The Instigator
ooberman
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DaFarmerProject
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Can animals (non-human) create art?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,275 times Debate No: 35568
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)

 

ooberman

Pro

My argument is that animals can create art for 1 reason.

There is no objective definition of art. Therefore, if a man wants to sign a urinal and call it art (Duchamp), or an elephant steps on some paper and an art dealer wants to sell it to a wealthy idiot, it is still art.

Art is subjective, so much so that it's a wonder how we let Universities charge people to learn it.

Con will have to show that there are objective rules to art that distinguish between "real" art and "fake" art or, more impossibly, show that animals have an intention to produce art.

Art is such a useless term that we can say, quite easily, that animals can create art because we humans appreciate it AS art.

To say that animals can't create art is not being specist. It's claiming that humans don't have the creativity to see art in non-art.

The Dada movement proved that art is wide open to interpretation. Classical rules of art are arbitrary and meaningless.

Animals can produce art - not because of their intention - because we can apply any assessment to ANYTHING and call it art.

This Monty Python video supports my argument (safe):
DaFarmerProject

Con

This is a very odd topic for me to debate. I'm also new to this site, so I'm looking for experience. I will do my best to debate this strange argument.

To open up my initial argument, I will begin by defining some terms that have a definitive ruling on the flow of this presentation:

-Art : 1 [noncount] : something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

-Skill : 2
a : the ability to use one's knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance
b : dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks

-Imagination : 1 the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
2
a : creative ability
http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Con would like to accept those definitions wholly into the argument being made.

According to the official definition of art in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, 'art' is not entirely subjective to literally, 'anything.' If that were the case, any object could be considered art in the real world. Due to the fact that something being beautiful or important can be subjective to anybodies beliefs, Con would like to accept that art is something skillfully created with intention of being noticed.

As Pro mentioned before, Art is proven to be openly interpreted by any human. But in regards to Pro's arguments, if humans can apply assessment to anything to call it art, basic logic proves that the said human in turn created the piece into art in their own mind, as other humans may not interpret the piece in the same way. If a non-human were to create something unintentionally and another human interprets it as a piece of art the animal did not create the art, as the animal was not the one who interpreted it as a piece of art.

Before Con can answer the questions asked in Pro's introduction, there are some things that should be cleared up in round 2 of Pro's argument:

"Con will have to show that there are objective rules to art that distinguish between "real" art and "fake" art or, more impossibly, show that animals have an intention to produce art." : Quote 1

According to Pro's previous quote shown here: "The Dada movement proved that art is wide open to interpretation.", [Quote 2] Con argues that this is a contradiction to what was shown in Quote 1. If what Pro presents is what he means, he is not making logical sense by saying there is indeed 'real' art and 'fake' art if art can indeed be interpreted as or by anything or anyone. Con requests that Pro elaborates on that point.

Con holds the arguments previously made standing on the ground that Pro presented.
Debate Round No. 1
ooberman

Pro

Thank you, Con, for doing this. (I'm new too and need to get some debates under my belt)

First, I have to admit I picked this topic because there really is no accepted answer among philosophers. For a deeper discussion see: http://plato.stanford.edu...

In a way, it is the same impossible question as "What is Beauty?" or "What is Truth?"

But, we are all interested in debate, and what better way to discuss something interesting AND add a Monty Python video? :-)

Second, I want to quickly restate the issue, as I see it, since I was unclear.

Con says: "Before Con can answer the questions asked in Pro's introduction, there are some things that should be cleared up in round 2 of Pro's argument:

"Con will have to show that there are objective rules to art that distinguish between "real" art and "fake" art or, more impossibly, show that animals have an intention to produce art." : Quote 1"

My really ham-handed point here (which I admit confused me for a few minutes) is that if we define art as 'that which is art to humans' then a birds nest can be art, but isn't necessarily.

So, as I see it:

Can animals produce art?
Yes, if: Humans determine it is art, not that there are things that make art objectively "Art".
That is, if a bird makes a nest, we can call it art, but the bird did not produce it AS art.
So, the Con position:

Can animals produce art?
No, if: there are strict rules as to what art is and the intention of the artist matches with those rules of art.
That is, calling a birds nest, or urinal "art" may not be what some people call "art".

The Monty Python video, though humorous, intended to show how non-art can be called art by humans.

But, Con may wish to argue that we can't call anything we want "art", that there are certain rules that must apply. For example, that Dada art is not actually "Art". While it may be poetic, funny, or something, it's not "ART".

And, thus, if there are strict rules in producing art, then if an animal produces art, by extension, they are following these rules.

I argue there are no strict rules for something to be called "ART", and therefore, animals produce art, even if only accidentally.

This is how I would say my Pro position stands.
DaFarmerProject

Con

Con appreciates the reviewing of the previous statements made as he requested.

