Emotions in Art

  • Ranjan K. Ghosh
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)


The chapter mainly deals with the questions about the ontological status of emotions that we experience for a character or incident, say, a novel, movie, etc. Is the experience we have of, say, anger, pity, sympathy, etc., in relation to the characters in a novel, poem, play, etc. real and rational? Or, is it the case that these are “make-belief” and “irrational?” This also brings in its wake the question about relation between literature and truth. It is important to understand that the feelings experienced in the context of a literary work are experienced without their attendant consequences and the anticipated reactions thereto. These feelings are savoured without being affected by their attendant consequences. By way of understanding the nature of such emotions, a distinction is being suggested between “pretending to oneself” and “pretending to others”. The argument has been developed that in creative works it is the case of “pretending to oneself”.


Make-belief emotions Irrational emotions Pretence Pretending to oneself 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ranjan K. Ghosh
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Council of Philosophical ResearchNew DelhiIndia

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