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Art and negative affect

Philosophy Compass 4 (1):39-55 (2009)

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  1. Compersion: An Alternative to Jealousy?Luke Brunning - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):225-245.
    Compersion is an important concept for non-monogamous people. Often described as jealousy's opposite, compersion labels positive feelings toward the intimacy of a beloved with other people. Since many people think jealousy is ordinary, intransigent, and even appropriate, compersion can seem psychologically and ethically dubious. I make the case for compersion, arguing it focuses on the flourishing of others and is thus not akin to pride, vicarious enjoyment, or masochistic pleasure. People cultivate compersion by softening their propensity to be jealous and (...)
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  • The Puzzle of Multiple Endings.Florian Cova & Amanda Garcia - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (2):105-114.
    Why is it that most fictions present one and only one ending, rather than multiple ones? Fictions presenting multiple endings are possible, because a few exist; but they are very rare, and this calls for an explanation. We argue that such an explanation is likely to shed light on our engagement with fictions, for fictions having one and only one ending seem to be ubiquitous. After dismissing the most obvious explanations for this phenomenon, we compare the scarcity of multiple endings (...)
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  • On the Enjoyment of Sad Music: Pleasurable Compassion Theory and the Role of Trait Empathy.David Huron & Jonna K. Vuoskoski - 2020 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
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  • The Badness of Pain.Gwen Bradford - 2020 - Utilitas 32 (2):236-252.
    Why is pain bad? The most straightforward theory of pain's badness, dolorism, appeals to the phenomenal quality of displeasure. In spite of its explanatory appeal, the view is too straightforward to capture two central puzzles, namely pain that is enjoyed and pain that is not painful. These cases can be captured by conditionalism, which makes the badness of displeasure conditional on an agent's attitude. But conditionalism fails where dolorism succeeds with explanatory appeal. A new approach is proposed, reverse conditionalism, which (...)
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  • Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others.Aaron Smuts - manuscript
    Is it ever bad to take pleasure in the suffering of fictional characters? I think so. I attempt to show when and why. I begin with two powerful objections to my view: (1) engaging with fiction is akin to morally unproblematic autonomous fantasy, and (2) since no one is harmed, it is morally unproblematic. I reply to the objections and defend a Moorean view on the issue: It is intrinsically bad to enjoy evil, actual (past, present, or future) and merely (...)
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  • Imagination.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2011 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.
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  • Art and Emotion.Filippo Contesi - 2018 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
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  • Cognitive and Philosophical Approaches to Horror.Aaron Smuts - forthcoming - In Harry Benshoff (ed.), Blackwell Companion to the Horror Film. Blackwell.
    Four main issues have occupied center stage in the analytic-cognitivist work on horror: (1) What is horror? (2) What is the appeal of horror? (3) How does it frighten audiences? and, (4) is it irrational to be scared of horror fiction?
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  • The Feels Good Theory of Pleasure.Aaron Smuts - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (2):241-265.
    Most philosophers since Sidgwick have thought that the various forms of pleasure differ so radically that one cannot find a common, distinctive feeling among them. This is known as the heterogeneity problem. To get around this problem, the motivational theory of pleasure suggests that what makes an experience one of pleasure is our reaction to it, not something internal to the experience. I argue that the motivational theory is wrong, and not only wrong, but backwards. The heterogeneity problem is the (...)
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  • How Not to Defend Response Moralism. Smuts - 2015 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 49 (4):19-38.
    The bulk of the literature on the relationship between art and morality is principally concerned with an aesthetic question: Do moral flaws with works of art constitute aesthetic flaws?1 Much less attention has been paid to the ways in which artworks can be morally flawed. There are at least three promising contenders that concern aesthetic education: Artworks can be morally flawed by endorsing immorality, corrupting audiences, and encouraging responses that are bad to have. When it comes to works of fiction, (...)
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  • Grounding Moralism: Moral Flaws and Aesthetic Properties. Smuts - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (4):34-53.
