Du Bos' paradox
British Journal of Aesthetics
Oxford University Press
What is now generally known as the paradox of art and negative affect was identified as a paradox by the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Du Bos in 1719. In his attempt to explain how people can admire and enjoy representational works that ‘afflict’ them, Du Bos claims that such representations give rise to ‘artificial’ emotions, provide a pleasurable relief from boredom, and offer us epistemic, artistic, and moral rewards. The paper delineates Du Bos’ proposal, considers the question of Du Bos’ originality, and discusses Hume’s brief comments on Du Bos and Fontenelle.
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Livingston, P. N. (2013). Du Bos' paradox. British Journal of Aesthetics, 53(4), 393-406. doi: 10.1093/aesthj/ayt034