Notes on the Experience of Tragedy

British Journal of Aesthetics 54 (2):255-265 (2014)
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Gregory Currie offers a statement of an interesting problem about tragedy: ‘(1) We want the fiction be such that something, E, occurs in it; [yet] (2) we react in ways which make it tempting to say we want E not to occur.’ He argues for one way to make (2) more precise with regard to what it is we are tempted to say. I argue he should not so readily have accepted (1). More significantly, however, I argue both that Currie is right to hold we need an account of what the tragic response is before we can determine precisely what Hume’s puzzle really is and that any account of the desires involved in the experience of tragedy must hinge on when, in the course of a performance of a tragedy, we are considering a spectator’s responses



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James Hamilton
Kansas State University

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