On 09-Dec-98, marcia m eaton wrote: >The question about whether animals can create art is always bound to get a >fight. (My husband and I nearly ended up in divorce court over the question >of whether or not animals can thin!) My own view is that the creation of >art must be an intentional act----and thus when animals build nests, dens, >etc and are acting from instinct it does not constitute art. There is the >famous case of the elephant (I think her name is Ruby---but I am certain >that someone out there will know the name) who seems to "discard" paintings >she does that do not suit her. This begins to look like intentional >choice. However, I always worry that we interpret what she is doing as >"discarding", i.e. read into her actions more than is really there. >But having said that animals don't create art per se, we can still ask >whether what they produce is beautiful---and certainly much of it is. Here >we have an important distinction that might help your students: the >difference between artistic objects and aesthetic objects. The class of >the latter contains more things than the former, e.g. sea shells (again I >don't think oysters are artists), snowflakes, etc. 'Beauty' is a term that >can be used to describe both artistic and aesthetic objects. But some >terms that we use to describe our aesthetic experiences seem to be limited >to art, e.g. 'sincere'. A poem, but not a snowflake, can be sincere. >I hope this helps your students----I love it that students are getting into >the discussion with Ron and me. Please tell them that they are invited to >email us directly. Best, Marcia Eaton
"Why Cats Paint: A theory of feline aesthetics"
by Busch & Silver
pub by Ten Speed Press
===W=W=== Give a Hoot! Martin