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Abell, Catharine, , . Pictorial realism
2007, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):1 – 17.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: I propose a number of criteria for the adequacy of an account of pictorial realism. Such an account must: explain the epistemic significance of realistic pictures; explain why accuracy and detail are salient to realism; be consistent with an accurate account of depiction; and explain the features of pictorial realism. I identify six features of pictorial realism. I then propose an account of realism as a measure of the information pictures provide about how their objects would look, were one to see them. This account meets the criteria I have identified and is superior to alternative accounts of realism.

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Adams, Laurie, , . Art on Trial: From Whistler to Rothko
1976, New York: Walker & Co
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: This book examines six modern art trials covering a wide range of legal and artistic considerations … the first in-depth examination of the art trial from every intriguing point of view.

Comment: Of particular interest is chapter 4: Traitor or forger? – Van Meegeren vs. Vermeer, dealing with issues of authenticity, forgery, and art ontology

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Battersby, Christine, , . Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics
1989, Indiana University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, women were blamed for having too much passion, imagination and sexual appetite. By the late eighteenth century, however, these qualities had been revalued and appropriated for male artists. The virtues attributed to the Romantic”genius” made him like a woman but not a woman. He belonged to a third, supermale sex. As new and old concepts of woman and genius clashed, there evolved a rhetoric of sexual apartheid which today still affects our perceptions of cultural achievement. Genius from the time of the Greeks has been defined as male. In this study, Christine Battersby traces the history of the concept of genius from ancient Rome to the present day, showing how pagan myths linking divinity with male procreativity have survived into our own time. The author explores the dilemma faced by female creators who have resisted the idea that Art requires “feminine” qualities of mind but male sexual energies. GENDER AND GENIUS argues, against those currently seeking to establish an aesthetics of the “feminine,” that a feminist aesthetics must look to the achievements of women artists in the past as well as in the present.

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Camp, Elisabeth, , . Two Varieties of Literary Imagination: Metaphor, Fiction, and Thought Experiments
2009, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 33 (1):107-130.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Recently, philosophers have discovered that they have a lot to learn from, or at least to ponder about, fiction. Many metaphysicians are attracted to fiction as a model for our talk about purported objects and properties, such as numbers, morality, and possible worlds, without embracing a robust Platonist ontology. In addition, a growing group of philosophers of mind are interested in the implications of our engagement with fiction for our understanding of the mind and emotions: If I don’t believe that Anna Karenina exists, can I really pity her, or hope or desire that she extricate herself from her tragic situation? And why is there no ‘morality fiction,’ analogous to science fiction? I suspect that philosophers have been especially comfortable thinking about fiction because it seems, at least prima facie, to employ the imagination in a way that conforms to a standard model of the mind. Specifically, contemporary philosophers tend to think of imagination as a form of mental pretense. Mental pretense can take two main forms: a cognitive attitude of supposing a set of propositions to be true (make-believe) or else an experiential state of imaging a scenario as if it were before one (imaging). Much of our pretense intertwines the cognitive and experiential modalities, of course. But both share a crucial common feature: all of one’s imaginative effort is invested in pretending that certain contents obtain. In this sense, we can understand imagination as the ‘offline’ simulation of actual beliefs and perceptions (and perhaps other attitudes as well), where we analyze these in the normal way, as states individuated by their attitude and representational content. While I share the burgeoning interest in fiction, I want to suggest that we also have a lot to learn from poetry, and in particular from poetic metaphor. I will argue..

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Choi, Jinhee, , . All the right responses: Fiction films and warranted emotions
2003, British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (3):308-321.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Cognitive theories of emotions have provided us with explanations of how we emotionally engage with fiction, when we are aware that what is depicted is fictional. However, these theories left an important question unanswered: namely, what kinds of emotional responses to fiction are warranted responses. The main focus of this paper is how our emotional responses to fiction can be aesthetically warranted – that is, how emotions directed to fiction can be warranted given the fact that its object is an artwork. I consider three possible explanations of this phenomenon: the real-life principle, a correspondence model, and a functional model. I argue that the real-life principle and the correspondence model fall short of explaining how our emotional responses to film are aesthetically warranted, and instead I argue that a functional model provides such an explanation. In this paper, I will primarily focus on fiction films, although I will address novels and other art forms where necessary.

