The Open UniversitySkip to content

Art, expression, and emotion

Matravers, Derek (2013). Art, expression, and emotion. In: Gaut, Berys and McIver Lopes, Dominic eds. The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (3rd Edn.). Routledge Philosophy Companions. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 404–414.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available (Accepted Manuscript)
Due to publisher licensing restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The primary use of such terms as "sadness" and "joy" is to refer to the mental states of people. In such cases, the claim that someone is sad is equivalent to the claim that they feel sad. However, our use of emotion terms is broader than this; a funeral is a sad occasion, a wedding is a happy event. In such cases, a justification can be given for the use of the word. For example, it is part of what is meant by "sadness" that events such as funerals are an appropriate object for such emotions and the epithet is transferred. Sometimes in criticism (I shall follow practice and use this term broadly) a similar justification can be given; it explains, for example, why the death of Little Nell is sad. On other occasions such a justification is not available. A poem can express sadness without representing a sad state of affairs. More obviously, to take a medium that is not representational, a piece of music can be sad. What we need is some way of making sense of these uses of the emotion terms.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2013 Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes, editoral and selection matter, individual chapters, the contributors
ISBN: 0-415-78286-4, 978-0-415-78286-9
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 9103
Depositing User: Derek Matravers
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2015 10:21
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2019 05:14
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU