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Related: high - nobrow - low

Related: ontology - rhizome - tree

Low and high art: I have always been interested in the arts. And I have always been drawn equally to the mass reproducible arts like music, film, photos, comics, books and industrial design and to the high/fine arts, with the exceptions of theatre (I hardly attend theatrical shows) and opera (I never attend it). I began researching the link between high and low art in 2002.


In the modern sense of the word, a hierarchy is a tree- or pyramid-like organization of a group of entities. See the illustration for an example.

Postmodernity and culture

One of the least contestable features of postmodernism is its refusal to accept the hierarchy of value and Úlitism implied in the distinction between high culture and popular culture. In the genealogies frequently circulated, postmodernism is pictured in opposition to two versions of modernism: a modernism codified and conquered by the academy and museum, incorporated as a high cultural artefact precisely because of its disengagement with the popular or commercial; and a modernism which lost its adversary status and entered mainstream chiefly through its contamination by mass production and culture industry. --Julie Stephens

Boring binaries

We are only really just beginning to realise the complexity of the levels of those boring old binary that we have inherited, boring old binaries machines. --Kodwo Eshun

Dualism is a time-honored philosophical position which is exemplified by:

  1. Pre-Socratics' appearance/reality distinction
  2. Plato's forms/world distinction
  3. Hume's fact/value distinction
  4. Kant's empirical phenomena/transcendental noumena distinction
  5. Heidegger's being/time distinction
  6. Russell's existence/subsistence distinction
  7. Descartes mind/matter distinction

It is, of course, the last of these which is of most immediate interest to philosophers of mind. There has been a recent revival of interest in the topic of Cartesian dualism amongst modern philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists. Arguments against dualism have been provided on the basis of both empirical evidence and on philosophical grounds, and clearly express the predominant view (Dennett, Damasio, Churchland). However, a number of modern philosophers of mind, though in the minority, have come to the defense of dualism (e.g. Hart). The question of dualism is not only of historical interest, it also has important implications for the scientific enterprise. If a convincing rejection of dualism can be formulated, the classic mind-body problem will be solved by its becoming a non-problem and the materialist approach of modern science will be vindicated. If, conversely, dualism can be convincingly maintained, it is by no means obvious that empirical evidence will suffice for a thorough understanding of the mind -- in other words, understanding the brain may not be enough for understanding the mind.--http://artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/dualism.html [2003]

Descartes [...]

Descartes' mind/matter distinction can be found in his Meditations and is a particular kind of substance dualism most accurately called Cartesian interactionist dualism. Often, the term 'Cartesian dualism' is used to refer to the general class of substance dualist theories. Substance dualists hold that mind and matter are different kinds of substances. Cartesian interactionist dualism is a particular kind of substance dualism espoused by Descartes in which these two different kinds of substance can causally interact. Thus, mind substance can cause matter substance (i.e. the body) to act and matter substance (i.e. the body) can cause mind substance to have certain 'sensations' most often by itself being acted on by other material objects. For Descartes, the essence of matter is extension (i.e. having spatial dimensions and being located) whereas that of mind is active thinking. Because Descartes thought these two sorts of substance are essentially different, he held that they are also independent. Thus, matter can exist without minds and minds can exist without matter. --http://artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/dualism.html [2003]


  1. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America - Lawrence W. Levine [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Levine contends that early 19th-century America was characterized by no rigid cultural divisions between elite and mass culture. By the later part of the century, however, a clear line had been drawn; Shakespearean plays, classical music, and art of the old masters increasingly became the property of the elite only. The pendulum has swung back now, he observes, as there is a lessening of cultural divisions in contemporary America. A well-written contribution to the history of American culture. Without hestitation, this book is recommended highly to all academic American studies and popular culture collections as well as to large public libraries. Susan A. Stussy, St. Norbert Coll., De Pere, Wis. --Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc, Amazon.com

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