Art and Science in the Thinking of Rudolf Arnheim

  • Ian VerstegenEmail author
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


In Rudolf Arnheim’s thinking, art and science are two different but complementary modes of knowing the world. In a review of Nelson Goodman’s Languages of Art, he wrote: “science employs and consumes sensory data in order to arrive at the principles governing the operations of physical and mental forces. In art, the sensory data themselves are the ultimate statement because what we are made to see and hear lets us experience the play of forces that govern our existence.” I wish to review Arnheim’s discussions of art and science and reinforce his intuitions with some ontological principles derived from his contemporary Roman Ingarden, in order to flesh out a truly “symmetrical” account of art and science. I will argue that science builds systems of thought to coordinate the determinacies of the world whereas art coordinates a few determinacies of the world to suggest alternative, possible and aspirational worlds. Both serve an orienting role for human cognition.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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