Ulianov Montaño MA. (University of Groningen)


My presentation concerns emotions and their role in art. A popular view on emotions considers them as clear examples of non-rational phenomena. This attitude is also present in philosophy: knowledge and science are often seen as our best instances of rational activities, in strong contrast with emotional activities like art. However, a closer look at emotions and their expression in art reveals a different situation.

In order to give a more accurate perspective of the contemporary discussion, I will review the traditional discussion on emotions that consider them as different kinds of subjective or internal events. The empirical findings of psychology have suggested further different views on emotions, thus a review of them is in order. With this background I will present one of the most recent theories of emotions and expression of emotions in art: the theories of Jeneffer Robinson. She claims that some works of art cannot be understood without referring to their emotive content. For Robinson emotions are affective processes in which a special kind of automatic 'affective appraisal' induces physiological and behavioral changes which are then followed by what she calls 'cognitive monitoring'.

Following her theory of emotions I will discuss Robinson's theory of emotion expression in art, which claims that a work of art expresses an emotion if it can be view as evidence of that emotion.

I will point out a tension between Robinson's theory of expression and her views about the role of emotions in art.

I studied engineering (BA), physics (BA) and philosophy (MA). I worked as a lecturer (mathematics, philosophy) and as an assistant researcher (Artificial Intelligence) in the National University in Mexico. I also worked developing art projects in the National School of Music and the National Center for the Arts in Mexico.
Currently I work for my PhD, in the University of Groningen, developing a new aesthetics for mathematics. My research focuses on philosophy of art, philosophical aesthetics, and philosophy of mathematics.