After reviewing the article that Pro presented in his Round 2 argument, Con still is skeptical on the true, clean-cut definition of art. According to the text presented, art is indeed questionable in philosophy, and, according to the article, "Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy." [Quoted: http://plato.stanford.edu...]. Con would like to argue on the ground of this statement that any piece of art is arguable in its intention is not recognized as art by all people. What Con is trying to say here, is that if a human interprets another piece of art, in their own mind it is art. But the non-human who created the piece does not view it as art, and therefore it was shown no intention to be thought of as art. The signed urinal was, surprisingly intended to be thought of as a piece of art by the creator, and it was accepted as a piece of art because the artist showed intention that the piece was to be recognized in a sense as a piece of art.

Con understands and accepts that there are controversial arguments that may be presented by Pro's side, this is not controllable as art does have a sense of controversy regardless of what sources are used. However, Con will be debating the solid facts of the matter.

Con earlier presented the Merriam-Webster definition of 'imagination.' Art is entirely subjective to the creator's imaginative ability. Let's review that:

-Imagination : 1 the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality
2
a : creative ability

Both definitions are wholly relevant to the subject. This brings Con to his next argument: Do non-humans such as animals have a sense of imagination? Well the answer to that, like everything else seemingly in this argument, is still controversial and possesses senses of skepticism. It is not necessarily proven either way that animals have a sense of imagination. However, it has been shown that most animals learn from a form of repetition, like parrots who can 'talk.' Cats and dogs of the like have been shown to do poorly on creativity tests, and generally cannot use creativity or imagination to advance further in a task. Con understands that there have been instances where certain animals did seem to surprise humans in innovative ability and that Pro will most likely present that feature. However, a small sense of imagination still isn't enough to create art if art was not intended. If a chimpanzee gathers dirt and sticks and puts them in a pile for whatever reason, and another human thinks of the creation as art, is the pile of dirt and sticks actually art? Con further argues that it would NOT be considered a form of art, as there was absolutely no intention by the creator to have the item appraised and thought of as a form of art.

Con ponders on this quote from Pro's argument: "That is, if a bird makes a nest, we can call it art, but the bird did not produce it AS art." [Quote 1]
: [the con position] "there are strict rules as to what art is and the intention of the artist matches with those rules of art.
That is, calling a birds nest, or urinal "art" may not be what some people call "art". " [Quote 2]

In a sense these two quotes are presenting the same argument. In Quote 1, Pro stated his argument in the same way Con presents his, that the bird did not show intention to create art, but some humans may still think of it as art regardless of what the animal thinks. Con ponders on this, as it seems like if anything this is arguing on my side. However, it does appear that Con and Pro differ mainly on this point: Is art necessarily what humans make it out to be, or what humans don't make it out to be? The answer to that question, yet again, is an unknown form of skepticism. Con stands ground that art is strictly what the creator intended it to be: if he/she/it intended it to be art then it is a form of art. If he/she/it had no intention of the creation being appraised then it is not a form art and shouldn't be thought of as one.

Con further argues that art is entirely subjective to what the creator intended it to be, and that animals (or non-humans) don't possess the creative ability to seriously intend to create something that was meant to be accepted as a form of art.
Debate Round No. 2
ooberman

Pro

ooberman forfeited this round.
DaFarmerProject

Con

(Not going to present anything new to be fair)

Con proves by all above arguments that animals (non-humans) can not objectively create art as they lack the imaginative ability and intention of appraisal.

Con also proves that Pro's argument is flawed in its sense of ambiguity.

Con carries forward any previously made arguments to conclude his presentation.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by neptune1bond 3 years ago
neptune1bond
I don't know if anyone involved in this debate has ever seen this, but watch this video!

https://www.youtube.com...

That's a friggin' elephant painting a self-portrait (or at least a painting of another elephant)! Not only does it take self awareness to paint ones self or own species, but it does take some imagination to conjure the image in ones own mind clear enough to reproduce it on paper. In addition, it took some imagination to conjure the image of a flower to place in the elephants trunk. Not to mention the fact that the elephant draws better than a lot of people! (If I drew an elephant, you probably wouldn't even know what the heck it is.) Even if you do not consider this a masterpiece by human standards, it would still be considered at least pleasing to the eye, requiring some skill to reproduce the image on paper, and a little creative/imaginative as well as somewhat expressive (whether or not others see it, the elephant in the picture seems to express happy or joyful emotions to me with the leg positioning and the way it raises the flower high in the sky!) Even if someone might consider it bad or simple art, I still think that it is hard to deny that it is indeed art by any reasonable standard.
Posted by DaFarmerProject 3 years ago
DaFarmerProject
I'm not gonna present anything new, since I know you didn't purposely miss.
Posted by ooberman 3 years ago
ooberman
oops, missed the deadline...
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