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Lesson Plans

Re: Do Animal Create Art/Beauty

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
George Martin Rex (grex)
Wed, 09 Dec 1998 07:33:49 +0500

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

Check out "Why Cats Paint: A theory of feline aesthetics" by Busch & Silver pub by Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-612-2

I\___/I I:Q:O:I I::V::I I:::::I \:::/ ===W=W=== Give a Hoot! Martin