Guest post for birds

Wed 14 Aug 2013 10:11 PM

Christy Mag Uidhir recently started a blog about philosophy of art called Aesthetics For Birds. The title is a riff on a quotation from Barnett Newman, "Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds."

I'm reminded of the quip often attributed to Richard P. Feynman: "Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds." I'm not sure whether Feynman said it (if he said it at all) before or after 1952, when Barnett Newman made the parallel crack about aesthetics. I'm not sure why Newman and Feynman held ornithology in such low esteem, either. Birds are interesting, and the study of them is a worthy enquiry. I'm enough of a generalist to think that's true about most things.

Today, Christy published a guest post by me: How I came to be interested in interesting things

UPDATE: John Wilkins and Malte Ebach, in their forthcoming The nature of classification, suggest that the ersatz Feynman was probably actually by either Steven Weinberg or someone summarizing Weinberg and that it's a reuse of the earlier Newman bon mot.