Monday, July 24, 2006

Platonic question: appreciation

Here's a platonic question: what is appreciation? Is it recognition of the difficulty it took to produce something, as in a musical piece? This doesn't seem right because you can appreciate the flavor of food. Is it being able to recognize the subtleties of something? This leaves out appreciating something like air conditioning on a hot day. Could that last one be a different concept? Is appreciation a family resemblance concept? The dictionary glosses it as: "the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of something." Another gloss in the same dictionary is: "a sensitive understanding of the aesthetic value of something." Another gloss is: "gratitude for something." This lends some support to the family resemblance idea. I'm somewhat hesitant to say that my appreciation of a good view is the same sort of thing as my appreciation of a good cup of coffee, although that might be similiar to the apprecation of a good sumo match in that both took some work to acquire.

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