New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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sights, cogently challenges the desirability of defining artistic insights in terms of ''truth." 153
To sum up this survey of truth as an artistic criterion: there seem to be at least five uses of "truth" which art critics and estheticians have applied to various aspects of artistic creation and works of art. An attempt to interpret these uses and to indicate the degree of applicability and efficacy that each one has when it is applied as a criterion requiring truth in art, has produced the conclusions (A) that "truth" as an undefined term may cause serious ambiguity; (B) that "truth" as scientific fact designates a referent which is usually either inapplicable to artistic creation or of small artistic importance; (C) that "truth" as artistic sincerity refers to an essential, yet fairly obvious artistic concept, which one may preferably explain by such terms as "sincerity" or "genuineness" rather than as "truth"; (D) that "truth" as artistic consistency refers to an equally essential, but more complicated artistic concept, which one may preferably explain by such terms as "consistency," "rightness," or "convincingness" rather than as "truth"; and (E) that "truth" as artistic insight designates artistic revelations which correspond to a kind of reality or actuality which can be intuitively apprehended, but not scientifically verified.
In analyzing this last mode of truth in order to determine both the desirability of calling it "artistic truth" and its importance as an artistic criterion, we briefly described five varied problems and noted the effects of each upon the conception of "truth" as artistic insight. In so doing, we saw: (i)
153. Some writers who apparently recognize the foregoing distinction between ontological revelation and imaginative artistic insights, nonetheless insist upon calling the latter "truths." L. A. Reid, for example, urges that the truth attained by all creative geniuses "is not in its nature correspondence or coherence but the quality of a vital apprehension, through imagination, of realities which seem to lie beyond the ken of ordinary human mortals" (Knowledge and Truth, p. 11). This possible view invites confusion in regard to truth and fulfills none of the requirements of a good definition.