The Creation of Meaning

The real difference between art and science lies in the specific form in which they give us the same object in quite different ways: art in the form of 'seeing' and 'perceiving' or 'feeling', science in the form of knowledge (in the strict sense, by concepts).

[...] art makes us 'see' 'conclusions without premisses', whereas knowledge makes us penetrate into the mechanism which produces the 'conclusions' out of the 'premisses'.

This is an important distinction, for it enables us to understand that a novel on the 'cult', however profound, may draw attention to its 'lived' effects, but cannot give an understanding of it; it may put the question of the 'cult' on the agenda, but it cannot define the means which will make it possible to remedy these effects.

[...] in order to answer most of the questions posed for us by the existence and specific nature of art, we are forced to produce an adequate (scientific) knowledge of the processes which produce the 'aesthetic effect' of a work of art. In other words, in order to answer the question of the relationship between art and knowledge we must produce a knowledge of art.

[Louis Althusser]
'A Letter on Art in Reply to André Daspre', found in The Norton Anthology: Theory and Criticism, p.1481-2

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