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Emotion in response to art

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M018-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

The main philosophical questions concerning emotion in response to art are as follows. (1) What kind or type of emotions are had in response to works of art? (2) How can we intelligibly have emotions for fictional persons or situations, given that we do not believe in their existence? (This is known as ‘the paradox of fiction’.) (3) Why do abstract works of art, especially musical ones, generate emotions in audiences, and what do audiences then have these emotions towards? (4) How can we make sense of the interest appreciators have in experiencing empathetically art that is expressive of negative emotions? (A particular form of this query is ‘the paradox of tragedy’.) (5) Is there a special aesthetic emotion, raised only in the context of experience of art? (6) Is there an irresolvable tension between an emotional response to art and the demands of aesthetic appreciation? Answers to these questions depend to some extent on the conception of emotion adopted.

Citing this article:
Levinson, Jerrold. Emotion in response to art, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M018-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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