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Art, Emotion and Ethics$
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Berys Gaut

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263219.001.0001

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The Long Debate

The Long Debate

(p.1) 1 The Long Debate
Art, Emotion and Ethics

Berys Gaut (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly outlines the history of the debate about art and ethics since Plato, both in popular culture and in the literary and philosophical traditions. It identifies as recurrent positions in the debate — humanism, aestheticism, and the view of art as transgression. It also distinguishes five different issues about art and ethics: the causal effects of art, public policy, conceptual, intrinsic, and structural symmetry issues. The intrinsic issue will be the one that is mainly discussed in the book. It concludes with a detailed example of ethical criticism, discussing Rembrandt's and Willem Drost's depictions of Bathsheba.

Keywords:   aestheticism, art and ethics, art as transgression, Bathsheba, Willem Drost, ethical criticism, humanism, Plato, Rembrandt

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