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    Re: Celestial arts and crafts
    From: Hewitt Schlereth
    Date: 2013 Mar 26, 15:08 -0700

    Frank, Lu and all -
    By one of those ongoing mysteries of the cosmos, the theme of Sunday's NY 
    Times crossword was "What is art?" 
    Selfish and perverse. - Beethoven 
    The proper task of life. - Nietzsche 
    The great democrat. - JFK
    A jealous mistress. - Emerson 
    But a vision of reality. - Yeats
    (Cue theme from The Twilight Zone?)  :-)
    Sent from my iPad
    On Mar 26, 2013, at 1:44 PM, "Frank Reed"  wrote:
    > Lu, you wrote:
    > "M-W's first definitions of "art" are centered around skill, especially that 
    acquired by experience or study.  By that measure, a knowledge of celestial 
    and especially being able to apply that knowledge skillfully to obtain one's 
    position is certainly an "art" "
    > Would you agree then the statements "celestial navigation is a skill" and 
    "celestial navigation is an art" are identical in meaning (by that 
    definition)? If so, then what is the point of the latter version? What does 
    it add??
    > In general, I would add that dictionary definitions are not much use in 
    discussions like this. Modern Engish dictionaries attempt to document usage 
    and nothing more. And different dictionaries disagree. They are not language 
    "rule books". Try this: go to google and type in the question "what is art?". 
    Google responds with its own dictionary-style definition which does not match 
    the M-W definition of choice which you listed. Or you could hit the Wikipedia 
    article "Art" where you will find this useful comment: "Until the 17th 
    century, art referred to any skill or mastery and was not differentiated from 
    crafts or sciences, but in modern usage the fine arts, where aesthetic 
    considerations are paramount, are distinguished from acquired skills in 
    > If folks (Hewitt is hardly the only person who has referred to celestial 
    navigation as an "art") only mean a "skill" when they call celestial 
    navigation an art, then the word "art" in that context would be misleading 
    for most people. As noted in the Wikipedia article, for most modern usage, 
    apart from ironic comments (e.g. "there is an art to drinking beer"), the 
    word no longer refers to a skill.
    > -FER
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