Art, Emotion and Ethics

Overview

Art, Emotion, and Ethics is a systematic investigation of the relation of art to morality, a topic that has been of central and recurring interest to the philosophy of art since Plato. Berys Gaut explores the various positions that have been taken in this debate, and argues that an artwork is always aesthetically flawed insofar as it possesses a moral defect that is aesthetically relevant. Three main arguments are developed for this view; these involve showing how moral goodness is itself a kind of beauty, that ...

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Art, Emotion and Ethics

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Overview

Art, Emotion, and Ethics is a systematic investigation of the relation of art to morality, a topic that has been of central and recurring interest to the philosophy of art since Plato. Berys Gaut explores the various positions that have been taken in this debate, and argues that an artwork is always aesthetically flawed insofar as it possesses a moral defect that is aesthetically relevant. Three main arguments are developed for this view; these involve showing how moral goodness is itself a kind of beauty, that artworks can teach us about morality and that this is often an aesthetic merit in them, and that our emotional responses to works of art are properly guided in part by moral considerations.

Art, Emotion, and Ethics also contains detailed interpretations of a wide range of artworks, including Rembrandt's Bathsheba and Nabokov's Lolita, which show that ethical criticism can yield rich and plausible accounts of individual works. Gaut develops a new theory of the nature of aesthetic value, explores how art can teach us about the world and what we morally ought to do by guiding our imaginings, and argues that we can have genuine emotions towards people and events that we know are merely fictional.

Characterised by its clarity and sustained argument, this book will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand the relation of art to morality.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is much here to admire. Amon the strengths of the work are the clarity and sophistication of Gaut's arguments.... I consider this an important book that deserves to be widely read and discussed."—Daniel Jacobson, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199571529
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,132,065
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Berys Gaut is Reader in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Chapter 1 The Long Debate
Chapter 2 Aesthetics and Ethics: Basic Concepts
Chapter 3 A Conceptual Map
Chapter 4 Autonomism
Chapter 5 Artistic and Critical Practices
Chapter 6 Questions of Character
Chapter 7 The Cognitive Argument: The Epistemic Claim
Chapter 8 The Cognitive Argument: The Aesthetic Claim
Chapter 9 Emotion and Imagination
Chapter 10 The Merited Response Argument
Bibliography
Index
List of Illustrations
1. The Long Debate
2. Aesthetics and Ethics: Basic Concepts
3. A Conceptual Map
4. Autonomism
5. Artistic and Critical Practices
6. Questions of Character
7. The Cognitive Argument: The Epistemic Claim
8. The Cognitive Argument: The Aesthetic Claim
9. Emotion and Imagination
10. The Merited Response Argument
Bibliography
Index

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