Thursday, April 14, 2011

The difference between Art and Science

Many of you know how I have been working on describing the differences between art and math - In the last few months it has become more and more solidified in my mind what the difference is - They have many things in common but it is the following statement that underscores their main difference.

The difference between the arts and sciences is that the former is cultural and the later is universal.

The above declaration is really an affront to the theory that most aesthetic expressions are polyaesthetic in nature. That is they contain facets or elements of more than one aesthetic category. Yet I believe that the categories of the sciences have its intentions in the universal even if it cannot be achieved at a philosophical level. Granted, I believe that the social sciences have the most difficult job achieving this goal. The physicist, David Bohm once said that physics is not interested in truth, yet, only interested in correlating experience. I believe that this experience that he talks about is an experience correlated across cultures. Human intentions are not to make sciences that work only for Tunisians, French or the Chinese. I have never seen a scientific paper that claims that these results only correlate experience for Canadians; although, if this were the case then the expression must be classified as art not science. Of course one can write a scientific paper for ones peer group (culture), but the ideas expressed ‘to’ that culture are not saying that they correlate experience solely ‘for’ that culture. If the “scientific” expression has cultural aspects then it becomes a polyaesthetic expression and contains aspects of art and is not fully scientific. (My point of course is that I doubt that anything is purely science or purely art)
When it comes to art one must know something of its culture to "get inside it" I purpose that when artists claim that art is universal they are really pointing at a scientific facet that is embedded in the cultural expression. Art history is full of examples of cultural expressions of pointing at social science archetypes.


Anonymous said...

for me and many others from whom i learned this and with whom i agree after much consideration, the difference between art and science, art and mathematics, is that art focuses upon the unique event, creates a unique event or work, while science & math the reoccurring, repeatable events.


Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Karl,
I have run accross that one as well yet I gravitate toward the one stated.
... Here is one by the scientist Paul Dirac that I like.
In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite. —Paul Dirac

Anonymous said...

Hi Kaz,

What's clear from your statement is that you deny relevance - if not existence - to differences in mathematical (aka "scientific") culture. Could it be you believe science papers adress some Omniscient ?

I'd suggest you go to the Arxiv math preprint server and scan through research papers for any with contents not clearly targetted at people of a very specific and specialized culture (that typically changes from paper to paper).

OTOH the context of your artwork - together with the praise it gets on educational grounds - suggest that your denial of math-culture-differences mirrors the way pre-college and entry-level college math education targets an ideally standardized-across-USA elementary math education to which you refer or defer. And that you wish to call "universal" (in a way that's sure to please the "local" teachers btw).

Cheers, k4ntico

Kaz Maslanka said...

Being created by a culture and expressing the culture are two different things.

Thanks Boris

Kaz Maslanka said...

Boris - I really appreciate your view on things.

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