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Coplan, Amy, , . Caring about characters: Three determinants of emotional engagement
2006, Film and Philosophy 10:1.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Western philosophers at least as far back as Plato and Aristotle have been interested in question concerning narrative art: what it is, why it engages us, and how engagement with it affects us. An important part of the philosophical discussion has focused on the relationship between narrative art and emotion, for many have thought the power and influence of anarrative art comes primarily form its ability to arouse strong emotions. In this paper I focus on one type of narrative art: narrative fiction film. In many ways the film viewing experience is ideal for the purpose of promoting emotional engagement. Due to the nature of narrative fiction film and the structure of the viewing experience, watching and experiencing film puts us in a unique position to become cognitively and emotionally engaged while remaining aware of the fact that the object of our engagement is fictional…

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Coplan, Amy, , . Empathic engagement with narrative fictions
2004, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2):141-152.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: There is still little consensus among scholars regarding how best to characterize the relationship between readers of fictional narratives and the characters in those narratives. Part of the problem is that many of the explanatory concepts used in the debate – concepts like identification and empathy – are somewhat vague or ambiguous. In this article, I consider some recent relevant empirical research on text processing and narrative comprehension and argue for a pluralist account of character engagement, in which empathy plays an important role. In Section I, I review several empirical studies that strongly suggest that readers often adopt the perspective of one or more of the characters in fictional narratives. In Section II, I turn to the concept of empathy and provide an explanation of empathy based on models and research in empirical psychology. I focus in particular on self-other differentiation, a critical feature of empathy that has been underemphasized in the literature. Next I discuss two psychological phenomena that are closely related to empathy and often confused or conflated with it: emotional contagion and sympathy. In the final section of the paper, I employ the account of empathy developed in Section II to address Noel Carroll’s objections to the view that readers typically empathize with fictional characters.

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Devereaux, Mary, , . Protected space: Politics, censorship, and the arts
1993, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 51 (2):207-215.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Anniversaries are appropriate times for reflection. On this, the 50th anniversary of the Ameri can Society for Aesthetics, I want to explore a complicated and confusing situation currently facing Anglo-American aesthetics. Works of art were once esteemed as objects of beauty. I In the past several years, however, artists have been accused of encouraging teenage suicide, urban rage, violence against women, and poisoning American culture. Museum directors have been indicted on obscenity charges, and artists and organizations receiving federal grants have been required to sign pledges that they will not pro mote, disseminate, or produce materials that may be considered obscene. Today in America, as in other times and places, artists face de mands for their art to conform to religious and moral criteria. These demands are not new, but they challenge the view that artistic expression falls under the protection of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.2

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Dissanayake, Ellen, , . Becoming Homo Aestheticus: Sources of Aesthetic Imagination in Mother-Infant Interactions
2001, Substance 30 (1/2):85.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Along with the vital abilities to cry and to suckle, human neonates are born with remarkable capacities that predispose them for social interaction with others. For example, newborns prefer human faces and human voices to any other sight or sound (Johnson et al. 1991, 11). They can imitate face, mouth, and hand movements and respond appropriately to another person’s emotional expressions of sadness, fear, and surprise. It is perhaps less well known that at birth, infants can also estimate and anticipate intervals of time and temporal sequences (DeCasper and Carstens 1980). They can remember these temporal patterns and categorize them in both time and space, and in terms of affect and arousal (Beebe, Lachman and Jaffe 1997). By six weeks of age, these innate perceptual and cognitive abilities permit normal infants to engage in complex communicative interchanges with adult partners–the playful behavior that is commonly or colloquially called “babytalk.”

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Eaton, A. W., , . Feminist philosophy of art
2008, Philosophy Compass 3 (5):873-893.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: This article outlines the issues addressed by feminist philosophy of art, critically surveys major developments in the field, and concludes by considering directions in which the field is moving.

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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . A strange kind of sadness
1982, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (1):51-63.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: HERE IS a Steve McQueen, Jackie Gleason, Tuesday Weld movie called Soldier in the Rain that I watch whenever it comes on the TV late show. I have seen it at least half a dozen times. The first time I saw it, I cried at the end. The next time I saw it I began crying just before the end. Now I choke up when it starts and cry more or less steadily through the whole thing. My husband and son find this exasperating. “Why are you going to watch that if it is just going to make you unhappy?” they ask. What they do not understand is that very few things bring me greater pleasure than watching this movie, crying all the way through. Or perhaps my son does understand when he disdainfully concludes, “You’re crazy”.

