Can Aesthetic Taste Be Disputed?

Discussion in 'Pandora's Box' started by reggaemylitis, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. #1 reggaemylitis, Nov 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2011
    This is a response to bahookahjoe18, whos tryin to get some moral, ethical, philosophical debate up in dis bitch:wave:

    I might come up with some more of these bad boys if GC responds well to some higher thinking besides pornstars and whether or not fat people are retarded. come on guys, if we are all actually over eighteen id be very interested if you formulate a reasonable response.

    So I ask ya'll are certain preferences better, can taste be disputed? what does GC think?

    This comes from a philosophical essay i read by Monroe Beardsley. "Taste can be Disputed."
    Beardsley as the “Aesthetic Skeptic.”
    ----- “the apparent reasons are not genuine reasons, or cannot be compelling reasons, like the ones we find in other fields”
    ----“though it is true that you can’t change a disliking into a liking by arguments, that doesn’t imply that you can’t change it at all, or that we cannot argue whether or not it ought to be changed

    This is what i think
    Everyone has preferences in what they like; this is often referred to as an aesthetic taste by philosophers. Aesthetics is a reference to a branch of philosophy where the focal point is on beauty in arts, music, literature, etc., and what is deemed beautiful. Aesthetic tastes are seen as a person’s judgment or sentiment over which genre, or specific item, is preferred. A major philosophical debate arises from the concept of aesthetic taste which asks whether or not taste can be disputed and if some tastes are better or worse than others.

    Taste is something hardwired into our minds and body. Our tastes can change over time, but we always still have a sweet spot for things we used to be very interested in. I find that a lot of my tastes are based on the household I grew up in. The preferences of my parents were passed on to me, and I too developed my own taste, to create a completely unique set of sentiments. For example someone growing up very wealthy may love caviar and steak; however, someone living in a lower class area may have just as potent tastes for hamburgers and fries. In my argument neither of these tastes are superior, taste is something based on so many outside factors, it cannot be argued for better or worse. It seems like a natural human right to like what you want, and have your own set of interests. Beardsley would say that it is obviously better to like a classier set of foods then something on a dollar menu, but really what are we using as standards.

    Aesthetic tastes cannot be disputed; Tastes are something physiological and environmental that is unique to everyone, each reason defending a taste is merely just a more specific preference because there are no objective standards for judgment, and finally argument cannot change taste. I see some of Beardsley’s points against the aesthetic skeptic; however, after his argument I still don’t believe I ought to agree with the disputability of taste.

    Lots of people who side with Beardsley think that per say, a taste in classical music is far superior than that to gangster rap
  2. gangster rap is an opinion, yes. So you can't base fact's on opinion, I know it's your last sentence, but too characterize hiphop like that is silly.. It's so much more..
  3. well i wasnt trying to argue about hiphop, it was merely an example.
  4. #4 Vicious, Nov 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2011
    I'm having trouble answering partly because I feel like the question isn't clear. It can be disputed in some cases and others it can't. Aesthetic taste is basically a bias; favoring one genre over another, ideas or music that clicks with you, etc. Completely stimuli and reaction, we have a bias and preference of that stimuli however if that stimuli or idea is new it can easily be influenced and changed.

    An idea can also be influenced with debate, learning more about the topic or noticing a fallacy in their logic. The mind is not in a static state and opinions constantly change. Sometimes simply because of mood. You can also have a taste influenced biologically or genetically (nature) and how you were raised (nurture). Food may taste different to you than someone else because of the arrangement of your taste buds. One could also argue that something is an acquired taste. Flavor could be disputed between a new smoker and a connoisseur.

    Short answer no; opinions and taste depend on the person
    Long answer yes; the mind is dynamic and influences everything about us. Stimuli and reaction change therefore bias, opinions and taste always change. Kinda what Beardsley was saying
  5. i really hear what your saying man, its kind of unclear because its kind of unanswerable, it is an age old philosophical debate. If your interested in reading the piece where i derived the argument its this

    i really liked ur point about the mind not being static

    maybe this is kinda a weird question tho, maybe next time ill choose a more clear/arguable topic.
  6. to an extent because its a subjective experience
  7. :smoke:preference is that of the individual
  8. My honest belief is that some people have better taste than others.

    I truly believe my musical taste to be superior to the vast majority of people who I come in contact with. I base this partially upon the fact that I have been more exposed to music throughout my life than many others (my parents are musicians and music teachers) as well as the fact that I dedicate a great deal of time to playing, composing and listening to music. I think about music constantly, in a philosophical manner, in an emotional manner... music is something that I am very informed about.

    Now on the other hand I know nothing about dance. I honestly don't like dancing that much and so I don't pay it much attention but let's say that I started getting into dancing a bit more.
    There would be many people who knew more about and could appreciate more complex and subtle kinds of dance than could I. I might think that the mambo was stupid because I wasn't informed about it, I didn't understand and therefore couldn't appreciate the subtlety or the technique that it employs. I might be able to argue that my taste in dance was superior, but it in reality would not be when in the presence of an actual dancer.

    Not sure if this made sense or if it was just a jumbled pile of ramblings but there's my two cents.
  9. I'm not sure what we're arguing about here. But I'll answer from this notion:

    "A major philosophical debate arises from the concept of aesthetic taste which asks whether or not taste can be disputed and if some tastes are better or worse than others."

    If we are to say that a taste can be better or worse than another, we need a set of criteria from which we are evaluating these judgments from. To say "5 is better than 6" says nothing, unless we are to first state that "A lesser quantity is better."

