New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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54                                 PROBLEMS IN MEANING
tween factual and logical truthneed not detain us, since for my purposes all of these views may be grouped together within a broad "scientific" approach to truth, which has for its chief criteria accuracy, testability, and public verifiability. Perhaps that aspect of the scientific position which considers truth as correspondence is the one most applicable to art. As William James explains this view: "Truth is essentially a relation between two things, an idea, on the one hand, and a reality outside of the idea, on the other." 96 Though I should substitute the word "proposition" for James's word "idea," the relative clarity and precision of this interpretation of truth must appeal to anyone; and Professor Greene in his consideration of artistic truth as correspondencewhich is one of his two major criteria of truthpartially subscribes to it. "Truth and falsity," he says, "are properties of a proposition according as it does or does not accurately describe what it purports to describe, i.e., the 'object' to which it 'refers.' " 97 Or again, a proposition must " 'correspond' to the 'facts.' It must 'describe' its referendum. What is expressed must in some sense 'conform' to 'what is actually the case.' "98 Now the phrase "in some sense" in the last quotation is important; for without these words and without Greene's further explanations regarding his correspondence view of truth, one might incorrectly suppose that his position is a thoroughly scientific one similar to that described by William James in the following passage: "I myself agree most cordially that for an idea to be true the object must be 'as' the idea declares it, but I explicate
96.  The Meaning of Truth (New York, 1932), p. 163.
97.  The Arts and the Art of Criticism, p. 425. At this point in his argument, Greene makes unfortunate use of verbal legerdemain. Having associated truth with propositions, he proceeds to define a work of art as a "non-conceptual proposition"a remarkable and unjustifiable procedure which, however, at once gives him the logical right to affirm that works of art are either true or false.
98.  Ibid., p. 432. The reason why such frequent reference is made to Professor Greene's analysis of artistic truth is that his discussion of the problem is the most complete and interesting one with which I am familiar.