Vinous Vitality

by Dwight Furrow Contemporary discussions of wine quality tend to oscillate unhelpfully between subjectivism and objectivism. One side argues that wine quality is thoroughly subjective because individual differences among tasters preclude agreement on the nature or quality of what is being tasted. The other side points to objective, scientific analyses of chemical components detected through…

Wines of Anger and Joy (Part 2)

by Dwight Furrow Wine language often suggests that wines express emotion or exhibit personality characteristics despite the fact that wine is not a psychological agent and could not literally possess these characteristics. There is a history, although somewhat in recession today, to refer to wines as aggressive, sensual, fierce, grand, angry, dignified, brooding, joyful, bombastic,…

Wines of Anger and Joy (Part 1)

by Dwight Furrow Can we make sense of the idea that wines express emotion? No doubt wine can trigger feelings. Notoriously, at a party, wine triggers feelings of conviviality via the effects of alcohol. But the wine isn't expressing anything in that case. It's the people via their mannerisms and interaction encouraged by the wine…

Beauty is Not (Entirely) in the Eye of the Beholder

by Dwight Furrow In philosophy the most important development in the last 300 years has been the idea that what can be intelligibly said about reality is constructed out of our subjective responses, suitably constrained by social norms and intersubjective communication. This is the essence of Immanuel Kant's so-called Copernican Revolution in philosophy which converted…

Reality Check: Wine, Subjectivism and the Fate of Civilization

by Dwight Furrow I must confess to having once been an olfactory oaf. In my early days as a wine lover, I would plunge my nose into a glass of Cabernet, sniffing about for a hint of cassis or eucalyptus only to discover a blast of alcohol thwarting my ascension to the aroma heaven promised…

The Art of Wine: Part 1

by Dwight Furrow Among the most striking developments in the art world in the past 150 years is the proliferation of objects that count as works of art. The term “art” is no longer appropriately applied only to paintings, sculpture, symphonic music, literature or theatre but includes architecture, photographs, film and television, found objects, assorted…

Creative Receptivity

by Dwight Furrow Goldsworthy, Maple Leaves Arrangement There is an ingrained set of assumptions and attitudes about creativity in the arts that harms our understanding of art and ultimately human existence. That is the idea of the artist as a relatively unconstrained maker, a fashioner ex nihilo who brings something new into being solely through…

Creativity and Art

by Dwight Furrow Philosophical definitions of art are not only controversial but tend to be unhelpful in understanding the nature of art. While trying to accommodate new, sometimes radically unfamiliar, developments in the art world, philosophical definitions typically do not explain why art is something about which we care, arguably something a definition should do.…