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A wine drawing philosopher with a heart of gold. aka. #firekitten

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  1. Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: Off the Mat

    […] proved quite simple. In the grapefruit, forest musk of the glass I smelled only joy.” Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka reflects on “on beauty and strangeness in […]

  2. Daily Wine News: Off the Mat | Wine
    Daily Wine News: Off the Mat | Wine at |

    […] experience proved quite simple. In the grapefruit, forest musk of the glass I smelled only joy.” Lily Elaine Hawk Wakawaka reflects on “on beauty and strangeness in […]

  3. Sao Anash
    Sao Anash at | | Reply


  4. Shea
    Shea at | | Reply

    Interesting notions, but I think of Kant’s distinction between gratification (what is “agreeable”) and beauty, with the former engaging desire and the latter not. Schiller borrows from Kant, but draws a further connection between morality and beauty than Kant does. I’m not convinced this makes sense, but in any case Schiller seems to accept the ‘universalizing’ component of beauty. My instincts could be totally wrong, but, assuming we accept Kant and Schiller’s understanding of beauty, it seems a bit weird to say wine, a created, mediated product focused on sensuous pleasure, has a universal in-itself that can engage disinterested pleasure.

    You say “Beauty reminds us how much more is the world than any of our self-involved analysis of it, and also of our ability to live more fully in it. In his book, The Aesthetic Education of Man, Schiller goes on to develop an account in which he treats the beautiful as an example for improving ourselves as people. There he tells us that we can strive to achieve in ourselves a sense of the completeness we witness through the beautiful. That is, when we are good there is no explanation, we simply are good. Yet, for us as humans, such goodness feels more tenuous than those moments with the beautiful, precisely because goodness for us must be an ongoing process. We must always strive for such balance without an ability to permanently arrive at it. In its parallel to goodness, beauty becomes a motivator to find comfort in our own uncertainty.”

    What do you mean by striving for balance. I am not clear how balance relates to goodness. Also, to what uncertainty do you refer? Are you referring to the “tenuous” feeling of goodness? Is the idea that we are morally uncertain creatures and that art can provide a purer model for our morality than can our own moral lives, which are inherently inadequate and incomplete?

    Anyhow, this is a thought provoking piece but I can’t help be cynical: Raveneau is great, but it does not give me comfort in my moral life. It does make me feel good, both physically and intellectually, and I can certainly relate to the joy such a bottle brings. But I’d rather make moral decisions based on deep reflection on others, and empathy for individual and collective plights.


  5. In the Spirit of Collaboration: Paris Popups | Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews

    […] best. My favorite of the night rests strongly in the second course. We were greeted with a glass of Raveneau 2001 1er Cru Chablis then coupled with a dish of Dungeness crab, grapefruit, and artichokes. The pairing gave a […]

  6. Shea
    Shea at | | Reply


    I didn’t expect such a thorough response to my haphazard thoughts! I appreciate the effort, and I take your point on plights, though I blame myself for lack of clarity in my expression.

    I disagree that ‘plights’ are irrelevant to aesthetics. They can, in fact, give us a picture of what should be not as a corrective but by virtue of an understanding of what is and what may lead to suffering. I’ve always found it completely unconvincing that a lot of analytical philosophical ethics is premised on the possibility of imagining utopia rather than what people are actually experiencing in the world. Such systems are totally ineffective for making decisions that matter to people and tend to distort the reasoning process in my experience, which admittedly is as a lawyer in the last 10 years and not as a philosopher (which I gave up just about a decade ago). So I tend to find myself focusing on how ‘big ideas’ are impacting people on the ground rather than creating abstract systems of morality. That doesn’t mean I’m right of course, and I’m sure there are flaws in my reasoning from a purely analytical perspective.

    Anyhow, that’s probably a big tangent. My point is that I just don’t associate wine, and ‘beauty’ in wine, with anything relating to morality or even the more basic point of becoming a better person. Respecting the passions and ethics of people who make wine is another story, however. Though I do think most (not all) such people come from privilege and so I’m not crying tears over their efforts to make a good wine. But I also greatly respect those with integrity in pursuing a particular vision, and that can make me want to be better. A bottle of wine in itself, however, does not.

    I am not trying to prefer vision over other senses. I suppose, rather, that I question whether wine can engage the dissonance I expect from things that engage my aesthetic sense. Art must estrange us from what is in order to conjure what could be. Wine doesn’t do that for me. I love wine, but I don’t get that experience from it. I do not think it is a sufficient response to say that this is simply because I have not yet experienced a moment that cannot be explained or justified to others because of its universality grounded in individual mediated sensory experience.

    Frankly put, though perhaps not analytically pure and wIthout going in depth, is there not a fallacy to claiming that if one hasn’t experienced ‘beauty’ in wine then one cannot understand whether that ‘beauty’ is possible? That seems to be a claim that prevents any debate on the issue. I.e. until you agree with my proposition by virtue of having experienced it, then you cannot challenge my proposition. Maybe I’m missing your point but if I’ve tasted the same wines, objectively, as you are claiming to be beautiful but have not had that experience, is your response only to say that the flaw lies within me for not recognizing the universality of that object? That seems problematic to me, and unconvincing.

    Anyhow, great article and debate. I greatly appreciate the detailed responses.


  7. Shea
    Shea at | | Reply

    Also I’ve been thinking more about this interesting discussion and so below try to lay out my rough thoughts on aesthetic judgments of wine.

    I realize that for Kant concepts do not capture art. Subjective experience only encounters the semblance character of art, not its non-identicality with the subject. By non-identicality I mean that art’s truth is it inability to solidify in a subjectively mediated objective form. Art’s truth depends on art in itself not being identical with the concept. Semblance makes the artwork appear to be whole. It is an illusion that allows us to see art as an object. We then encounter the semblance character of art but, through subjective mediation, form an expression of art. In other words, we give art its voice. That voice is distinct from art’s semblance, but it is not adequate to its non-identicality.

    Thus, there is no way to determine the ‘truth’ of an aesthetic judgment from a subjective assertion about experiencing art and beauty in art. In fact, I would suggest that such assertions have no content vis-a-vis the artwork. At the same time, it is only an illusion that an artwork is what we perceive as a particular object (e.g. wine).

    But, in my mind and as I think you suggest, at the same time as the artwork is non-identical to concepts, the artwork must also be inadequate to itself and require the subject to express it as something more than what is subjectively felt. That relationship cannot be easily cordoned off from rationality. Distinguishing rational thought from aesthetic judgment is a false construct. Concepts are inadequate to capture art (or beauty in art as you put it), but art is able to expose the very lack of subjectivity in the concept itself. I.e. art defamiliarizes us with our schema of the world and exposes the unbridgeable gap between the possibility of our concepts and concepts’ manifestation in the world. To me, this is why art estranges us from what is to show what could be. This dimension is necessary to art and aesthetic judgments. I remain open to being shown otherwise, but wine does not have that capacity. I do not understand how wine could possible achieve that. Bald assertions about wine’s beauty does not make it art. There, for me there is no aesthetic content to your assertion that Raveneau is beautiful.

    Just my quickly hashed out two cents that is definitely not perfectly expressed :).

  8. The Paris Popup Trailer | Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews

    […] The meal in Oakland proved emotionally moving as well, and led to this write-up considering beauty in wine.… […]

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