novel, short story, television show, song, painting, etc.) who you think captures the avocado/art as mimesis idea that we have an essential, shared human nature and that art reflects this reality for us.
Part III. The Artichoke Self and Art as Transformation
Explain the idea that art is transformative/how artistic creation expresses the unity of subject and object (Nietzsche, Schelling, and/or Heidegger). Discuss how this reflects the artichoke idea of the self. Discuss a character/narrator/subject in a work of art (novel, poem, film, graphic novel, short story, television show, song, painting, etc.) who you think captures the artichoke/post-modern idea of the self and the idea that art creates truth.
Part IV. Art and Philosophy
Finally, reflect upon the relationship between art and philosophy by considering some of the following questions:
- Are the self and the material world distinct entities, as Descartes thinks? What are some examples of representative art that illustrate the idea that the subject/mind and the object/world/body are distinct? Alternatively, are the self and the world organic unities, as Schelling argues? How might artistic creation express this unity of subject and object?
- Is art mimesis/representation (as in Platonism and Aristotelian aesthetics) or is it a means of transforming the self and reality? Might it be aspirational, allowing us to achieve catharsis, as Aristotle suggests? Consider, too, how the idea of art as representation is akin to the avocado view while the idea of art as transformative is more like the artichoke view.
- What is the relationship between art and philosophy? Do you agree with Descartes that logic and critical thinking are the best means of achieving certainty about reality and existence, or is your view more akin to the perspective of Keats, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and/or Heidegger that art is the ultimate expression of truth? How are these views a rejection of the natural standpoint we see adopted by empiricism and rationalism and rejected by phenomenology?
- Do some kinds of art (music, for example) express the truth more fully than others? How so? How does the idea and purpose of art differ across cultures?