The Instigator
DeATHNOTE
Pro (for)
Winning
30 Points
The Contender
dullurd
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

It is impossible to define art

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/11/2008 Category: Arts
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,507 times Debate No: 1670
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (1)
Votes (13)

 

DeATHNOTE

Pro

what ever you say, it is impossible to define art. in fact it is impossible to define mostly anything with a sentence, but this debate is about art. you can give counterexamples for what others say. (this means not the definition but what is it)

the book "Philosophy Gym" has a catagory on "what is art" if you have time find the artical and read it, its about a debate between two imaginary people. this only proves my point, you cant tell what "art" is

Giving art a definition like being "beautiful" doesnt mean art nessesarly means its beautiful. Tracy Emins bed photo was potrayed as art, but many people dont believe that it is beautiful. and if you take that into consideration, the martial arts are not nessessairly beautiful. although you also may say art is a form of self expression it is not nessesairly a need to be a literal form of self expression, random blots of paint of a canvas can be considered art but there is no need for this expression to have come out in the form of a conscience act.

to whomever accepts this, please try to give art a simple "definition" like what i have shown you. because a counter example can be given to what ever you say.
dullurd

Con

No definition of art can be really objective; there will never be a consensus. However, just because it's impossible to get everyone to agree on its definition doesn't mean that every definition of art is equally valid. I wish the debate topic were worded more specifically. If the question you're posing is whether art can be perfectly defined so that no one will disagree, it's basically impossible for me to argue my side, and this could never be an interesting discussion. However, I guess I'm hoping that you wanted to debate a more interesting question, which is whether art can be defined well, just not necessarily perfectly.

My personal definition of art, one that many people agree with to some extent, is that art is expression. Beauty can enhance art, and in many genres of art, beauty is an integral ingredient, but I agree with you that beauty is certainly not a prerequisite characteristic for something to be considered art. One way to see how I arrive at my definition of art is to compare a beautiful piece of art with something else that is indisputably a piece of art, but not beautiful, and try to figure out what they have in common. It's easy to think of beautiful art, so I'll let you imagine your favorite example, and for the nonbeautiful piece of art, I'll pick Picasso's "Guernica": http://www.artquotes.net...

Guernica is certainly not aesthetically beautiful. Its figures are distorted, it's monochromatic, and especially if you know the story behind it (it represents the 1937 bombing of a Spanish town by the Nazis), it does not evoke pleasant thoughts. Yet hardly anyone would argue that Guernica is not art. Why is it art, though? Because it evokes thoughts, because it is Picasso's chosen vehicle for expression, and it works, it brings the viewer to Picasso's mindset.

The main criticism of my definition of art is probably that it's too broad. I can understand this reaction. You might say to me, "Hey dullurd, I was doodling the other day in my notebook, I drew an anthropomorphic hotdog with a moustache, are you really telling me that's art?" I would have to say yes, it is art. I think this kind of criticism is based on a implicit definition of art that is a lot worse that the one I'm putting forward. Note that my definition of art says nothing about its quality. Just because something is expressive doesn't make it good/high art.

I would then ask you on what grounds are you so certain that your goofy hotdog isn't art? I mean, I'd probably call it very bad/low art, but if you want to say it isn't art at all, you've got some explaining to do. I'm guessing that you would at least instinctively want to say something about the fact that it isn't beautiful, or that it didn't seem to take much time and effort to create. It's understandable that these arguments would come to mind. People inherently appreciate beauty and effort. However, we've both already agreed that beauty is not a necessary ingredient for art. And as far as effort goes, think about photography. Certainly photographs are art, but they take minimal effort, the push of a button, to actually create. While time and effort make it much more likely that a piece of art will be good/high art, they aren't prerequisites either.

I could say more, but I think this is good for now. Looking forward to your response.
Debate Round No. 1
DeATHNOTE

Pro

First off, i would like to thank you dullurd for joining my debate. Now in your previous argument you said that it would be less interesting if i were to say art can not be perfictly defined, i totally agree with this, infact most things cannot be perfectly defined. but i also believe that art cannot be defined well. there are so many different kinds of art that finding a few words to describe how one feels about it would be impossible to give it and so called "definition"

Now i am glad you agree that with me that art does not nessesairly have to be beautiful, that makes our disscussion a bit easier. now in your previous argument you said you believe art is an expression, now to an extent art can be an expression. but this "definition" does not cover all of the different kinds of art. the definition of expression is.... "The act of expressing, conveying, or representing in words, art, music, or movement;a manifestation;"

Now with this definition, it would cover such arts as, literature, music, and dance/martial arts/ and so on. now the term manifestation, would reffer to something being revealed as art. i believe that the art dosent nessessairly have to be revealed to become what it is. now i do believe expression would cover some braud parts of art, but like in my previous argument, an expression would have to be a consence act to peform. if you dont know it is happening, than it wouldnt be a liberal expression.

Now for me to be one to create art, (like you said in your argument) of course it may seem like art in my eyes, and than someone may say different. this is why one person may not be able to give a definition of what an art is because their views may seem different from the person next to thems.
Also (not saying you are but...) if you were to say art can only be created by an artist, or someone whom's goal was to create an art it would be somewhat like discrimination to say a non artist cannot create art, because it may very well be art in their eyes.

so in a nutshell, the same definition of art cannot be used for all the different kinds of art, or different people in the world. art would have to be something that each individual has to feel for. but if you were to take the different kinds of art like; photography, painting, cooking, martial art, dance, and so on, and give them each smaller definitions for each of their similarties than you can get a more narrow idea on what art might be, but still you wouldnt be able to define it well enough for all of the arts and for every persons belief.

Sorry if this seemed a bit confusion, (im sorry my darn cat annoyed me through the whole thing) but please try and understand my point.

I look forward to the conclusion of this debate

sincerily

- DeATHNOTE
dullurd

Con

Summarizing your arguments:
1) The dictionary gives "manifestation" as a synonym for "expression," and "manifestation" implies that something must be revealed. But art is art regardless of whether or not it is seen/appreciated by others.
2) Art can't be defined because people will disagree.

My responses:
1) I agree that art doesn't need to be shown to others in order to be considered art. Expression can be private. If I paint a painting then lock it in a safe without ever showing it to anyone else, are you saying the painting would cease to be expressive? That's just silly. When a person writes in a private diary, isn't that expression?

2) As I said before, I don't expect this debate.org page to spawn a global art revolution that will accept my definition as gospel, but I do think it's a pretty good definition. I have to disagree with your assertion that my definition doesn't apply well to certain forms of art. Consider: the central drive of every person who purports to create art is to convey thoughts, sensations and/or emotions. The way I see it, that's basically the definition of expression.
Debate Round No. 2
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by DeATHNOTE 9 years ago
DeATHNOTE
i never ment this to spawn a global art revolution anyway it was just a subject to debate about
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Vote Placed by clegdor 9 years ago
clegdor
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