Philosophy | Philosophy of Art
P470 | 20399 | McCarty
Course Title: Terror, Horror and the Sublime in Philosophy of Art
Description: “Why do so many people enjoy horror movies? Why do we
ride scary roller coasters? Why do some people watch films with
scenes of violence and destruction?” Since the days of Aristotle,
philosophers of art have been asking and trying to answer these and
similar questions (but not always about roller coasters or movies).
We will learn that, in answering these questions, some of the most
influential philosophers of art pointed to a terror-inducing quality
in such terrifying artworks, a quality they called “the sublime.”
During the course, we will be reading and studying the works of
philosophers who wrote about the sublime in art, starting with the
classical Greeks and ending with the postmodernists.
Aristotle. “On Poetry and Style”
Burke, Edmund. “A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas
of the Sublime and the Beautiful”
Kant, Immanuel. “Critique of Judgment”
Scruton, Roger. “Kant: A Very Short Introduction”
Nietzsche, Friedrich. “The Birth of Tragedy”
Strunk, W. and E. White, “Elements of Style”
There will also be occasional short readings placed on electronic
Course grades will be based on weekly writing assignments, daily
quizzes, classroom exercises, group work, presentations, in addition
to two written examinations.
Before attempting P470, students should have completed at least two
philosophy courses above the 100 level.