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Philosophical Perspectives on Art$
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Stephen Davies

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202423.001.0001

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The Expression Theory Again

The Expression Theory Again

Chapter:
(p.241) 16 The Expression Theory Again
Source:
Philosophical Perspectives on Art
Author(s):

Stephen Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202423.003.0017

This chapter challenges the Expression Theory: a work of art expresses an emotion just in case the artist experienced the emotion and displayed this in her work. Artworks are not expressive in the way required by this theory; they do not betray or symptomize the artist's emotions as her primary expressions, such as tears or groans do. Nevertheless, the work of art can be a secondary expression of the artist's feelings: the artist's feeling is expressed through its creation, though this need not carry over into an expressiveness that can be perceived in the work. And it can be a tertiary expression of the artist's feeling, involving the use of public conventions or rituals for expression. But art can also be expressive of emotions no one feels. One form of self-expression by artists involves their appropriating art's independently expressive character to match, and thereby give sophisticated expression to, their own affective states.

Keywords:   expression theory, work of art, artist's emotions, convention, rituals

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