• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent may the subjective nature of perception be regarded as an advantage for artists, but an obstacle to be overcome for scientists?

Extracts from this document...


Meghan Woods September 25, 2004 TOK Essay To what extent may the subjective nature of perception be regarded as an advantage for artists, but an obstacle to be overcome for scientists? On the surface, it seems that art and the subjective nature of perception go hand in hand. Yet if one were to mention science, it seems to be associated with objectivity. Science is all about the objective truth, while art is about articulating subjective truths. However, the advantages of subjectivity for artists has its limits, specifically when it comes to judging artwork. Likewise, subjectivity is not always an obstacle for scientists, especially in the field of research. The subjective nature of perception is advantageous to artists because it allows for expression of their own experiences. Artists can express through their work whatever they see and feel, allowing the artwork to be labeled as "unique". Thus, because artwork is simply a canvas for the artist's feelings, the work can never be proved right or wrong. For example, artists will never discover that Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper" needed a bit more red, or that Mahler's Eighth Symphony needed a few more rests. Moreover, art intends to evoke subjective states, making it even more difficult to prove a piece of art correct or incorrect. ...read more.


While these criteria seem reasonable enough, they carry inherent dangers. Even today, a fundamental explanation of the precise numerical value of the charge on the electron remains deficient. Previous results may have been fundamentally flawed, while the demand for self consistent results may mask the existence of subtle but genuine properties of the electron. Milikan could have also been proven wrong in his belief that the electron was the fundamental component of an atom. Instances in which scientists implement subjectivity as a tool can serve as an obstacle by delaying the scientist's progress, or delaying progress in the scientific field. For example, when George Zweig, a young American theorist, emphasized the physical reality of quarks, his papers were rejected and his appointment to a position at a major university was blocked, labeled by the head of department as a "charlatan." Similarly, the astronomical community refused to accept reports of "stones falling from the sky," as had been long reported by ordinary people, until investigations by Biot in the early 19th century. This refusal seems to have stemmed from a prejudice against the notion that the Earth could be subject to potentially serious bombardment. Additionally, scientists must overcome the subjective nature of perception in almost every area of their field. ...read more.


For example, there are scientists who have proposed what were considered radical ideas at the time, but were later widely supported theories within their Page 3 field. Many of these scientists claimed to have a "gut feeling" that the theory was right, or that the theory was "too beautiful to be wrong." Subjective methods have a vital role to play in everyday research as well. All working scientists are bombarded with new research findings and theoretical claims, put forward in seminars, journals, and books. Many of these new claims appear to differ from current belief. Scientists need a way of judging which claims to take seriously and pursue, and in the absence of any hard evidence, they resort to a range of criteria which is infiltrated with subjectivity. This subjectivity ranges from personal experience and knowledge about the plausibility of the claim to criteria such as the reputation of the researchers making the claims, their academic affiliation, and the quality of the journal in which their claims appear. The subjective nature of perception has both advantages and disadvantages for the artist as well as the scientist, having a larger disadvantage for the scientist trying to work in a world of objectivity. Yet despite the disadvantages for the artist and the scientist, the subjective nature of perception is what gives life to the art we encounter and gives us the benefits to scientific discoveries made every day. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Art & Design section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Art & Design essays

  1. Free essay

    Discuss arguments for and against the view that Conceptual Art should be regarded not ...

    Never Forget seems to be about memories, the past, things being opened up, revealed and mapped out in a symmetrical and rather beautiful way. Both these works are concerned with the impossible project of re-membering, putting things back together

  2. Surrealism - artists and techniques.

    The colour is meant to contrast the wreckage which contains dark or grayish prime colours to the bright sky at the top. This explains the interpretation that areas are safe where humans cannot reach which is why the sky remains bright.

  1. Leonardo da Vinci.

    Unfortunately, his experiment was unsuccessful; the paint did not adhere well to the wall, and within 50 years the scene was reduced to a confused series of spots.

  2. Evaluate the ways in which emotion might enhance and/or undermine reasoning as a way ...

    emotionally where as nearly the rest of the world has an emotional feeling towards their family which obviously affects the rest of their life as they are easily influenced by their family. In this case, with when looking at the children from Samoa one may see how reasoning is used

  1. Chiaroscuro artist comparative essay

    Left, "The Dance" 1988, uses more dramatic shadows than its former, but still uses natural, moonlight, as opposed to strong, contrasting candlelight, like caravaggio. The blues are emphasised in this work by Rego, which is the reflection of the sky nad the water, the natural lighting reflections, which is similar

  2. "Art upsets, science reassures" (Braque). Analyze and evaluate this claim.

    As for the sciences' role in this analysis; the study of psychology as a social science, and Medicine as a natural science will be analyzed in regards to the given claim. One of the hardest things to be studied is the human brain and its functioning.

  1. During this personal investigation I propose to explore and present an 'exploded view' of ...

    These introspective themes are conveyed by the memory-laden objects which surround Swinton; these artefacts take on the overpowering role of relics which heightens its emphasise of the absence/death of their one-time owners. Consequently in a disturbing contrast Tilda Swinton is alive, present in body; yet strangely and distinctly absent as

  2. Art Essay

    ARTIST PRACTICE o Media - Film, colour (19 minutes) o Setting - outback farm house o Surreal in presentation and use of colour & props. o Layout is both internal and external. o Content deals with real and remembered time. Reflects on and makes use of memories. o No dialogue - images and sounds used to narrate story.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work