TOK: What is Art?

by 042690 on November 15, 2017

In our most recent TOK class we were looking at the area of knowledge of Art for the first time formally, and discussing what we believe is art, the definition of art and if and how art can provide us knowledge.  In this blog post, I will be outlining evidence for and against the claim “Unlike The Arts, Science tells us something valuable about the world.”

One could say that science offers far more to humans in terms of knowledge than the knowledge that art can provide us. Scientific information helps us understand abstract concepts about the world, concepts that we would not otherwise be able to understand. Science and scientific knowledge helps us to a wide range of topics from chemistry and biology to economics. Art can tell us something, but it would not be considered as “valuable” as science can give us information relating to new inventions , inventions which are able to help improve the quality of lives (such as the internet) for humans all over the world. One could argue that the knowledge that art can only give us knowledge of emotions, due to the fact that art is mainly about expressing one’s emotions.

A counter-claim to this would be that art can give us valuable knowledge about a wide range of things and in fact can help our understanding of the world as much as the Sciences do. Art helps us develop personal knowledge (which can be knowledge about ourselves, things such as how we feel and how we react when we see certain artworks) resulting in us as humans being able to understand and learn about different perspectives, as there will likely be many different perspectives on a work of art. Art can also help one develop moral knowledge, such as our ability to see what is right and what is wrong. It can also help further ones aesthetic knowledge, as people will be able to develop an ability to see patterns between shapes and how different shapes can shape the meaning of the artwork. Art can also allow us to learn about the emotions of others in a unique way. Art does not have to involve words, so in some instances people are able to understand emotions of others through their artwork. This goes to show that the knowledge that one could gain through art is valuable, as it could make them more knowledgeable about the world and would also allow them to see things from different perspectives.

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