Deconstructing Language

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Deconstructing Language

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Brian wrote:
... A bow and arrow is a weapon too, but it's nowhere as good as an M-16. An ox cart is a vehicle too, but nowhere as good as a jumbo jet for most purposes.

Jeffery wrote:
Yes, my point exactly. All kinds of art, but some kinds are better than others.

Right. I think there's a difference between crude, mediocre, and weak art on the one hand and non-art (of the kind that Pollock, Cage, Rothko, and Duchamp made "popular"), and I try to make that difference clear. The thing is that merely weak art doesn't get me as upset as the completely useless stuff. Jeffery wrote:
[...] Does an art object have to have some kind of skill in its production to qualify as an art object?

That depends on what you mean. Strictly speaking it is not skill that went into it that makes it art, but it has to have qualities that can only be accomplished through a fairly complex and thoughtful process. If you could somehow bring about the same result without a lot of work and skill then it would still be art, but since that's not possible, it might as well be true. An airplane would still be an airplane even if it were made through a process that didn't require a lot of skill, but since producing an airplane does indeed require the application of a lot of skill you won't find any counterexamples. Jeffery wrote:
[...] I'm suggesting that the decision about what is good is separate from a decision about what is art. I think most everyone when they use the term "Art" implies good. When most people say "it isn't art," I interpret them as meaning it's not good art.

Some people may in fact do that, but I don't. I think there's plenty of good stuff that isn't art and art that isn't good.

Jeffery wrote:
Yes, I believe as limited beings, we'll never have the RIGHT absolute answer, all we'll ever have are approximations (besides a few self-evident propositions that are absolute) and that the best we can do is converse with one another in order to refine our approximations.

I think that you might mean two different things in this regard. One is reasonable, and the other one, not so much.

In one sense, we should never be so convinced that we are right about something that we are completely closed to the possibility of revising our ideas if sufficient counter-evidence were to arise. Of course that's a fine notion.

In the other sense though, it is entirely possible to be completely right because the universe is as it is, and however that may be, it is indeed possible for our understanding to correspond perfectly with it. For example if you say "All grapefruits are smaller than the moon." and I say "There's at least one grapefruit at least as big as the moon." One or the other of us is right. Neither is an approximation.

I think we substantially agree and some of this is the process of finding a common language. Oh, and for the record, I don't care for Derrida.

I loved the headline on the day that Derrida died recently...

Derrida "Dead"

--Brian