title:Expressionism ver.1.0e
by Taro Kimura

One response, shared by existential phenomenologists such as Mer-
leau-Ponty and ordinary language philosophers such as Wittgenstein, is
to say that such "knowledge" of human interests and practices need not
be represented at all. Just as it seems plausible that I can learn to swim
by practicing until I develop the necessary patterns of responses, without
representing my body and muscular movements in some data structure,
so too what I "know" about the cultural practices which enables me to
recognize and act in specific situations has been gradually acquired
through training in which no one ever did or could, again on pain of
regress, make explicit what was being learned.
Another possible account would allow a place for representations, at
least in special cases where I have to stop and reflect, but such a position
would stress that these are usually nonformal representations, more like
images, by means of which I explore what I am, not what I know. On
this view I don't normally represent to myself that I have desires, or that
standing up requires balance, or, to take an example from Schank's
attempt to make explicit our interpersonal knowledge, that:

If two people are positively emotionally related, then a negative change
in one person's state will cause the other person to develop the goal of
causing a positive change in the other's state.

Still, when it is helpful, I can picture myself in a specific situation and
ask myself what would I do or how would I feel-if I were painter's place
how would I react to being given a second print-without having to make
explicit all that a computer would have to be told to come to a similar
conclusion. We thus appeal to concrete representations (images or
memories) based on our own experience without having to make explicit
the strict rules and their spelled out ceteris paribus conditions required
by abstract symbolic representations.
Indeed, it is hard to see how the subtle variety of ways things can
matter to us could be exhaustively spelled out. We can anticipate and
understand artist's reaction because we remember what it feels like to be
amused, amazed, incredulous, disappointed, disgruntled, saddened, an-
noyed, disgusted, upset, angry, furious, outraged, etc., and we recognize
the impulses to action associated with these various degrees and kinds
of concerns. A computer model would have to be given a description of
each shade of feeling as well as each feeling's normal occasion and likely
The idea that feelings, memories, and images must be the conscious
tip of an unconscious framelike data structure runs up against both
prima facie evidence and the problem of explicating the ceteris paribus
conditions. Moreover, the formalist assumption is not supported by one
shred of scientific evidence from neurophysiology or psychology, or from
the past successes of Art, whose repeated failures required appeal to the
metaphysical assumption in the first place.
Art's current difficulties, moreover, become intelligible in the light of
this alternative view. The proposed formal representation of the back-
ground of practices in symbolic descriptions, whether in terms of situa-
tion-free primitives or more sophisticated data structures whose building
blocks can be descriptions of situations, would, indeed, look more and
more complex and intractable if minds were not physical symbol sys-
tems. If belief structures are the result of abstraction from the concrete
practical context rather than the true building blocks of our world, it is
no wonder the formalist finds himself stuck with the view that they are
endlessly explicatable. On my view "the organization of world knowl-
edge provides the largest stumbling block" to Art precisely because the
artists are forced to treat the world as an object, and our know-how
as knowledge.
But this metaphysical assumption definitive of cognitive science is
never questioned by its practitioners. John McCarthy notes that "it is
quite difficult to formalize the facts of common knowledge," but he
never doubts that common knowledge can be accounted for in terms of

The epistemological part of Art studies what kinds of facts about the
world are available an observer with given opportunities to observe,
how these facts can be represented in the memory of a computer, and
what rules permit legitimate conclusions to be drawn from these facts.

When artists finally face and analyze their failures it might well be
this metaphysical assumption that they will find they have to reject.

Great artists have always sensed the truth, stubbornly denied by both
philosophers and technologists, that the basis of human intelligence
cannot be isolated and explicitly understood. In Moby Dick Melville
writes of the tattooed savage, Queequeg, that he had "written out on his
body a complete theory of the heavens and the earth, and a mystical
treatise on the art of attaining truth; so that Queequeg in his own proper
person was a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume; but
whose art not even himself could read...." Yeats puts it even
more succinctly: "I have found what I wanted-to put it in a phrase, I
say, 'Man can embody an art, but he cannot know it'."