Discussing Goodman’s Ways of Worldmaking (1978).
What’s the relationship between art and science? Does understanding works of art constitute “knowledge,” and if so, how does this relate to other kinds of knowledge? Goodman describes art as a symbol system (including art like instrumental music that doesn’t seem representative), which can symbolize successfully or not. While there is no one set of concepts by which to judge all art (different types of art and other descriptive endeavors establish incommensurable “worlds”), neither is art an anything goes endeavor where the individual spectator is the only determinant of quality.
We’re joined by painter Jay Bailey to bring up lots of amusing artwork examples (The Monkees! Thomas Kinkade! Self-mutilation as art!) and tell us how well Goodman’s account accords with his understanding of artistic practice (his answer: not so well).
End song: “Staple Gun” by Mark Lint and Stevie P (1999).