International Journal of Art & Design Education

Objectivity and Feeling in the Arts

Volume 1.3   1982



Best argues that arts educators ought to be able to provide a justification for what they do, but that they are often their own worst enemies. He points to the objectively fine practical work they do, but challenges the subjectivist theories they usually espouse. In particular, he challenges Hume, L A Reid, Langer, Eisner and Witkin. He reasons that by no means is the only objectivity scientific; that a crucial aspect of objectivity is 'interpretative reasoning'. Moreover, interpretative reasoning is similar to or continuous with the conceptualisation that gives understanding to what we perceive. Thus our conception of a thing logically determines our feeling-response to it; by giving reasons for the ways in which an object can be seen we are giving reasons for the way we feel about it. He concludes that assessment in the arts, as in so many spheres of education, is necessarily a matter of sensitive, high quality judgement