9 March 2012
Venue: Case Room 2, Owen G Glen Building
Department of Philosophy research seminar by Derek Matravers, The Open University, and Cambridge.
Recent work by Malcolm Budd, Aaron Smuts, and others has shown the so-called ‘paradox of tragedy’ (the conjunction of the claims that we willingly submit ourselves to painful art and the hedonic view of motivation) is no such thing. What remains, according to Smuts, is the ‘motivation question’ (‘Why do people want to see painful art?’) and the ‘difference question’ (Why do people subject themselves to things in art that they would not in real life?’).
This paper argues that this obscures the deeper role of negative emotions in art: that they are essential for creativity. Drawing on the work on Richard Wollheim, this paper sketches an account of artistic creativity that draws also on the work of Melanie Klein and Hannah Segal. Along the way, it has something to say about the role of intention in interpretation, before answering Smuts’ two questions.