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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1/2011

XLVIII (New Series: IV)
Issued: 15th May 2011
Biannual
Founded: 1964
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German

Contrary Feelings and the Cognitive Significance of Art

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/284/contrary-feelings-and-the-cognitive-significance-of-art

 

Emotional response to artworks as a source of moral training or experimentation has long been disputed in the history of aesthetics. In this article I address the matter by focusing upon a kind of specimen that may by especially troublesome for an advocate of art’s capacity to educate our sentiments. The cases I focus upon – which I place under the label of the asymmetry problem – are those in which our emotional or evaluative response seems contrary to the one we would have expected when the represented contents are real. I critically review some of the main arguments offered to explain these cases and to challenge the role of art in improving morals. I seek to explain why these responses are not as problematic as one may initially think and to consider in a new light art’s capacity to shape our sensibilities.