I had not heard of Barbara Bolt until I stumbled upon this video lecture she gave at the University of Melbourne about Heidegger from an artist's perspective. [see my previous post about Australia being the most philosophical nation on earth - I stand by it.] She's both a practicing artist and publishing academic and I get the sense this was a lecture to a philosophy class as a guest speaker.
She touches on "The Question Concerning Technology", "The Origin of the Work of Art" and "Being and Time". It's an interesting take on the notion of use and equipment for the purpose of creating art. She takes the Heideggerian idea that use, as a way of being, is prior to knowledge and asks what that means for artists and their tools.
We've talked some about art in our Danto and Goodman episodes and some of our longest tenured listeners are artists. A theme we have touched on is how 'intellectual' art and artists are, and whether it's a hindrance or a help in the creation of art. Or whether it's even necessary for an understanding of art.
Taking Bolt's notion into account it seems you can ask that question at two levels: use vs. knowledge in the creation of art and use vs. knowledge in the experience of art. I think we've discussed the latter, but not so much the former. As a discussion of aesthetics and the enjoyment of art it is very interesting, but it also opens the door to a wider notion of use in experience that would enrich discussion about different forms of art (beyond painting). How do using MOMA or the Kimball as buildings impact our experience of them as works of art as well?
At about 9:20 she says we need to look into what we perceive before we perceive via our scientific intellections. Pirsig spent most of ZMM addressing this preintellectual experience and called it Romantic Quality – the artist’s way – preintellectualized awareness – the cutting edge of reality. Classic Quality, on the other hand, is the scientific way – the rational way – the taking apart and analyzing way (rationing/ratio).
Pirsig says an artist sees a tree in immediacy as a holistic unity of form and color and comeliness w/ its setting, and has a high or low value experience of Romantic Quality, ignoring all other aspects. The botanist ignores this wholeness and sets out rationing the tree into species, and leaf and limb growth patterns and…whatever botanists know/care of trees…and in this Classic mode of Quality, s/he experiences a hi or lo valuation based on the “details” the artist overlooks.
I again am reminded of Pirsig facing his stuck screw by Dr. Bolt’s lecture – good.
I don’t have anything to add to this topic, but I wanted to thank you to the link to your past post on Australia. I hadn’t seen it before and I have been listening to The Philosopher’s Zone for a few days while driving to work. I like it a lot.
I also wanted to thank you for pointing out In Our Times around Christmas.
Sorry for the off-topic post.
Seth Paskin says
Ian Thal says
Heidegger is not arguing against the scientific way of apprehending the world, but against giving it priority to such a degree that it obscures meaning in that before we abstract general principles, or form a testable hypothesis, we experience space, time, and objects but because we have specific sorts of bodies, live in particular climes, are engaged in particular vocations, and speak particular languages. There’s nothing “wrong” about physics or chemistry as pursuits, but there is a misinterpretation when one’s primary comportment towards people, pets, or say, food is in terms of of chemical and mechanical operations.
Yes, there is a certain romanticism that enters Heidegger’s thought (and Heidegger’s involvement with Naziism is certainly connected with his romanticism) but his phenomenological approach: that is encountering materials, tools, and the world, is not some undifferentiated “preintellectual” activity since it is shaped by language, experience, and a learned context. It’s simply a way of understanding the world that forms the ground on which the mechanistic world picture of early 20th century modernism rested upon.
Tom McDonald says
Well said Ian. Your point reminds me of a quote from Simon Critchley:
“The critique of scientism within phenomenology does not seek to refute or negate the results of scientific research in the name of some mystical apprehension of the unity of man and nature, or whatever. Rather, it simply insists that science does not provide the primary or most significant access to a sense of ourselves and the world. Anti-scientism does not at all entail an anti-scientific attitude […] what is required here is what the young Heidegger called, in a much-overlooked but highly suggestive remark from _Being and Time_, “an existential conception of science”. This would show how the practices of the natural sciences arise out of life-world practices, and that the life-world practices are not simply reducible to natural scientific explanation.”
— Simon Critchley (“Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction”, p. 116, [Oxford, 2001])
Tom McDonald says
BTW, Bolt’s black jacket with black turtleneck gets my vote for best Heideggerian look.
Tim Kjeldsen says
How do I view the second part?
Seth Paskin says
Here’s the link: