|I know for many this discussion is long dead - but not for me. :-)|
Regarding our discussion of the artistic value - or not - of the likes of couture, cookie jars and mediaeval chairs, Aristotle as always is informative and instructive; and so it turns out is Plato! As it happens, I've realised their respective discussions of analogy and metaphor are directly analogous to the 'cookie jar argument.'
But first, to recap: We essentially agreed in our discussion that art is intended to be our 'shortcut to metaphysics,' and I pointed out that "essentially, there needs to be a sufficient level of complexity within the nature of the object to allow the artist to integrate and communicate a view of the world by means of that object." I went on to suggest that we should recognise there is a threshold of complexity below which an object is not really able to offer us sufficient metaphysical insight to constitute being called 'art' - unless that is it is part of a wider ensemble: "For a cookie jar that is part of an architectural ensemble however, that jar may well be an integrated component in the whole 'universe' which the architect is creating to live in - by its texture, colouring, convenience etc. and by its placement within the whole 'gesamptkuntswerk' the architect can say something about how important it is (or not) to enjoy delightful nibbles. :-)"
Now, what both Plato and Aristotle bring to the discussion is the idea that mimetic devices like analogy and metaphor are themselves a way of being a shortcut to understanding - by their very nature, as Aristotle asserted, they cause us to "learn and make inferences." What strikes me is that if our cookie jar is an integral and well-designed part of a larger ensemble that is itself causing us to learn and make inferences, then the cookie jar is somewhat similar in nature to a metaphor in a larger work - much like the position occupied by, for example, Plato's cave or the Myth of Er in his Republic.
Neat, huh. :-)