Philosophy of the Arts


‘Expression’ is a success term

Unlike ’emotion’, ‘expression’ is a success term. Emotions presuppose a history of psychological events, a disposition (Wollheim would say). They also involve beliefs about the world–present-day views of emotions take them to be cognitive. Lastly, emotions are acquired events. We learn the norms of appropriateness from our peers and parents in a long process of socialization. And think of David Wiggins’ argument that emotions involve <property-response>-pairs, the correctness of which is under permanent debate.

There is no debating the appropriateness of someone’s expression. It is just there for all (or most) to be seen.

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