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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . Kantian and contextual beauty
1999, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1):11-15.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Two conflicting but strongly entrenched intu itions about beauty hold sway in the hearts and minds of many. On the one hand, many people believe that attributions of beauty to objects or events are unmediated-that all that matters is one’s direct, personal response. If something is beautiful, one just sees it; cognitive or ethical concerns matter little. On the other hand, many people are drawn to the view that the beautiful is not independent of other human values and atti tudes-that our attributions of beauty are related to beliefs or moral judgments. At the end of the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant represented the former view with such cleverness that his ar guments continue to disturb even those who re main unconvinced by them. At the end of the nineteenth century, partly as a result of the influ ence of Kant’s theory of beauty, Leo Tolstoy felt forced to downplay the importance of beauty’s role in explaining the value of art-a trend that continued for several decades. At the end of the twentieth century, increasing numbers of aes thetic theorists and practitioners are persuaded that beauty does matter in art, and although many, including me, believe that beauty is a con textual property deeply connected to factual be liefs and moral attitudes, the tug of Kant’s arguments remains strong.

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Feagin, Susan L., , . The pleasures of Tragedy
1983, American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (1): 95-104.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Summary: This article addresses a paradox that has puzzled philosophers of art since Aristotle: tragedies produce, and are designed to produce, pleasure for the audiences, without supposing any special callousness or insensitivity on their part. The author introduces a distinction which enables us to understand how we can feel pleasure in response to tragedy, and which also sheds some light on the complexity of such responses. The virtues of this approach lie in its straightforward solution to the paradox of tragedy as well as the bridges the approach builds between this and some other traditional problems in aesthetics, and the promising ways in which we are helped to see their relationships. In particular, we are helped to understand the feeling many have had about the greatness of tragedy in comparison to comedy, and provided a new perspective from which to view the relationship between art and morality.

Comment: Really clear introduction to the nature of the relationship between aesthetic and moral value, and specifically to the topic of meta-responses to art. The last section of the paper also throws some light upon the differences between responses and meta-responses to real situations and to art. The reading is not very difficult so in principle, it could be used by undergraduate students. On the other hand, the paper contains some very specialised detail, so it might be recommendable to use it for postgraduate courses in both ethics and aesthetics.

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Friend, Stacie, , . The pleasures of documentary tragedy
2007, British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2):184-198.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: Two assumptions are common in discussions of the paradox of tragedy: (1) that tragic pleasure requires that the work be fictional or, if non-fiction, then non-transparently represented; and (2) that tragic pleasure may be provoked by a wide variety of art forms. In opposition to (1) I argue that certain documentaries could produce tragic pleasure. This is not to say that any sad or painful documentary could do so. In considering which documentaries might be plausible candidates, I further argue, against (2), that the scope of tragic pleasure is limited to works that possess certain thematic and narrative features.

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Gatens, Moira, , . The Art and Philosophy of George Eliot
2009, Philosophy and Literature 33(1): 73-90.
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Abstract: Much remains to be said about Eliot as a philosopher. I argue that her novels should be understood as attempts to practice philosophy in an alternative key. Her decision to write novels rather than conventional philosophy reflects her desire to actively engage the imaginative and affective, as well as the cognitive, powers of her readers. On her view the imagination grounds our disposition to feel sympathy for our fellow human beings. It is this disposition and its potential for refinement as moral knowledge that she sought to realize in her novels. An appreciation of her philosophical commitments is necessary in order to understand her efforts to construct an immanent ground for moral life. The parts played by the imagination, reason and emotion in the attainment of moral knowledge were of prime concern to both Spinoza and Feuerbach. Each philosopher offered an account of the relations between these capacities and argued for their reformation. This reformative task is one that Eliot attempted in her novels. The radical holism of Spinoza and Feuerbach resonates throughout her work. She had a deep suspicion of dualistic philosophies that separate reason and imagination. Like Spinoza and Feuerbach, she understood these ruptures within our capacities, indeed within our very being, to derive in large part from religion, especially Christianity. The reform of our habitual ways of understanding the world must therefore begin with critical reflection on religion.

Comment: An article that explains the philosophical standpoint underlying George Eliot’s fiction and argues that her fiction and her philosophical thinking need to be regarded as a whole. Could be used in a course covering nineteenth-century philosophy, either as supplementary reading or as a primary reading perhaps paired with a piece of writing by Eliot.

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