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How convincing is the claim that 'because art is informative, we value it'? (30)

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How convincing is the claim that 'because art is informative, we value it'? (30). The view that we value art because it informs us is one held by those who believe art can: be seen as imitating the world or be seen as illuminating our experiences of the world so we can see things in a new and exciting way - differently to how we have looked at it in the past. Because of this, they argue 'good' art is that which informs us about the world in the best way, or that tells the truth. This implies artists who create work have a 'vision' and have the skill to portray it to the rest of the world in a realistic and authentic way for us to be able to understand it. Plato believes art acts an 'imitation' or 'representation' - for him, the sole purpose of art is what he calls 'mimesis', or 'accurate imitation'; to the extent that the best art is the art that tricks us into believing it is real. ...read more.


However - it can be questioned whether all arts are equally concerned with representing and informing us, with instrumental music being a particular difficulty to explain for representationalists. How could it be that a piece of music with no lyrics or vocalisation could be seen as imitating or illuminating the world? On the other hand, it could be argued that some instrumental pieces imitate sounds from the world (birdsong as an example), and in general there is no object in the world that music particularly illuminates. Also, in the case of illumination - it can be difficult to support the idea art stands for reality. As an example, Picasso's Guernica can be seen as a 'realistic' depiction of the horrors of war even though it looks nothing like real life. There doesn't seem to be a connection made with 'reality' yet it still seems to imitate the world. As well as this, the idea of 'truth' has multiple different meanings that it can even be questioned whether truth (representation/imitation) is a useful value by which to judge as a piece of art - as 'truth' has so many meanings, it could be said all artwork tells the truth in some way. ...read more.


The claim that we value art because it is informative is not very convincing at all - it doesn't seem credible that the only reason we value art is for it's informative and illuminable aspects as it suggests the artwork itself is irrelevant and unnecessary as it is the information within it we value, which according to how we act in the real world doesn't make sense. Some arts simply do not inform or illuminate, and it can also be difficult to express how some art even stands for reality. It is problematic to assume our only reason for appreciating art is because it informs us, as some art does not even inform us at all (such as abstract minimalistic art) however on the other hand it is plausible that we value art for its emotional impact upon us and the way it makes us feel. Assuming the information is all we value makes the artwork itself completely irrelevant and if this is so, why would we not watch a documentary or read a book which would provide a lot more information than looking at a painting or listening to a song? Other theories provide stronger arguments as to our underlying reasons for truly valuing art. ...read more.

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