New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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"ARTISTIC TRUTH"                                    87
that the distinction between intuitive and scientific truth suggested a reason for preferring the term "belief" to "truth" to characterize artistic insights, but that this preference was ultimately dependent upon one's basic philosophy; (2) that the distinction between emotive and referential language suggested another reason for preferring the term "belief" to "truth," and that failure to clarify this distinction by verbal means may lead to unfortunate ambiguities; (3) that, regardless of whether the terminology "truth" or "belief" is employed, the solution to the problem of the "willing suspension of disbelief" directly affects the importance of truth as artistic insight; (4) that, again regardless of whether the terminology "truth" or "belief" is employed, the notion of truth as artistic insight tends to become of subsidiary interest when the meaning of "artistic significance" is understood, accepted, and dissociated from the several meanings of "artistic truth"; and (5) that the distinction between symbols which indicate meanings outside themselves and symbols whose meanings are inseparable from themselves, argues further against the artistic importance of truth as ontological revelation and seriously challenges the efficacy of calling artistic insights "artistic truths."
This summary is partly intended to underline two points: first, that my initial claim, asserting that many of the difficulties inherent in the problem of artistic truth are semantic, has been substantiated; and second, that a number of varied reasons exist for believing that it is both unnecessary and undesirable to use the epithet "artistic truth" in esthetics and in art criticism.