The quality of knowledge has always been a serious epistemological concern. Naturally when accompanied by elapsed time, one may consider knowledge to tend towards greater accuracy and precision. However, to what extent does the quality of knowledge produced within academia directly evolve or progress through revolutions? It is important to begin by prescribing an absolute meaning for the abstract terms: quality, directly proportional and duration of historical development. The philosophical conception of quality is based on its value, its validity and its acceptability in society. A knowledge is deemed of high quality when it is associated with a degree of excellence and usefulness; as described by Plato it is “persistent characteristics of our reality that are not reducible to something else”(Antman). Directly proportional depicts a relationship between two variables where the product is always constant. As the prompt does not explicitly state whether the direct proportionality between the “quality of knowledge” and its “duration of historical development” is either positive or negative, the former will be assumed throughout the paper. Thus, any increase in the duration of historical development will result in an increase in the quality of knowledge at the same rate. The duration of historical development is a theory which refers to the elapsed time between two time periods and pertains to analyze the development of a phenomenon within that time. The assertion depicts an idealized concept by assuming the constant progression of knowledge quality throughout time, a stance which I oppose as the most sophisticated, refined and valuable knowledge of modern-day experiences an arbitrary progression in all directions especially, in the disciplines of the visual arts and astronomy. Over time, the knowledge produced by the visual arts has experienced a decrease in quality as artwork has deviated from being extremely developed to being incredibly simplistic. When comparing the art of classicism from the early fifth century to the contemporary works of today, one can observe the shift in the aesthetic emotion conveyed. Classical art had a great sense of complexity, detail and confinement to the well-founded artistic rules of linearity, symmetry and control. Examples include works by the famous Nicolas Poussin whos artwork produced sophisticated knowledge through its ability to tell a story or express the beauty of the world in ways which could not be captured by any other means, while still respecting the canons, prospective and order of the classical era. As “we have no other means of recognizing a work of art than our feeling for it” (Dowlin), the knowledge produced by classical pieces was only so great due to its ability to evoke relatedness in its universal audience, by establishing a connection between the viewers and the beautiful elements that please the eye. In contrast, many contemporary works of present day lack the skill, the handcraft and the visual appeal of the fine arts preventing the audience from grasping the portrayal of the themes within the artwork as admiring the work does not suffice due to its simplistic nature. For example, when considering the works by Mark Rothko, his art comprises only of rectangular fields of colour layered on top of each other on a canvas with no given subject matter. The sole objective of his artwork was to deviate from the typical historical functions of painting large, grandiose, pompous art and simply wanting the viewers to feel overwhelmed by his choice of vibrant colours. He, like many contemporary artists, avoided technique and did not follow rules, ultimately allowing everything to have the potential of becoming art. As art constantly evolves into new movements, its historical development has simplified the conventions and the value found within it. The quality of knowledge provided by contemporary works has become restrictive as to many observers there seems to be little meaning and inner logic behind the work.However, one may argue that the quality of knowledge produced by contemporary art has increased greatly through historical developments as it has evolved into a form that can only arouse the aesthetic emotion of the better artistic minds. The knowledge produced by modern artworks are quite complicated and in depth as they portray concepts that are meant to be felt. Owing to its complexity, the message of the work is not immediately accessible by everyone as in order to comprehend the piece one must pay close attention to the subliminal messages, provocations and as well have a degree of education and open mindedness in order to understand. Contemporary artwork therefore proves to provide a higher, more sophisticated form of knowledge as it is innovative and challenging that strives to break the boundaries of the mind by forcing it to contemplate and question the power that the art attempts to supply. For example, when looking at the piece Onement by Barnett Newman, it is simply a blue painted canvas with a white line painted in the middle symmetrically dividing the work into two halves. But to an individual of greater artistic knowledge, they view the vertical band of colour as a “state of being made into one” as the painted zip does not divide the canvas but rather merges both sides and unites the composition allowing the audience to “experience the work both physically and emotionally”. In the discipline of the visual arts, the quality of knowledge produced depicts trends of progressiveness and destructiveness over the duration of its historical development as it  does not confine to any particular trend but rather represents the movements of their time periods.  The practice of astronomy has Babylonian beginnings however, the quality of its knowledge has only experienced recent exponential growth due to technological advancements in society. Astronomy dates back to 750 BC when Babylonian astronomers observed cycles in the rising and setting of the moon from which they obtained the knowledge to predict the natural patterns of the earth such as eclipses. However, all predictions were simply based on observations of the naked eye and combined with religion to assist them in theorizing planets, which they believed to be the essence of the gods. It was not until the introduction of technologies such as the first telescope in 1608 that resulted in an immediate explosion of knowledge as astronomers were able to view the basic elements of planets such as their size, colour and surface features. However, even with the introduction of simple instruments like the telescope, astronomers still had to count individual stars and planets and plot them on a galactic map to understand their structure.  With further progressions in technology, the last 30 years have brought us to a time period where we no longer experience the observational limits of the past. As humans have furthered developed telescopes that are 30 times larger with detectors that are 3,000 times more powerful in terms of pixels, our knowledge has increased exponentially which has allowed us to understand elements of the planets and how the same elements make up our bodies, deepening the connection between us and the cosmos. They are also responsible for the complex and deep space images of today which ultimately allow us to better map our galaxy and understand the constituent elements out of which it is formed.

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