Philosophy of Art and Emotions: Syllabus


Schedule of Readings:

Course books: (at Odyssey bookstore)
John Willett, Brecht on Theatre
Brecht, The Good Woman of Setzuan
Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
F. Douglass and Harriet Ann Jacobs, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass A Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Elizabeth Spelman, Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering
Reading packet (available in philosophy department office at date to be announced) (p)

February 8 Art as an invitation to irrationality?
Plato, Book X, Republic (p)
Martha Nussbaum, selections from Poetic Justice ("The Literary Imagination," and "Rational Emotions") (p)

Unit I Art and Expression

February 15 Tolstoy, "What is Art?" (p)
Collingwood, The Principles of Art (p)
Bell, "Emotion in Response to Significant Form" (p)
Langer, "The Symbol of Feeling," from Feeling and Form(p)

February 22 Hospers, "The Concept of Artistic Expression" (p)
Novitz, "Fiction, Imagination and Emotion" (p)
Debate #1: Does Art Express or Arouse Emotion?

Unit II: Art, Identification and Empathy

March 1 Aristotle, selections from the Poetics (p)
Nussbaum, "Tragedy and Self-Sufficiency: Plato and Aristotle on
Fear and Pity" (p)
Spelman, FS, 34-58

March 8 Brecht on Theater, (selections to be assigned)
Brecht, The Good Woman of Setzuan

March 15 Carl Plantinga, "Notes on Spectator Emotion and Ideological Film Criticism" (p)
Debate #2: Aristotle versus Brecht on the value of empathy and identification

Unit III: Art, Suffering and Compassion

March 29 Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Spelman, FS, 59-89
recommended: Blum, "Compassion" (p)

April 5 Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
(chapters to be assigned)
Albert Murray, selection from the Blues and the Hero (p)

Unit IV: Art and the Experience of Painful Emotions

April 12 Noel Carroll, from The Philosophy of Horror (p)
Cynthia Freeland, selections from, The Naked and the Undead:Evil and the Appeal of Horror
Linda Williams, "When the Woman Looks," (p)
film: Silence of the Lambs
film screening: Sunday, April 8, 7:30 PM

April 19 Readings on the Sublime: Burke, Poe and Kant (p)
Debate #3: What value is there in the experience of horror films?

Unit V: Sentimentality and Melodrama

April 26 M. Kundera, " The Nature of Kitsch" (p)
Matei Calinescu, "Kitsch and Hedonism" (p)
Kathleen Higgins, "Sweet Kitsch" (p)

May 3 Debate #4: Are the emotions kitsch arouses of low merit?

Ann Kaplan, "Something Else Besides a Mother" (p)
Linda Williams, "The Case of the Missing Mother: Stella Dallas and the Maternal Melodrama" (p)
film: Stella Dallas
film screened on Sunday April 15, 7:30 PM

|Home | Course Overview | Syllabus | Class Debates |
Art Links | MHC Philosophy Link | MHC Home|