La conversione tragica in Hume

Odradek 8 (2) (2022)
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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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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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