The Substitution Theory of Art

Grazer Philosophische Studien 25:533-557 (1985)
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Abstract
In perceptual experience we are directed towards objects in a way which establishes a real relation between a mental act and its target. In reading works of fiction we enjoy experiences which manifest certain internal similarities to such relational acts, but which lack objects. The substitution theory of art attempts to provide a reason why we seek out such experiences and the artifacts which they generate. Briefly, we seek out works of art because we enjoy the physiology and the phenomenology of, for example, the experience of love or mountain climbing, and works of art serve as props for the promotion of substitutes for the corresponding genuine feelings. Art arose, or came to be separated out from other, related phenomena, through the discovery that the experience of substitute emotions can be pleasurable.
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1986
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Latest version: 1 (2017-10-30)
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