Causal Rewrite–SinatraMan17

AI Cannot Replace Intentional Art

The viewing of art without any context or bias is exceedingly rare. Perceivers of art tend to show some sort of bias when viewing a work, frequently from knowledge about the creator and their reasons for creating. We often look to the creator’s intentionality for the art, which in turn affects how we both interpret and connect personally with the piece. 

This practice of judging art has a brand new application in the world of the 2020s, with the rise of Artificial Intelligence. While the art produced by these non-human creators can indeed theoretically be perceived with 100% objectivity, with regard only to its aesthetic and personal value, and without any influence from its inhumanness, this propensity becoming the norm is a fallacy. Because of the inevitable artist-bias, people have stronger connections to Art produced by living humans, rather than emotionless, intentionless algorithms. 

To understand how viewer connections with art rely heavily on the presence of human emotions within, we must first understand the fundamental relationships between emotion and art. Since the dawn of organized thought in humans, art has been used consistently as a form of emotional expressionism. On cave walls, we expressed our feelings of pain and loss through depictions of battles and bloodshed. Emotions from real-life events and ideas are often what cause artists, of the Paleolithic era and of today, to create the art in which they create.

Because of the artist’s known causation for creating their intentional piece, perceivers can receive more expressed emotion from the canvas than they would knowing nothing about them at all. In the article titled How Does Art Express Emotion the author, Ismay Barwell, argues that “How works of art can be expressive of emotion and thus sad, happy, or melancholy must pose itself as a problem for anyone who believes both that works of art are not conscious entities and that only conscious entities can have feelings and emotions.” Ismay, a philosophy professor at Victoria University in Wellington, is arguing here that works of art could be considered animate objects since they can actively express emotion. While I admit that personal emotion can be found in any art, including AI’s, I argue that the artist’s own human expression is a leading cause for this sense of “animation” in inanimate things.

The Artist Intention theory is a long-debated counterintuitive topic that can never definitively be proven as truth or fallacy due to its deeply personal nature. However, as it pertains to whether or not the artist behind the art matters, it is extremely important to explore further. Literary artist L.N. Tolstoy claims in his book What is Art? that an artist has only created a genuine work of art when he “hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by these feelings and also experience them.” While this can just be written off as one man’s opinion, it’s important to note that L.N. Tolstoy is considered one of Russia’s most significant figures in literature. As an artist himself, Tolstoy openly recognizes the importance of expressing emotions through art, and simultaneously how the presence of artists’ OWN feelings in their art affects its quality, value, and most importantly, relatability. 

The deepest connections we make with any type of art will always be that of seeing ourselves within it. When we look at a certain painting or listen to a certain song, our most profound reactions are always those found within ourselves. When you see yourself in a work of art, the connection is visceral. I argue that this emotional bond between art and self can be tarnished by Artist’s Intentionality. A movie that you resonated deeply with may be irreversibly ruined for you if it is revealed that the filmmaker was abusive to their cast. This contamination of art connection, while a deeply sad truth, is inevitable and ever-present already in our society.

To examine how Artificial Intelligence being discovered as the creator of a work will impact a viewer’s perception of the work, I’d like to briefly make a connection to a string of events taking place in pop culture. The phrase “Separate the Art from the Artist” has been brought to recent spotlight with the rise of cancel culture in our society, most recently and notably with Ye, formerly Kanye West. Previous lovers of the rapper’s art around the world have had their bonds with his music broken because of his recent racist outburst. In the polarized article Separating Art from the Artist is Impossible, student editorial journalist from Virginia Commonwealth University Kofi Mframa boldly claims that “this phrase [separating art from the artist] is just a lazy cop-out that gives fans an excuse to not think critically as to why they continue to support problematic artists… To remove an artist from their creations decontextualizes their work and leaves it devoid of meaning.” It’s important to note this source is opinion-writing and is merely being used as an example of how woke cancel-culturists think. I believe it provides great insight into the minds of those who stand against “Separate the Art from the Artist.” This opinion shows how it is becoming increasingly impossible for people, especially younger generations, to perceive art entirely independently from its creator. 

Since people are already growing less and less likely to be able to separate the human artist’s life from their work, it is safe to say that they will apply this same bias to work that has no human behind it at all. Much like when a pop star is revealed to be a racist, if a recent art sensation, consumed and enjoyed by the masses, is revealed to be completely A.I. generated, I predict its value among many (not all) will diminish.

While it may be possible to view all art without any artist-bias, it is an exceedingly rare practice and becomes rarer each day. The state of our emotional connections to art is influenced by our knowledge of the artist’s intentions, cultural and social contexts, or the complete and utter “lack thereof”. AI-generated art may be visually impressive and individually relatable, but it lacks the emotional depth and intentionality that makes human-made art so much more meaningful and powerful. As a result, AI can never replace the passionate and intentional art of human artists, and our emotional connections to art will always be tied to the human experience.


Barwell, I. (1986). How does art express emotion?. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 45(2), 175-181.

Denner, M. A. (2003). Accidental art: Tolstoy’s poetics of unintentionality. Philosophy and Literature, 27(2), 284-303.

