Metaphysical questions cannot be definitively settled by experiment. The way in which such questions are articulated will determine how any experimental results are rendered.
“What is in dispute in such cases is not whether, in a given set of circumstances, this or that event will happen, but rather how anything at all that happens is to be described.” – A. J. Ayer
Do aesthetic opportunities exist independently of artistic perception, just waiting to be discovered? As an alternative, does the inclination of artistic action create the associated aesthetic opportunity? Perhaps these two modalities can be reconciled through connaturality. Knowledge becomes the reassurance of certain repetitive circumstances, in which habitual things and events, not part of our inherent design, become ingrained.
“Rectitude of judgment can come about in two ways: on the one hand, by the impeccable [perfectum] use of reason: on the other hand because of some connaturality with that which one is about to judge.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Abstract general design
Another dream full of metaphysical awareness plays out on a warm afternoon, as concepts synthesize into ideas. Aesthetics applies to the spatiotemporal world on such a potent occasion, especially in relation to willful movement exercised during photographic light accumulation.
“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” – Isaac Newton
Meaning is determined by contingent psychological states of the agent for whom such meaning resides. For this reason, images deemed worthy by the creating artist might elude a particular viewer’s understanding.
“Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.” – David Hume
Creative intuition involves a multiplicity of concurrent metaphysical paths that converge on a spiritual coordinate, comfortably accommodating the unknowable. In this apprehension, intentionality merges with connaturality to form phenomenological awareness.
“Art is not merely something people do, but something they live.” – Crispin Sartwell
In its concern with the essence of things, art making can be a means of philosophical action. Because of this capacity, the sciences of epistemology and metaphysics are potently in play. In this sense, science indicates an organization of methodical or systematic thinking about a determinate subject. The subject matter of any science is something abstract or universal.
“Every metaphysical question can be asked only in such a way that the questioner as such is present together with the question, that is, is placed in question.” – Martin Heidegger
The texture of observed experience is made coherent by the mental faculties of imagination, understanding, and reason. As Alfred North Whitehead points out, in accord with its principle of order, the universe contains an essence that forbids relationships beyond itself. Speculative philosophy seeks that essence, while aesthetic production reveals it.
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
Kant stipulates that subjective determinations of what constitutes the beautiful can involve no appeal to an external purpose. This implies beauty is the only standard for beauty. Meanwhile Hume says that an aesthetic response is “immediate” in the sense that the feeling occurs spontaneously in anyone capable of making imaginative idea associations.
“A judgment is called aesthetic precisely because its determining ground is not a concept but the feeling of that harmony in the play of the mental powers, so far as it can be experienced in feeling.” – Immanuel Kant
Something quite primary
Mysterious indeed are the ways the real can enter within us, according to our natural mode of knowing. In a progressive ascending movement, some residential streets exude an ambience of congruity, imparting the quality of being just right.
“I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity.” – Gottfried Leibniz
Supporting creativity, both man and nature keep their essential identity while experiencing the assimilation of the other. Functioning within the free play of imagination, beauty becomes much more than just a political instrument, but rather the entry portal into significant metaphysical inquiry. This includes but is not limited to questions of identity, universality, and the fundamental nature of reality.
“All these nonhuman things return to man a quality of the human mind which is concealed in them.” – Jacques Maritain