• 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. Art Essay

    o Confrontational --> human figures, reality. o Silhouette - alien like form --> scary o Looking for universal truths in the world. o Shared experiences of the landscape. o As an audience you have no sense of space where the video is projected --> distorts sense of space.

  2. Surrealism - artists and techniques.

    One of his paintings which really emphasizes his ideas was 'Europe after the rain' which was painted between 1940-1942. It shows many famous building such as the leaning tower of Pisa destroyed. It is clearly fantasy as famous buildings from around the world are put near to each other in

  1. Free essay

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

    Composition and the effort to create a pictorial illusion are never, according to Fried, quite convincing enough, quite original enough, to be satisfying. Donald Judd explained the problem: When you start relating parts, in the first place, you're assuming you have a vague whole- the rectangle of the canvas- and

  2. I chose to research fantastic and strange because many of my favourite artists lie ...

    One reason for choosing Damien hirst is because I find him a lot like Dali. I picture Damien as to be what Dali would be like if he was still alive now. I have picked Dali and Damien so I can compare their ideas, thoughts and their work.

  1. Should Artists have Total Freedom of Expression

    protesters fighting in defence of the Virgin Mother over an inanimate image that they had never bothered to see. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stepped over the homeless population, the drug addicts, the welfare mothers, and passed by dozens

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

    Sceptic James Randi was so convinced that homeopathy does not work and so he offered $1m for any scientist to prove it. Offering $1m is slight extreme but because he was so emotional about him being right that his emotion was stronger than his reasoning, and again if his reasoning

  1. The Perception of the Perception

    Sir Karl outlined this process in a tetradic schema illustrated below: P1 --> TT --> EE --> P2 In this process, P1 is the original problem, practical or theoretical, TT is the tentative theory that is offered to solve the problem, EE is the "error elimination" where it is critically

  2. Manipulation - Some of the definitions that the dictionary gives for manipulation are as ...

    There is what looks like saw dust covering the bottom of the image and continues through the doorway. This picture has a dream-like feeling about it and is viewed from a very close angle. The main difference with this angle being that it looks as if something or someone very

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