Tolstoy, L. (1899). What is Art?. United Kingdom: Crowell. Pg 50.

Mframa, K. (2022, October 27). Separating art from the artist is impossible The Commonwealth Times. The Commonwealth Times.

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7 Responses to Causal Rewrite–SinatraMan17

  1. sinatraman17 says:

    I’d like detailed feedback on this when you get the chance. I had great ideas going in, and your recommendations really helped me get started off with a clear topic of causation, but I fear my claims got clouded and repetitive as I continued writing. I got halfway through 1000 words and I experienced serious writer’s block regarding where to go next.

    While this topic is definitely proving to be a challenge to provide clear, supported arguments for, I’m up for it– but I’d greatly appreciate your feedback and advice for the rewrite. Thanks.


  2. davidbdale says:

    For the moment, beware of contradictory modifiers.

    Perceivers of art will inevitably always tend to show some sort of bias

    Which means

    Perceivers of art will (as if compelled by fate) (without fail) (more often than not) show (at least one type) of bias.

    You may have meant:

    Perceivers of art cannot escape their biases.


  3. davidbdale says:

    Let’s track your causes and your rhetoric simultaneously for awhile.

    Regardless of its counterintuitivity, the viewing of art without any context or bias is exceedingly rare.

    —Your primary claim is that “the viewing of art without any context or bias is exceedingly rare.”
    —Most readers will probably agree.
    —But your syntax indicates THAT CLAIM is counterintuitive.
    —We’re having a hard time knowing whether you think art can be viewed without bias or not.

    Perceivers of art will inevitably always tend to show some sort of bias when viewing a work, frequently from knowledge about the creator, their reasons for creating, or a preconceived notion surrounding it.

    —You don’t want to say that people will “always tend” to do anything. They can “always show,” or they can “tend to show,” but not both.
    —As for the claim, you deliberately choose to name three SORTS of bias, those derived from 1) inside dope, 2) reasons for creating, 3) perceived notion.

    We often look to the creator’s intentionality for the art, which in turn affects how we both interpret and connect personally with the piece.

    —But you drop two sorts and conclude with an observation about just 2) reasons for creating.
    —If background knowledge isn’t useful to your argument, why cloud the real claim? If it is useful, make use of it.

    Do you want to go on like this, or should we do an Essay Overview first, Sinatraman?


  4. davidbdale says:

    It starts out well enough.

    1. You’re arguing that art gains value from its creator’s intentions. But that’s not quite right. You argue that it gains value FOR THE VIEWER but only WHEN THE VIEWER knows or believes she knows the artist’s intentions.

    2. I’m not sure which side is counterintuitive, but you insist, I think, that AI-generated art will “not become the norm” because SOMEONE (you don’t say WHO but you probably mean art appreciators, not EVERYBODY, or do you?) resonates better with human-made art. But so far we have to take your word for it.

    3. Humans, as a species I guess, “respond emotionally” to art, is the claim. Don’t use the Seurat example unless you indicate Seurat’s “opinions” on “social class” were deeply felt. It doesn’t work otherwise.

    4. You haven’t yet argued that we’ll be able to distinguish AI art from HM (handmade) art without being told. In a blind comparison viewing of AI and HM out of context, would we naturally resonate more emotionally with the HM pieces? Would our responses flip-flop if someone reversed the labels the next time we saw the images?

    5. I think Barwell is having a bit of fun with you, SM.
    —At the very least, he’s conflating “expressive of emotion” with “expressive of their own emotions.” We understand the first reading; he means a painting, for example, MAKES US feel sad or happy.
    —Your own claim that we respond more warmly, say, to art in which we sense the humanity. But you haven’t admitted yet that there’s a high likelihood that we could be manipulated to respond to the STORY of the art even if the art were AI.

    6. I trust Tolstoy as a limited authority, capable in this case, but how much does he help you, really?
    —”Art creates the impression of shared feelings.”
    —That, I think, is the message.
    —THAT can’t happen when one of the participants has no feelings to share, right?
    —Do you think you’ve expressed that claim yet?

    7. You got yourself tangled here, SinatraMan.
    —You say, “When you see yourself in a work of art, the connection is visceral. I argue that this emotional bond between art and self can be tarnished by Artist’s Intentionality.”
    —I respect the angle, but disagree with your take.
    —What the Artist Intended in creating the WOA is irrelevant to your setup. The bond gets broken by weak links of CHARACTER, you seem to say.
    —Do you want to be on the side of the argument that says, “Art produced by humans will always be better because we’ll trust the stories we’re told about the artists?”

    8. I don’t trust Mframa much here, SN. His agenda appears to be to criticize the unwoke. But, your surely correct, it clearly states that “who produced it” matters.

    9. The “lack thereof” paragraph is mostly gibberish.

    10. I like that you’re not backing down, SN, but you’re not quite frankly committing to a h-i-d-d-e-n and c-o-u-n-t-e-r-i-n-t-u-i-t-i-v-e claim:

    The definition of human-made art is that it has “the emotional depth and intentionality that makes human-made art so much more meaningful and powerful.” Therefore, if I connect with it emotionally, it is human-made; and if I don’t, it isn’t, regardless of how it was made

    Does that help?


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