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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is natural to assign a significant role to artists in artistic expression, and perhaps to do so by extrapolating from the role we assign to people when they express themselves in everyday, non-artistic contexts. When, for instance, we say of someone's face that it expresses pleasure, we ordinarily take it that the pleasure revealed there is the person's own pleasure, and that the expression on their face is to be explained by the pleasure that they feel. In ordinary, non-artistic cases, then, we take the expression to reveal the state of the person, and the state of the person to explain the expression. The temptation is to suppose that the same must be true of artistic expression. The temptation, that is, is to suppose that a work of art expressing anguish both reveals and is to be explained by the artist's own anguish. But things may not be as straightforward as that.

Keywords: artistic expression, temptation, anguish, pleasure, facial expression

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