    So I'm not sure how a taste could be better or worse unless we come to a consensus as to what makes one taste better than the other...
  10. Aesthetic taste is just a fancy way of saying "opinion,"and you can't argue opinion
  11. really interesting answers, thanks guys, i understand the question is broad and hard to follow. But thats the point, it brings more questions and more non answers, thats what i find so interesting about philosophy.

    I agree with ya ryan u would need a certain set of criteria for determining better or worse, prolly similar to the hedonic calculus proposed by Jeremy Bentham who is a utilitarian. He thinks the best way to evaluate an action is by the maximum pleasure and least amount of pain it causes. in his theory he comes up with hedonic calc which is just an arbitrary way of evaluating. it would be interesting but idk if we can come up with a non arbitrary system of measurement, its all a part of the debate
  12. subbed for later discussion. +rep for getting some good thought started.
  13. Of course. Everything is subjective
  14. #15 Ryan1411, Nov 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2011
    Yeah I was never sure what to think about morality. On one hand we are obviously deriving our judgments from some common basis, yet I thought that since each individual has a slightly different judgment, that it makes it subjective.

    I was just reading a debate yesterday about an evolutionary biologist/psychologist approach to morality and it gave me some new insight. He was basically arguing that through natural selection the fittest genes survive, and that from this, as humans our primary function is survival. He says that this is where our idea of morality is derived from; the behaviors that are likely to increase the survival of the collective over the long term are moral and vice versa. Emphasis on the word collective, not individual, since it is about the propagation of the species not necessarily an individual.

    He was saying that morals are not absolute, as what is optimal varies with conditions, but we can have a good idea as to what is moral through previous history/evidence of how behaviors affect our survival.

    I've seen this approach to morality before, and it always makes the most sense to me. I mean while I love philosophy, sometimes it pisses me off. While science tries to explain the phenomenon of morality with theories developed through the use of empirical evidence, philosophy goes on to argue about different viewpoints of morality and whether we can dictate one as being "the right one".

    The problem here, to me, is this. Take this analogy as an example:

    Suppose a robot is created with the intent to serve food to guests. While it is capable of doing other small things, what it should do is serve guests, since that is it's primary function.

    That's what the evolutionary approach is arguing. Since our primary function is survival, what we should and shouldn't do becomes a matter of fact, regardless of whatever ideas of morality have developed. However I think that since what is moral is context dependent, our opinions as to what is moral may differ. Yet I think that since there is a theoretical right and wrong, it remains an objective matter, regardless of whether we are unsure of what it may be in any given circumstance.

    Of course that's just one viewpoint. But it's one that I agree with.:cool:
  15. It really is nice to see a thread in pandora's box that isn't about brutal murder, boobs or peeing fetishes.
  16. #17 reggaemylitis, Nov 27, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2011
    thats why i made this thread, im working out a fee more philosophical debates to make threads about because if i cant talk about drugs in the box i might as well not just rot my mind away looking at bitties in yoga pants and talking about dumbass shit


    to ryan, out of curiousity who is the author ur talking about, any chance its Holmes Rolston.

    He makes a very similar argument that i completely agree with. Many people have the biocentric approach that all life has intrinsic value, and that would mean that the species has no intrinsic value. This is because it is just an encompassing name for things of the same nature. Rolston and whoever ur writing about agree that the species is what has the intrinsic value because the value of an individual is extrinsic of the species.
    so essentially if we allow hunting of deer, which say 200,000 deer tags are sold, it is not harmful because the species can still sustain itself. the species is only in danger when its genetic diversity is compromised.

    "However I think that since what is moral is context dependent, our opinions as to what is moral may differ. Yet I think that since there is a theoretical right and wrong, it remains an objective matter, regardless of whether we are unsure of what it may be in any given circumstance." -ryan

    i think morality has to be conditions that are universal and non contextual, however, i do realize that is impossible because every right and wrong is theoretical. so i partly agree with this quoute.

    also i feel ur frustration with the philosophy versus science, and find myself in the same conundrum of emperical and normative information. im a philosophy/environmental ethics major and am gonna take a class on the philosophy of science next semester, im pretty interested to see what its all about
  17. Nah, just some guy on another forum that was arguing for this approach to morality.

    By context dependent I mean that the most beneficial route of action will depend on circumstance. (You could say that stealing food can be moral if you would die without it, and immoral if you steal when it is not a matter of life and death). However, the principal that a moral action is one that promotes survival remains true no matter what. I guess that's what I mean by objective; our criteria for judging an action is always about how it affects the survival of the collective.

    But anyway to stay on topic, while we can argue for a system in which we judge morals, I'm having mixed thoughts on personal preference. I say this because it reminds me of an art class I took. We learned about how to analyze and judge pieces of art. (Through the use of line, contour, meaning ...I forget what else.) Supposedly artists use a fairly univeral set of criteria to form their judgments, or at least to assist in forming their judgments. In this sense you could argue that one piece of art can be better than another.

    Yet its funny to realize that the criteria itself for judging art was derived from our intrinsic attitudes towards what is considered beautiful. We did not pull the criteria out of our ass, we simply discovered what appeals to us intrinsically, and then took these principals and used it to guide us in our determining the quality of a piece of art.

    Therefore, I suppose within the framework of this man-made judgment system, you can claim one piece better than another. But in regards to our true personal preference, we do not necessarily equate what is generally thought of as great art, to be great art in our eyes. And therefore I really don't see how you can claim true personal preference to be any greater than another personal preference. Personal preference is more of a statement than anything.
  18. People have no taste.

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