Many philosophical accounts of the emotions conceive of them as susceptible to assessments of rationality, fittingness, or some other notion of aptness. Analogous assumptions apply in cases of emotions directed at what are taken to be only fictional or only imagined. My question is whether the criteria governing the aptness of emotions we have toward what we take to be real things apply invariantly to those emotions we have toward what we take to be only fictional or imagined. I argue (...) that what counts as a reason justifying an emotion can differ across real, fictional, and imagined domains. (shrink)
How do our engagements with fictions and other products of the imagination compare to our experiences of the real world? Are the feelings we have about a novel's characters modelled on our thoughts about actual people? If it is wrong to feel pleasure over certain situations in real life, can it nonetheless be right to take pleasure in analogous scenarios represented in a fantasy or film? Should the desires we have for what goes on in a make-believe story cohere with (...) what we want to happen in the actual world? In Apt Imaginings, Jonathan Gilmore develops a new framework to pursue these questions, marshalling a wide range of research in aesthetics, the science of the emotions, moral philosophy, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and film and literary theory. Gilmore argues that, while there is a substantial empirical continuity in our feelings across art and life, the norms that govern the appropriateness of those responses across the divide are discontinuous. In this view, the evaluative criteria that determine the fit, correctness, or rationality of our emotions and desires for what is internal to a fiction can be contrary to those that govern our affective attitudes toward analogous things in the real world. In short, it can be right to embrace within a story what one would condemn in real life. The theory Gilmore defends in this volume helps to explain our complex and sometimes conflicted attitudes toward works of the imagination; challenges the popular view that fictions serve to refine our moral sensibilities; and exposes a kind of autonomy of the imagination that can render our responses to art immune to standard real-world epistemic, practical, and affective kinds of criticism. (shrink)
I develop and defend the following functional view of art: a work of art typically possesses as an essential feature one or more points, purposes, or ends with reference to the satisfaction of which that work can be appropriately evaluated. This way of seeing a work’s artistic value as dependent on its particular artistic ends (whatever they may be) suggests an answer to a longstanding question of what sort of internal relation, if any, exists between the wide variety of values (...) (moral, cognitive, aesthetic, etc.) that may be possessed by works of art and their value qua works of art. (shrink)
I argue for the recognition of a particular kind of interest that one has in freedom of expression: an interest served by expressive activity in forming and discovering one’s own beliefs, desires, and commitments. In articulating that interest, I aim to contribute to a family of theories of freedom of expression that find its justification in the interests that speakers have in their own speech or thought, to be distinguished from whatever interests they may also have as audiences or third (...) parties for speech. Although there are many differences among such speaker-centered theories, a core commitment that most share is that expressive liberty plays a fundamental role in securing or constituting some form of individual self-realization. My account is a defense and elaboration of what I take to be one specific way in which the nature of such self-realization should be understood. In my proposal, self-realization is sometimes internally related to the very activity of expression, viz, expressing ourselves is one way in which we come to form and know our own minds. (shrink)
In the title essay of The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art Arthur Danto describes two dominant strains of the philosophy of art in its Platonic beginnings: one that art is dangerous, and thus subject to political censorship or control, and the other that art exists at several removes from the ordinary reality, impotent to effect any meaningful change in the human world.1 These two ways of understanding art, really two charges laid at art’s door, seem contradictory, he writes, until one realizes (...) that the second is a philosophical response to the first. In a ‘‘kind of warfare between philosophy and art’’ philosophy sees art as a rival, as a challenger to the supremacy of reason over the minds of men. Thus Danto describes the premise advanced in Book X of the Republic that art is mimesis, or that of The Ion that the artist lacks knowledge of what he does, as components of a powerfully disabling theory of art, designed not so much to come to terms with the essence of art as to neutralize its power through metaphysical exile, denying art causal efficacy or epistemic validity in the real world. And the history of aesthetics, in Danto’s view, continues this disenfranchisement, whether in the Kantian ephemeralization of art as an object of disinterested judgment, outside the realm of human practical and political concerns, or in the Hegelian ‘‘takeover’’ of art, in which it is demoted as an inadequate form of philosophy. (shrink)
Each of these books offers a richly developed and nuanced account of the nature of fiction. And each poses major challenges to a view about which there is a near-consensus. Catharine Abell draws on a theory of the institutions of fiction to advance a systematic re-envisioning of the metaphysics and epistemology of the contents of stories. Gregory Currie argues that fiction’s relationship to the imagination, and the way stories communicate their contents to readers, seriously undermine fiction’s cognitive values.
