Ulianov Montaño MA. (University of Groningen)
EMOTIONS AND EXPRESSION IN ART
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
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.