Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 12, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds

Rube Goldbergism, the Geodesic Mindset, and Instrumental Rationality

What follows is a guest post by Elijah Millgram. You can be effective but ridiculous, or effective but a very special sort of unbelievable. And that tells us that some of the most basic distinctions in the domain of practical rationality—that is, of the reasons we invoke when we decide what to do—are matters of aesthetic judgment. Most of us have seen various of Rube Goldberg’s once very popular drawings; here’s one of a “self-operating napkin” that involves a soup ladle, a parrot, a rocket, and a pendulum, among other components. And if you look around on the web, you’ll find one after another video homage to his work; this tribute, a construction that turns a page of your newspaper for you, deploys lit fuses, billiard balls, a vase, a smashed laptop, and an animal that I’m guessing is a hamster. Now, it was naturally the comics page on which, … Continue reading