This chapter addresses the application of contemporary theories of the imagination—largely drawn from cognitive psychology—to our understanding of film. Topics include the role of the imagination in our learning what facts hold within a fictional film, including what characters’ motivations, beliefs, and feelings are; how our perceptual experience of a film explains our imaginative visualizing of its contents; how fictional scenarios in films generate certain affective and evaluative responses; and how such responses compare to those we have toward analogous circumstances (...) in real life. (shrink)
A primary dimension of our engagement with fictional works of art – paradigmatically literary, dramatic, and cinematic narratives – is figuring out what is true in such representations, what the facts are in the fictional world. These facts include not only those that ground any genuine understanding of a story – say, that it was his own father whom Oedipus killed – but also those that may be missed in even a largely competent reading, say, that Emma Bovary's desires and (...) dissatisfactions are fed by reading romance novels. (shrink)
In this acclaimed work, first published in 1986, world-renowned scholar Arthur C. Danto explored the inextricably linked but often misunderstood relationship between art and philosophy. In light of the book's impact -- especially the essay "The End of Art," which dramatically announced that art ended in the 1960s -- this enhanced edition includes a foreword by Jonathan Gilmore that discusses how scholarship has changed in response to it. Complete with a new bibliography of work on and influenced by Danto's ideas, (...) _The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art_ continues to be of interest to anyone who thinks seriously about art, as well as to philosophers, aestheticians, and art historians. (shrink)
Comprised of 45 chapters, written especially for this volume by an international team of leading experts, The Routledge Companion to the Philosophies of Painting and Sculpture is the first handbook of its kind. The editors have organized the chapters helpfully across eight parts: I: Artforms II: History III: Questions of Form, Style, and Address IV: Art and Science V: Comparisons among the Arts VI: Questions of Value VII: Philosophers of Art VIII: Institutional Questions Individual topics include art and cognitive science, (...) evolutionary origins of art, art and perception, pictorial realism, artistic taste, style, issues of race and gender, art and religion, art and philosophy, and the end of art. The work of selected philosophers is also discussed, including Diderot, Hegel, Ruskin, Gombrich, Goodman, Wollheim, and Danto. With a volume introduction from the editors and comprehensively indexed, The Routledge Companion to the Philosophies of Painting and Sculpture serves as a point of entry to the subject for a broad range of students as well as an up-to-date reference for scholars in the field. (shrink)
"This outstanding student reference series offers a comprehensive and authoritative survey of philosophy as a whole. Written by today's leading philosophers, each volume provides lucid and engaging coverage of the key figures, terms, topics, and problems of the field. Taken together, the volumes provide the ideal basis for course use, representing an unparalleled work of reference for students and specialists alike"--.
The psycho-historical framework proposes that appreciators' responses to art vary as a function of their sensitivity to its historical dimensions. However, the explanatory power of that framework is limited insofar as it assimilates relevantly different kinds of appreciation and insofar as it eschews a normative account of when a response succeeds in qualifying as an appreciation of art qua art.
It is a commonplace now among art historians that to say, with Ruskin, that an artist had an "innocent eye" was to give the artist an empty compliment. It would have been to say that the artist possessed something no one could possess, and that, if we follow E. H. Gombrich, the artist was not part of the history of art. Gombrich's goal was to show that the history of art was constituted by artists "making and matching" as they saw (...) and represented more accurately the objects with which their predecessors were only dimly acquainted. So an artist with an "innocent eye" would stand outside of history, or at least outside of history as Gombrich tells it; the artist's work being irrreconcilable with the works that flanked it before and after. (shrink)
In this essay I ask what it means to judge a work of art as failing to depict its subject in an appropriate way. I refer to such a judgment, when applied to visual art, as one of pictorial decorum, a notion that draws on ancient and early modern ideas of literary or poetic decorum. At play are two kinds of normativity. One intuition, of ancient vintage, is that a work of art may qua art be appropriately subject to general (...) standards of evaluation that we apply to non-art objects, states of affairs, events and persons generally. The other—apparently contrary—intuition is associated with modern conceptions of the fine arts: works of art are appropriately evaluated qua art only with reference to a specific kind of value, that is, artistic value. These intuitions are widely held to be incompatible. What I want to show is that far from being inconsistent, the former intuition can be preserved and defended in a framework supplied by the latter. (shrink)
The recent arrest of Roman Polanski, the film director who fled to France from the United States in 1978 on the eve of sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, has caused an international ruckus. The French culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, and the French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, both issued statements of support for Mr. Polanski. But many others in France have expressed outrage at that support and said he should face justice for the crime.
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