Seeing, Doing, and Making: Art and the Education of a Free Person
David Banach
Department of Philosophy, Saint Anselm College


Powerpoint Slides

50 word Abstract


Art is seeing, doing, and making.  Art makes manifest the freedom that a liberal arts education aims to foster: focused vision of things as they are; action guided by the practiced use of imagination; and creative re-fashioning of ourselves and our world. Art is the techne of self-creation.

200 word Proposal

The liberal arts are the disciplines necessary for a free person, a person capable of actively participating in the creation of their community and themselves. Art makes manifest the fundamental structure of the freedom that a liberal arts education aims to foster. Freedom is seeing, doing, and making: seeing things as they are and as they can be; intelligent action guided by the practiced use of imagination; creative remaking of ourselves and our world in accordance with our vision and the constraints discovered by doing.


The liberal arts investigate the world to find its fundamental lessons and to make them a guide for life.  Intelligence is about selection. Art develops the skills to see what matters and to focus our creative powers to present them to us in ways that make sense. Art refashions the world to allow its beauty and value to shine forth.  Traditionally, art has been defined as a making that produces beauty. For Tolstoy, art became the means by which a culture communicates its felt solutions to the problems of life. For Heidegger, art is the engine through which a culture transforms itself. No free society can be without art. Art fosters the free play of the imagination that allows a mind to see outside of convention, to make new meanings, and to create under the guidance of strictures we make ourselves and that we find in the world through creative seeing.




This material world

Real World

Role of Artist




Matter=Copies of Form


Opens windows to reality and coaxes us to climb through

Apprehension of form and a type of union with it

Late Nineteenth



Representation: Objectification of will formed by our concepts and categories

Will: unstructured tendency

Transmits feeling. Connects souls to souls.

Most basic and direct objectification or expression of will

Postmodern (Picasso)

Socio-cultural construct.


Constructs new realities

Effects in the brain