La conversione tragica in Hume

Odradek 8 (2) (2022)
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Abstract

According to Hume, the pleasures that appreciators experience from good tragedies are critically accounted for by the unpleasantness associated with the events that those tragedies represent. This account appeals to a process of conversion of the unpleasant into the pleasant. Two of the more prominent contemporary interpretations of Hume’s conversion process – respectively advanced by Malcolm Budd (1991) and Alex Neill (1998) – put forward two contrasting views of the role of unpleasantness in Hume’s view of the pleasures of tragedy. In the present paper, I argue that, whilst Budd’s and Neill’s readings find some textual support in “Of Tragedy”, neither of them can do complete justice to the text of Hume’s essay. By contrast, I show that what I call a ‘two-stage interpretation’ of Hume’s conversion thesis is consistent with a body of textual evidence that neither Budd’s nor Neill’s interpretations can accommodate in its entirety.

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Filippo Contesi
Universitat de Barcelona

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References found in this work

Balance or Propel? Philosophy and the Value of Unpleasantness.Filippo Contesi - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy of Emotion 3 (2):10-18.
Hume and others on the paradox of tragedy.Robert J. Yanal - 1991 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 49 (1):75-76.

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