Taste : a commentary on its genesis, nature and claims
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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In the first section, taste, along with parallel phenomena linked to form and symbolism in general, is discussed in relation to the fundamental device of the reason-feeling dichotomy . The dichotomy's internal possibilities of significance and basic ways in which these have at times affected aesthetics are traced. Examples are used which range from ancient Greek philosophy, via the 18th century, to Wittgenstein. The latter's gradual evolution from a position of unyielding separation of rational, valid knowledge from fantasy and the 'unspeakable', towards an increasingly unified view of language and conceptualization as phenomena rooted in wide social contexts, serves as the point leading into, as well as the basic-idea underlying, the second section. Accordingly, issues relevant to a 'game' notion of taste are brought forth, such as the continuity (as opposed to any clearcut and schematical division) of experience and of the processes of perception and conception; the idea of utility, convention as an indispensable means of obtaining knowability, conmunicability, and persistence of our mental constructions, either scientific, or aesthetic, or religious, etc.; prejudice, appearing as an ineluctable factor underlying our arguments; or, the phenomenon of aesthetic polarities, being the result of fundamental traits (or 'rules') of the 'game'. Juxtaposed to these issues is the theme of the autonomy of art and taste, chiefly as it was propounded by Kant. Genuine autonomy is disputed in the ends of the second and in the beginnings of the third section and it is by way of this disputation that the game notion is resumed. This time, in a more extended sense, i.e. as centering upon the search for order in the conceptions of nature. The implication of this for a commentary on the phenomenon of taste is that, whatever the techniques appropriated and the results sought, what ever the specific biases of art, form-giving, and form-appreciating at different times, a possibility of unification may be presented. That possibility results from considering the general ground of perception and conceptualization, i.e. the tendency to effect an ordering of experience whatsoever. However, by unification, nothing of the sort of a smoothly functioning though artificial and forced generalization is meant. On the contrary , what is implied is an attempt to visualize, in the sphere of formal systems, what Michel Foucault calls a "discursive unity." That is, a discourse unified not by virtue of any consistency or continuity 'reigning over it, but rather by virtue of clashes, contradictions , discontinuities, which may nevertheless have a common focus. In terms of form, conceptions of orderable nature are taken to formulate such a common locus of diverse formal systems, and the hypothesis is brought forth of a possibility of "discursive" unification of formal and aesthetic in compatibilities, on the grounds of subtle threads that link them with integral epistemologies or world-views.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1980.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCH.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology