In Defense of Sentimentality (The Passionate Life) - download pdf or read online

By Robert C. Solomon

Philosophy has as a lot to do with emotions because it does with recommendations and pondering. Philosophy, therefore, calls for not just emotional sensitivity yet an realizing of the feelings, no longer as curious yet marginal mental phenomena yet because the very substance of lifestyles. during this, the second one publication in a chain dedicated to his paintings at the feelings, Robert Solomon offers a safety of the feelings and of sentimentality opposed to the history of what he perceives as an extended historical past of abuse in philosophy and social idea and paintings and literary feedback. The name piece reopens a vintage debate concerning the function of sentimentality in paintings and literature. In next chapters, Solomon discusses not just such "moral sentiments" as sympathy and compassion but in addition grief, gratitude, love, horror, or even vengeance. He additionally defends, with applicable warning, the "seven lethal sins." the feelings, a minimum of a few emotions--are necessary to a well-lived lifestyles. they're or should be virtues, positive aspects of the human situation with out which civilized lifestyles will be unbelievable.

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The fact that an emotion is vicarious (in some sense ‘‘secondhand’’) does not mean that it is not a real emotion or that it is not an emotion of the morally appropriate type. Sympathy for a fictional character in a novel is nevertheless genuine sympathy. Horror provoked by the grisly view of an apparently decapitated cat on a movie screen is real horror, perhaps accompanied by real disgust and real nausea, no matter that the viewer knows it to be another one of Hollywood’s many tricks and the special effects man to be a cat lover.

There is always the aberrant case of the parents who go misty-eyed over the child they physically abuse, but again, it is a grotesque mistake to conflate such inappropriate and ( pathologically) inconsistent sentimentality with the brutality that goes with it. 22 It is true that a single trauma can exhaust our emotional resources, but it is unlikely that reading about Little Nell or Little Eva and experiencing ‘‘melting compassion’’ will do that to us. Indeed, that is precisely the virtue of sentimentality: that it stimulates and exercises our sympathies without straining or exhausting them.

Cf. ) But these sentiments will be degraded as ‘‘sentimental’’ only if they are perversely demeaned or grotesquely misunderstood. ’’ Caring about babies is one of those sentiments that can rightly be assumed in any civilized human being. The abuse of babies rightly provokes an emotional reaction. There is nothing distorting about that, or about stories that capitalize on that. , Germans bayoneting babies) may be false. Sentimentality and Self-Deception What becomes more and more evident, as one pursues the objections to sentimentality, is that the real objection to sentimentality is the rejection (or In Defense of Sentimentality [ 17] fear) of emotion, and a certain kind of emotion or sentiment in particular, variously designated as ‘‘tender’’ or ‘‘sweet’’ or ‘‘nostalgic’’ (Harries: ‘‘cloying sweetness,’’ ‘‘sugary stickiness’’).

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In Defense of Sentimentality (The Passionate Life) by Robert C. Solomon


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