Truth and Beauty

Philosophy, as the process of inquiry, is a science, a quest for truth. An expression or formulation of a theoretical system, as a product of this process, is an art form, at least from an artistic point of view.

Peirce in Chapter 19:

The work of the poet or novelist is not so utterly different from that of the scientific man. The artist introduces a fiction; but it is not an arbitrary one; it exhibits affinities to which the mind accords a certain approval in pronouncing them beautiful, which if it is not exactly the same as saying that the synthesis is true, is something of the same general kind.


Northrop Frye in Fearful Symmetry (1947, 88):

No work of art claims to be more than one of an infinity of mental syntheses. It includes no solid body of impersonal truth; it suspends judgment on the inherent truth of all creeds and regards all explanatory and dogmatic systems as art-forms.

Frye’s ‘work of art’ appears to have its own point of view (which is not necessarily that of the artist or the reader). Since it is a symbol, we surmise that the life of a symbol endows it with a point of view. Frye’s expression of that view is a scientific one, insofar as he is trying to tell the truth about art; and Peirce’s assertion that the mind’s ‘approval’ is the common factor in beauty and truth can be regarded as a work of art.

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