Indeed, it is an illusion that so thoroughly seperate the individual from culture as if what is essentially the individuals pre-exists their development within culture. There could be no consciousness said to be human in a person who grew up independent of human society, such a person would be human only in biology but not in mind.
It is a metaphysical view that treats our views as somehow purely the individuals. Generally the most individualistic are those who are at the epitome, the frontiers of an area of culture/knowledge.
And it is the case that one does develop one's tastes through culture, and it is in this sense one could speak of some cultures and ways of thought not being equal to one another.
Our human sesnses are essentially cultural and cannot be anything else, otherwise human nature would be aptly summarized by a description of our biology. But our nature is based within the same physiology but changed by material culture and the activity that sets limits for us within it. http://www.kafu-academic-journal.info/journal/6/164/
The historical materialism of Marx, as Ilyenkov stated, differs from other forms of materialism by the idea that all abilities of an individual, including the five main senses, are understood as a product of history, not as a gift from Mother Nature. Thus human eyesight and hearing differ from the eyesight and hearing of animals, and they do so because they are formed on the basis of communication with things made by a man for a man.
But a man differs from an animal above all by the presence of spiritual senses to which artistic taste and moral sense (conscience), the sense of the sublime, pride and love in its human spiritual meaning pertain. On the other hand, from the point of view of historical materialism, the highest spiritual senses do not presuppose additional physical organs, but rather transform and instill the highest ideal meaning into the activity of the natural senses, all the vital functions of a human organism.
The basis of vexation of mind is nothing but pain. Its essence differs, however, from a sudden heart attack. Thirst for justice differs from mere physical thirst. Someone who listens to symphonic music hears it with his ears, but he does not hear just a collection of sounds. Human senses are physically always the same. This means that the highest spiritual qualities do not presuppose different organs but different abilities of an individual which form a richer content of human life and behaviour.
The human eye is not simply the eye of a biological human, it is human when such an eye can see things in a human way which requires a sense of things that allows one to grasp the nature of a thing. The person deprived of such a development can see very little in an art work, may hear very little in music other than sound, it doesn't evoke much from them because they cannot see or hear things to such a degree as human possibly can.
And our aesthetic reaction to things, like experience itself isn't just emotion, or intellect and so on, it is a unity of things which the distinction of such aspects are important but they are part of a broader whole. Our reaction isn't just a feeling, or just a thought and in fact our thoughts mediate our feelings towards a thing. And our ability to experience a feeling towards an art work is based in our conceptual development that we can grasp the nuances of something. How can one see the greatness in say a film without some idea of what it takes to make it, to notice the tricks of editing, the theory behind it. It may well be left at an unconscious level as merely a positive feeling towards the experience one had watching something. But this would be because one hasn't yet cultivated their taste consciously but have had it already socially determined by society for them.
And in fact the truth of things in art cannot be considered within formal logic which aspires to erase the subjectivity of it. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259742845_Reality_of_the_Ideal
The very concept of truth is diferent in dialectics and formal logic. The latter demands to eliminate subjectivity – this ideal is clearly pronounced in the title of the report by Popper: ‘Epistemology without a knowing subject’. By contrast, in dialectics truth is understood as a process of transformation of the subjective into the objective, and vice versa. And the ideal is an objective form of a subject’s activity.
There are standards by which any practice asserts itself which can be criticized.
And as such I do agree that there is shared grounds on which people can argue that their view is more true about a work than another.
One interrogate the basis and means on which certain tastes are cultivated and their conclusions. What people assert about art isn't meaningless and incontestable and there is plenty to draw upon to articulate one's views and challenge those of others.
But that requires us to cultivate our own sense of things, where aesthetics doesn't seem to be just a matter confined to art but necessarily draws on questions of morality, truth and beauty which arise not from some eternal reason and ideas above us but within our differing modes of life.
-For Ethical Politics