New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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150                                PROBLEMS IN EVALUATION
parisons, the critic will decide upon a common meaning for the word "better"; then, using this intentional meaning (which doubtless will vary slightly from critic to critic and from period to period) as a criterion, he will point to the relative success with which the artists have achieved their several aims, and in this way estimate the works in terms of their approach to perfectionan intentional evaluation.
The second kind of appraisal, which may be called "qualitative," judges the art object in terms of the standards of the critic, who is then asking: what is the value for himself of a work of art? or what is the comparative value of two or more works? Since the discussion of logical relativism, psychological relativism, and the relevancy of standards explained those critical principles which, according to relativism, are most essential to satisfactory qualitative judgments, we may now point to two less inclusive and less authoritative considerations which, however, further elucidate qualitative appraisal. These considerations pertain to comparative evaluations.
(a) Intentional values should temporarily be discounted, since nothing but confusion will result from an attempt to judge relatively between the two different types of value. Suppose, for instance, that a critic wished to evaluate comparatively a Matisse still-life and a Rembrandt biblical scene-suppose, further, that the Matisse receives an intentional grade of ninety-five and a qualitative one of fifty, whereas the less perfect but more profound Rembrandt receives an intentional sixty and a qualitative ninety. Would it not be ill-advised to decide either that the Rembrandt was a finer painting by five points or, as an alternative that, for some reason, the qualitative value should count more heavily than the intentional, or vice versa? Yet even so keen a critic as Daiches commits this fallacy to a degree. In his evaluation of Woolf's To the Lighthouse, he maintainscorrectly according to his standardthat "this is minor fiction at its most triumphantminor, because after all it does deal with a