Philosophy | Philosophy of Art
P546 | 26258 | Weinberg

The course will be focused on the topic of the relationship between
emotions & our experience and appreciation of the arts in different
media. In particular, we'll be spending a fair amount of time on
three major questions about art and the emotions:
(i) Why do people typically experience emotions while engaging with
fictions (when they know that it's 'just a story')?
(ii) Why do people typically experience emotions when engaging with
purely formal arts, especially music without lyrics? (How can a tune
make us sad, when it doesn't give us anything to be sad _about_?)
(iii) Why do we enjoy, or at least find value in, artworks whose
predominant emotional content is negative, such as tragedies and
horror flicks (since we don't generally seem to enjoy being sad or

Of course, in order to address those questions, we'll have to spend a
fair amount of time thinking about what emotions really are
(including looking at selections from Paul Griffiths' _What Emotions
Really Are_), the relationship between emotions & other aspects of
cognition, etc.

Other texts we might look at are some relevant chunks of Plato and
Aristotle; a chapter from Martha Nussbaum's  _The Fragility of
Goodness_; some Hume and perhaps some Burke (on the sublime); Noel
Carroll's _Paradoxes of the Heart_; and papers by contemporary
authors such as Peter Kivy, Gregory Currie, Colin Radford, James
Shelley, and me. I'm willing to adapt the exact course content
somewhat to suit the particular interests & backgrounds of enrollees.

Course requirements will include regular electronic discussion of the
assigned texts; and a choice between a term paper or a series of
shorter papers.