Art Appreciation class

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Art Appreciation class

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


Jeffery LeMieux wrote:
Actually, I have come to believe that such a class is one of the most vital classes in the curriculum. People don't need to be taught how to think feel or react to quality. But they often do require permission and they certainly are responsive to justification. How can you live a good life if you don't know what good is? How about the arts as the most pointed and profitable extended conversation about the nature of good? Not being told from on high, but rather airing differences and searching for common ground.

Ahh, but there's the rub. If the context of that discussion is such that the fundamental rule is that one must never reach a firm conclusion or discount any possibility no matter how absurd, isn't that itself a limitation that counts out significant points of view? In fact, I would go so far as to say that it counts out any chance of reaching a valid conclusion on such issues. Consider the following ways of approaching the good...

"There's no such thing as the right answer about what the good is or how to achieve it, so just discuss amongst yourselves and see if you can come up with anything you can sort of accept to some degree, but keep in mind that no point of view is in the final analysis any better or worse than any other."

"The search for the good is a vital issue we should all spend a lot of time seriously considering. Here's a survey of some of the most important issues and points of view and how they differ. You should rationally evaluate them and see what the right answer might be."

See how the context of relativism versus realism changes the whole tone of the discussion without having things turn into some kind of dogmatic indoctrination?

--Brian