Emotions, Art, and Immorality

Matthew Kieran

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

 Emotions, Art, and Immorality

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This article argues that the asymmetries involved cannot all straightforwardly be attributed to a neat distinction between fact and fiction. Furthermore, the narrative artistry that is often concerned with soliciting empathy and sympathy can facilitate the suspension of moral judgement, norms, and values. Works often solicit the suspension of particular moral assumptions in order to explore imaginatively different ways of seeing, feeling, responding to, and valuing the world. Finally, it is suggested that the complex inter-relations between the evaluation of our emotional responses to what we imagine, our own character, and the moral character of works of art is more complex than is commonly assumed, and future directions for research are suggested.

Keywords: moral judgement; norms; values; moral assumptions; feeling; emotional responses; moral character

Article.  11214 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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