    My goal in this article is to provide support for the claim that moral flaws can be detrimental to an artwork's aesthetic value. I argue that moral flaws can become aesthetic flaws when they defeat the operation of good-making aesthetic properties. I do not defend a new theory of aesthetic properties or aesthetic value; instead, I attempt to show that on both the response-dependence and the supervenience account of aesthetic properties, moral flaws with an artwork are relevant to what aesthetic (...)
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  • Painful Art and the Limits of Well-Being.Aaron Smuts - 2013 - In Jerrold Levinson (ed.), Suffering Art Gladly: The Paradox of Negative Emotions in Art. Palgrave/ Macmillan.
    In this chapter I explore what painful art can tell us about the nature and importance of human welfare. My goal is not so much to defend a new solution to the paradox of tragedy, as it is to explore the implications of the kinds of solutions that I find attractive. Both nonhedonic compensatory theories and constitutive theories explain why people seek out painful art, but they have troublesome implications. On some narrow theories of well-being, they imply that painful art (...)
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  • Acknowledgement and the Paradox of Tragedy.Daan Evers & Natalja Deng - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):337-350.
    We offer a new answer to the paradox of tragedy. We explain part of the appeal of tragic art in terms of its acknowledgement of sad aspects of life and offer a tentative explanation of why acknowledgement is a source of pleasure.
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  • Horror Films and the Argument From Reactive Attitudes.Scott Woodcock - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2):309-324.
    Are horror films immoral? Gianluca Di Muzio argues that horror films of a certain kind are immoral because they undermine the reactive attitudes that are responsible for human agents being disposed to respond compassionately to instances of victimization. I begin with this argument as one instance of what I call the Argument from Reactive Attitudes (ARA), and I argue that Di Muzio’s attempt to identify what is morally suspect about horror films must be revised to provide the most persuasive interpretation (...)
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  • Art and Painful Emotion.Matthew Strohl - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12558.
    This essay updates Aaron Smuts', 2009 Philosophy Compass piece, “Art and Negative Affect” in light of recent work on the topic. The “paradox of painful art” is the general problem of how it is possible to enjoy or value experiences of art that involve painful emotions. It encompasses both the paradox of tragedy and the paradox of horror. Section 2 lays out a taxonomy of solutions to the paradox of painful art and argues that we should opt for a pluralistic (...)
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  • The Distancing-Embracing Model of the Enjoyment of Negative Emotions in Art Reception.Winfried Menninghaus, Valentin Wagner, Julian Hanich, Eugen Wassiliwizky, Thomas Jacobsen & Stefan Koelsch - 2017 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40:1-58.
    Why are negative emotions so central in art reception far beyond tragedy? Revisiting classical aesthetics in the light of recent psychological research, we present a novel model to explain this much discussed paradox. We argue that negative emotions are an important resource for the arts in general, rather than a special license for exceptional art forms only. The underlying rationale is that negative emotions have been shown to be particularly powerful in securing attention, intense emotional involvement, and high memorability, and (...)
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  • Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    To imagine is to form a mental representation that does not aim at things as they actually, presently, and subjectively are. One can use imagination to represent possibilities other than the actual, to represent times other than the present, and to represent perspectives other than one’s own. Unlike perceiving and believing, imagining something does not require one to consider that something to be the case. Unlike desiring or anticipating, imagining something does not require one to wish or expect that something (...)
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  • Poetry and Hedonic Error in Plato’s Republic.J. Clerk Shaw - 2016 - Phronesis 61 (4):373-396.
    This paper reads Republic 583b-608b as a single, continuous line of argument. First, Socrates distinguishes real from apparent pleasure and argues that justice is more pleasant than injustice. Next, he describes how pleasures nourish the soul. This line of argument continues into the second discussion of poetry: tragic pleasures are mixed pleasures in the soul that seem greater than they are; indulging them nourishes appetite and corrupts the soul. The paper argues that Plato has a novel account of the ‘paradox (...)
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