Prompt #1: Two Worlds. Imagine two words, said G.E. Moore, one beautiful, one ugly. Imagine the beautiful world as having “mountains, rivers, the sea, trees, and sunsets, stars and moon … all combined in the most exquisite proportions,” and the ugly world as “one heap of filth, containing everything that is most disgusting to us … without one redeeming feature.”
But also imagine that neither world will ever be experienced by any human being — no one will ever live in either one, or even see it. If only one world could exist, which should it be? Moore thought that it would be better to have the beautiful one exists than the ugly one, even if there were no possibility of human experience of either world.
Is Moore, right? What reason could be given for preferring the beautiful world to the ugly one when neither world would ever be lived in or even seen by human beings? Or does any reason ultimately make covert appeal to human experience? Does beauty have intrinsic value, or not? Explain your answer.
Prompt #2: Art as Psychotherapy. Gladys is a college sophomore suffering from the despondency and various dissatisfaction, tensions, listlessness, and so on that many sophomores share. she goes to see her college counsellor, who, after listening to her litany of complaints for an hour and consulting a textbook on aesthetics, arrives at a prescription:
“I recommend that you take in some art — music, poetry, drama, dance, etc. It’s good medicine. Experiencing art relives tensions and quiets destructive impulses; it resolves (lesser) conflicts within the self, and helps to create a harmony, an integration, in the personality;
it refines perception and discrimination; it develops the imagination, and along with it the ability to put oneself in the place of others; it fosters mutual sympathy and understanding, and offers an ideal for human life.” Is the counsellor right that art would improve Gladys’s condition? Explain your answer.
Prompt #3: Computer Art: We saw that computers can play a role in the production of digital art. Can computers (robots) also make computer art? Is it conceivable that computers can not only produce but also appreciate art? Explain your answers.
Prompt #4: Video Games: In your mind, what is the aesthetic value you gain when you play your favourite video game? Explain your answer.