2015年4月30日 星期四

【美學筆記】Frank Sibley 論美感起源/Ethelred

【美學筆記】Frank Sibley 論美感起源/Ethelred

「美感是來自藝術品還是自然事物?」Frank Sibley 在他的文章 “Arts or the Aesthetic –which Comes First?” 嘗試處理這個美感起源的問題:

"The question I want to raise here is about the genesis of the concept of the aesthetic. Where does it originate? Do human beings derive the notion of aesthetic experience from the arts and the work of artists, or would aesthetic experience be possible, perhaps in relation to natural objects, even if there were no art? Which, in short, is the more fundamental notion, art or the aesthetic?" (p. 135).

Sibley 明到了黑格爾那個年代,人們開始把「美」和「藝術」連上關係甚至認為美感的來源是藝術品 —— 也就是,藝術的概念在邏輯上先於美的概念。他舉出了三個持這種想法的哲學家:

"In the introduction to his lectures on Fine Art, Hegel wrote, 'the beauty of art stands higher than Nature' and concentrated thereafter on an account of the arts. Many others since have contended explicitly that the arts have a logical priority over the aesthetics of nature." (pp. 135-6)

One recent writer of importance holds that 'once the aesthetic attitude has been established on the basis of objects produced under the concept of art, we can extend it beyond this base' (Wollheim: 1980, p. 97).

Another writes, 'when we judge a person's or a flower's beauty we are judging them within certain artificial canons, canons that we develop from our acquaintance with the arts' (Savile: 1982, p. xi)

那麼,這些哲學家如何解釋,我們在看到自然景物而非藝術品時,何以會有美感上的感受?Sibley 嘗試解釋:他們會認為我們的感受來自藝術家的眼光,當我們看過 Monet 或 Van Gogh 的畫,視野便不知不覺受到了他們影響。我們透過藝術家的眼睛看世界,同時感受到美感。這種法是把自然事物看成人工藝術品。然而,Sibley 認為沒有任何具服力的論證能支持這種法:

"To my knowledge no convincing argument has ever been offered to prove it. Indeed I want to suggest that no such argument could be given. I even think that the exact opposite is almost certainly true, that is, that the concept of art is logically secondary or dependent on the concept of the aesthetic" (p. 136)

然後 Sibley 便開始論述他所建構的論證,用以證立美感先於藝術。論證由這兩個前提作推論:

"If one considers the concept of art, at least that concept which underlies the obvious or central or paradigm examples of art over many centuries, it seems impossible that art should not be thought of as the production of things, audible, visual, or linguistic, which are attempts to create, if not beauty, at least things of some aesthetic interest, and this no matter what additional purposes they might have been meant to serve" (p. 136)

"It is impossible to have the intention to do or produce X, whatever X is, without already possessing some notion of X" (p. 136).


(1) 創造藝術品要知道美的概念。

(2) 在邏輯上,我們不能意圖去做一件事而對這件事一無所知。
(3) 在邏輯上,我們不能意圖去創造藝術品而對美一無所知。(Since: 1-2)
(4) 美在邏輯上先於藝術。(Since: 3)

在建構論證後,Sibley 開始提出對他論證的潛在反駁。首先,人們可能會反駁前提 (2),認為我們可以意外地創造出美的事物,而不涉及任何意圖:

"Similarly, someone, adult or child, even an orang-utan, even a machine randomly operating, might, produce something that happened to be of aesthetic interest" (p. 137).

"There have been works which are chance or random happenings, aleatory music, automatic writing, objets trouves, ready-mades, computer productions, works over which the artist exerted little control or direction, or where there was no intention of producing things of aesthetic interest" (pp. 137-8)

對於這種批判,Sibley 認為單是美的事物不是藝術品,藝術品需要經由人的選擇,而當評定一件物品為藝術品時,便涉及了意圖,同時需要先有美的概念。因此,美在邏輯性上還是先於藝術:

"Sometimes artists have left things to chance but hoped for and selected and salvaged anything of aesthetic significance; but in so far as they select the 'worthwhile' results and reject the 'worthless', they are still, by this selection, often intending to present items, differently arrived at, of aesthetic interest" (p. 138).

除了對前提 (2) 的批評外,對前提 (1) 也有一個潛在批評。這批評以近代藝術發展作為參考,明有些藝術品是意圖去創造出醜陋的事物,所以前提 (1) —— 創造藝術品要知道美的概念,是不合理可信的。故此,整個論證為 invalid:

"But in other cases there has been the deliberate intention or hope that what is produced or selected will be ugly, banal, pedestrian, without traditional aesthetic values, will even be devoid of aesthetic interest altogether. Such productions may be, and have been, described as art-works" (p. 138).

Sibley 的回應是,由於美醜是一個相對的概念,即使我們意圖去創造出醜陋的事物,也需要先知道美的概念 —— 兩者必然地共存:

"So, it seems, whether we allow these modern works to be new forms of art or not, they all presuppose a familiar concept of art and therefore of the aesthetic. Without the latter concept they could not exist" (p. 138).

可是,Sibley 的論證還是沒有考慮最後一種可能性:現今有些藝術品可能完全不需要考慮美或醜,因此亦不需要先對美有概念。雖然如此,他的論證還是有相當的發性(特別是 他對意外地創造的藝術品,和電腦隨機生圖像的分析)。我之所以喜歡 Sibley 的文章,不多不少在於他對概念分析的討論方法。

Wollheim, R. (1980) Art and Its Objects, 2nd edn., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Savile, A. (1982) The Test of Time: An Essay in Philosophical Aesthetics, Oxford: Clarendon Press

Sibley, F. (2001) Approach to Aesthetics: Collected Papers on Philosophical Aesthetics, Oxford : Oxford University Press.

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