Can an objective judgment be made on the goodness or badness of a work of art, be it music, a painting, or literature? By objective, I don't mean mind-independent or aesthetic realism. By objective I mean can we make a neutral judgment and prove that one work of art is better than another?
Art is about conveying a message that a viewer/listener can understand and enjoy. In theory you could do a poll comparing two paintings and see which one gets the most praise, thereby providing you with an objective analysis of their success. On the other hand, each picture has its own unique meaning. Enjoying art is purely subjective because each person has different tastes. Even if one painting received 100 times as much praise, another painting can still be considered successful art if at least one person was touched by it.
My conclusion: If art has done its job of touching at least one person, it is successful. Talks of comparing art are only useful for marketing purposes. (Using statistics and critical responses to judge what types of art will produce more money)
Can an objective judgment be made on the goodness or badness of a work of art, be it music, a painting, or literature? By objective, I don't mean mind-independent or aesthetic realism. By objective I mean can we make a neutral judgment and prove that one work of art is better than another? For example, we can prove that most people like one song more than another song, but does that mean that we can positively say that the more popular song is better than the less popular song, or only that more people think so?
...By objective I mean can we make a neutral judgment and prove that one work of art is better than another?
For example, we can prove that most people like one song more than another song, but does that mean that we can positively say that the more popular song is better than the less popular song, or only that more people think so?
Let's put it this way: I am a fan of rock, but not country. I am a fan of Star Wars, but not Star Trek. These are just personal opinions and are only based on what I get out of watching/listening to these things. Within the boundaries of my own perception, rock is better than country, and Star Wars is better than Star Trek. This is because rock and Star Wars were more successful in conveying enjoyable messages to me. But there may be someone with a completely different point of view that would say country and Star Trek are better. You can propose reasons or arguements for your opinion, but ultimately it is based on your own experiences in relationship with the presentation of the art. So I would argue that the objectivity of art is only valuable for yourself, not for someone else.
You're missing my point. My point is that my personal values are sufficient to be objective within the scope of my own perception. There is no arguing with the fact that to me certain music is better than other music. Once you cross the boundaries of your own perception and try to make a standard for other viewers, you are in the realm of subjectivism.
I think you have rewritten the notion of objectivity. How can you be objective when expressing your own views and values? Making standards for others is not subjective, its impossible.
You cannot be objective by expressing only your own view and values. But you can be objective while expressing your own views and values if only by saying that you recognize that those are your own views and values. And, also, you can, yourself, try to discuss your own values and views critically. That would be another way of being objective while you express your own views and values. After all, expressing your views and values need not be making standards for others. It depends on how you do it.
What? If you admit they are your views, your preferences, you are confirming they are subjective, your not making them objective because of your admission. How can debating your values make the criticism objective? All you are then doing is explaining your reason for being subjective....
If objectivity is possible its by using accepted reasoning to analyse the work. For example the composition of figures in a painting, the overlapping triangles. The way your eye is drawn to a certain figure. In music how certain melodies can be repeated within the formula of the composition. It is analytical not personal.
You can make an objective judgement of art but it has no value to you. You are merely conforming to others standards laid down by certain criteria. Music and art critics do it all the time but it creates an atmosphere where crap can be given value and novel beautiful works can be judged harshly, because it breaks the rules of objective viewing.
What's crap and what's beautiful is relative I suppose,
Relative to what? Do you (perhaps) mean that what is thought to be beautiful or not is relative to a society, or culture?