On Thursday, September 22, the Society convened to consider the question Resolved: Art Cannot Exist for Its Own Sake.
Ms. Colleen Wood spoke on the affirmation, and Mr. Stephano Medina spoke on the negation.
Ms. Wood began by arguing that there is a clear link between art and utility, and that this utility is often communication.
Mr. Medina began by asking the philosophical question, “Can happiness exist for its own sake?” He likened this question to the resolution of the evening. Responding to Ms. Wood, he argued that civilization is “about uselessness.” He then recounted his love of poetry, informing the Society that he prepared for this debate by reading poetry all day.
Definitions abounded in the floor portion.
The debate began sharply, as Mr. Manchester argued that it is hard to define art. According to his definition, our esteemed reigning librarian, Ms. Green, is art. Vice President Henderson called the negation a part of a “post-modern dandyism” in which art has lost meaning and definition.
Ms. Revier countered by giving her own definition of art, namely that art is self-expression. Referring to a painting of a young boy (or girl) on the back wall of the Philodemic Room, Ms. Cleary expressed her belief that art does not exist
Mr. Garosshen went on to argue that art exists despite its creator and that “art uses the creator as much as the creator uses art.”
In his closing arguments, Mr. Medina argued that one need not believe in God to appreciate art as having a purpose beyond itself, rather, one must only believe in him. Ms. Daniels was pleased with the clarification. Mr. Medina went on to discuss William Wordsworth and the role art plays in society.
Ms. Wood argued that art pushes us further, but it is the human who makes the final decision. She also argued that beautiful moments are not art.
The Society voted 35-1-36 to negate the resolution.
Join us next week as we debate Resolved: the United States Should Legalize Marijuana.
Peter A. Prindiville