New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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154                            PROBLEMS IN EVALUATION
and which, in respect to comparative judgments, is most useful when the objects compared are of the same sort; and (ii) qualitative evaluation which judges on the basis of the critic's standards and which, in respect to comparative judgments, is most useful when intentional evaluation is discounted and when the objects compared are sufficiently alike to make the appraisals critically fruitful.
To conclude: art criticism is sorely in need of a sound theoretical basis in order to handle satisfactorily the problem of value judgments. A consideration of the three possible major bases has resulted in the following position: " (I) Objectivism errs by supposing that all art can be ranked on a single scale uniform for and discernible by all normal persons; (II) subjectivism errs by supposing that there is no scale common to any two or more persons; (III) relativism teaches that almost any scale can be used for some purposes, provided (i) that the theory on which the scale was constructed is made explicit, and provided (ii) that the usefulness of the scale is seen to be proportional to the amount and kind of direct experience of art subsumed under the theory which has created the scale." " Stated in another way, my aim has been to show that some reasonable theory must be held which avoids the untenable extremes of objectivism and subjectivism; for neither a critical value theory which adopts ultimate standards nor one which rejects any standard whatsoever is acceptable. An attempt to define precisely a satisfactory third position presents perplexing problems which this essay has treated in a simplified and tentative manner. But the general solution to the difficulty is clear. What is indubitably required is a relativism which comprehends no values apart from human valuations, yet which recognizes the necessity for and justifies the existence of sound judgments of better and worse. These, however, cannot ever be
99. Professor F. Cudworth Flint, In a comment upon the manuscript of this essay.