Affects in Appreciation

Susan L. Feagin

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199235018
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Affects in Appreciation

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  • Philosophy
  • Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Philosophy of Mind


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This article explains the complexity argument as offered by Peter Kivy in relation to absolute music. The next section looks at a particular criticism of the complexity argument: that feelings often alert us to what is important in one's current environment (for these purposes, what is important in the work one is reading) in a way that cannot be accomplished by reason or cognition, ‘intellectual’ activity, or even by affectless perception. Such a view of feelings in general currently enjoys substantial popularity among a variety of psychologists and philosophers. The next section presents one intellectualist model for appreciation, courtesy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five: the Tralfamadorean view, which connects the absence of time from the reading process, and from the process of living one's life, with the absence of feelings that reflect the human capacity for agency.

Keywords: Peter Kivy; intellectual activity; model for appreciation; reading process; capacity for agency; cognition

Article.  7810 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Philosophy of Mind

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