Courageous Love: K. C. Bhattacharyya on the Puzzle of Painful Beauty

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2024:1-16 (2024)
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In the 1930s, the Bengali philosopher K. C. Bhattacharyya proposed a new theory of rasa, or aesthetic emotion, according to which aesthetic emotions are feelings that have other feelings as their intentional objects. This paper articulates how Bhattacharyya’s theory offers a novel solution to the puzzle of how it is both possible and rational to enjoy the kind of negative emotions that are inspired by tragic and sorrowful tales. The new solution is distinct from the conversion and compensation views that dominate the existing literature, and it derives its significance from how it ties aesthetic experience to self-awareness.



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Emily Lawson
University of British Columbia
Dominic McIver Lopes
University of British Columbia

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References found in this work

Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols.Nelson Goodman - 1971 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 22 (2):187-198.
Art and negative affect.Aaron Smuts - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):39-55.
The Pleasures of Tragedy.Susan L. Feagin - 1983 - American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (1):95 - 104.
A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics.Sheldon Pollock (ed.) - 2016 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Feeling for Freedom: K. C. Bhattacharyya on Rasa.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (4):465-477.

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