“On Knowledge in the Arts and Taste in the Sciences”, Graham Harman

“On Knowledge in the Arts and Taste in the Sciences”, GRAHAM HARMAN

In the 2012 essay “The Third Table,” I claimed that objects are irreducible to knowledge of any sort, whether it be knowledge of what a thing is made of or knowledge of what it does. I claimed further that the arts and design are well aware that they produce something other than knowledge, and that philosophy belongs on this side of the fence as well: Socrates’ constant assertions that he knows nothing are not just playful irony, but a direct statement of what philosophy really is. At the same time, I argued that what makes science a form of knowledge is its willingness to paraphrase things in terms of properties that truly belong to them. While this distinction between the arts and the sciences generally holds, we must also consider those cases in which art does transmit knowledge and in which science does yield something like an aesthetic experience. How does this recognition transform the basic concepts developed in “The Third Table”?