Art as Philosophic Expression




I. Support for Hildegard as a philosopher
a. She discussed universal issues like the nature of men and women
b. She wrote texts, often considered necessary for philosophers
c. She had a knowledge of philosophic history


II. However, she used non-traditional methods
a. Often considered a theologian, she uses God as both her evidence and source
b. Claims to be ignorant but for her visions given to her by God
c. She does not use traditional reasoning to arrive at her realizations
d. She presents many of her ideas through art, poetry, and music


III. So, if she is a philosopher, she is using very interesting methodology to present her views. The question becomes not "is she a philospher?" but "are her methods acceptable?"


IV. How can art be used as philosophic expression?
a. Kaprows "Art after Philosophy b. Writing is traditionally used to express philosophic positions
c. What can art do better than writing in terms of philosophy? What are some problems? Are they problems?
1. Art has a gestalt and immediate power that writing cannot
2. Art has the ability to allow people to experience something like they were there (realism), or completely ignore that and create an intellectual, subjective place (abstraction)
3. Art often has that subjectivity. This goes in the face of traditional objectivity and clarity if philosophy
4. This may ask for a new breed of "personal" philosophy, asking the individual to interpret and mold the ideas to their personal experience and situation


V. This brings up intention in the work
a. Most artists would not consider themselves philosophers, yet their work may be highly philosophical
1. Richard Long





2. Robert Ryman





3. Nancy Spero





4. Jasper Johns





5. John Cage





6. Michael Craig-Martin



For the text that accompanies this piece, click here.
b. This asks the question, does the intent to be a philosopher matter? What if it is important, but not primary?
c. If they can be philosophers, where do we draw the line? At what point does it remain art, just like at what point do things like children’s drawings or people’s doodles stop being art?
d. Also, if they can be considered philosophers, what does this do to the canon of philosophy? Who would be included that would not ordinarily?
e. If they cannot be considered philosophers, can art still become a viable means of philosophic expression? In other words, just because these artists are not philosophers, can art still function as a way of talking about philosophic issues?
1. This would certainly allow Hildegard into the mix, as she uses art for very specific communicative purposes
2. This also has implications for philosophy in the future and asks what other forms might be used








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