Bergson’s “vital order” as well as the traditional notion of “organic form” ignores quantitative factors. This is one of the main reasons why neither of these concepts can sufficiently complement discursive order or be an adequate concept of aesthetic evaluation. A non-quantitative concept of order is of little use in the aesthetic domain because it fails to account for the evaluative aspect. The concept of aesthetic order that is presented here differs significantly from the concepts offered by the theories above, namely that it has quantitative as well as qualitative characteristics. Indeed, aesthetic order is quantitative; however, this does not entail a satisfying method for measuring it. The very ground of the quantitative aspect of aesthetic order is puzzling: how can any particular aesthetic order be measured if the set and its principle are inseparable? How can we differentiate between degrees of aesthetic order, if each object constitutes its own order?
The following discussion addresses these questions and their implications. It examines the basic diversities between the two orders employing the same factors used in the analysis of discursive order. Both types of order share the general qualities of order: complexity, heterogeneity in probabilities and necessity in various degrees. Both types extend between two hypothetical extremes; both are quantitative; both oppose various states of disorder. Yet, discursive order is merely quantitative, whereas aesthetic order is both quantitative and qualitative. As already stated, the degree of discursive order is the measure of the coherence between an external, a priori principle and a given object (the set). By contrast, the aesthetic principle, being internal to the given object, exists as a potential for the object’s aesthetic excellence. The principle is discovered through the direct experience of its materialization. Perhaps “discovered” is somewhat too strong a term in this context since the aesthetic principle never reveals itself as a clear and distinct concept that can be grasped apart from the object. Experiencing the object, the observer at once grasps the so-far-unknown potential and its degree of materialization. Yet, the idea of the potential (the principle) is not a clear and applicable concept. If an object is of low aesthetic value, the observer does not necessarily have the clear knowledge of its ideal state, and in most cases does not know how to achieve an aesthetic excellence. Knowledge of the aesthetic principle is obscure; it becomes clear and vivid only by being exposed to a high degree of aesthetic order. The experience of a high degree of aesthetic order evokes the
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Publication information: Book title: Aesthetic Order:A Philosophy of Order, Beauty and Art. Contributors: Ruth Lorand - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 96.
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