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FSU / Philosophy / PHI 2010 / Why do people enjoy tragic works?

Why do people enjoy tragic works?

Why do people enjoy tragic works?


School: Florida State University
Department: Philosophy
Course: Intro to Philosophy
Professor: Clarke
Term: Fall 2016
Cost: 50
Name: Material for the Second Test
Description: Tragedy and Equality
Uploaded: 03/11/2016
4 Pages 6 Views 12 Unlocks

Eugene Gutkowski (Rating: )

Eugh...this class is soo hard! I'm so glad that you'll be posting notes for this class

Study Guide on Tragedy and  Equality Units

Why do people enjoy tragic works?

∙ The essence of the tragedy conundrum:

o Why do people enjoy tragic works?

∙ Things to think about:

o Most people enjoy a work of tragedy

o Most people do not enjoy a tragedy to happen in real life o The question of the morality of liking works of tragedy  

o People like tragedies because of the emotional response they  

give us, not despite of this response

∙ Hume thought people enjoy works of tragedy because of the  

pleasantness of the aesthetic features.

∙ According to Dubos’, people enjoy works of tragedy because humans  don’t like boredom and tragedies make you feel something which is  

better than feeling nothing at all.

o Hume disagrees because he points out that people don’t actually

like bad things to happen to u in real life. Don't forget about the age old question of Systematics is what?
If you want to learn more check out Who is Marbury v. Madison?

∙ Fontenelle thought that knowing that a tragic work is fictional numbs  

Who is Bernar Williams?

the pain.

o Hume objected because he said people still enjoy it even when it  

is fictional.

∙ Hume’s alternative view on why we like tragic works is because of the  

way it is presented:

o Lighting/cinematography

o Story development

o Makeup

o Quality of the acting

o This plays into his main idea of conversion, in which the  predominant emotion (the pleasantness of the aesthetic  

features) overcomes the subordinate emotion (sadness/= from  

tragic flaw or event)

∙ According to Bernard Williams, the problem of equality is that the  interpretation of equality is either too strong or too weak.

o For example, to say that all human beings should be treated  exactly the same is too strong of an argument because not every

human being is exactly. Don't forget about the age old question of what is the development of industrial systems in america in 1850's?

o On the other hand, to say they should be treated the same in  circumstances that are similar is too weak because some people  would then allow inequality with the reason that the  

How people form analogies from arguments?

circumstances are not the same.  

 The quality of being a human being is a morally salient or  

important one

 Skin color is not a morally salient category

∙ So if we were to accept the fact that all human beings are equal simply for the fact that we are all human, then how can we set a standard of  equality that is neither too strong nor too weak if some people are  

faster, smarter, shorter, or sleep longer, etc.?

∙ The statement “All humans are equal” is a descriptive one but the  

statement “All humans beings should be equal” is a prescriptive one. ∙ In order to meet the requirements for reflective capacity, three  

conditions must be met:

o Men must be aware to a certain level of their “titles”

o Are able to look past the roles they have

o The capacity to ponder on this can be heightened or reduced by  

their social class

∙ Williams draws a line between need and merit

o Think of scholarships based on academics or athleticism vs  scholarships based on how economically disadvantaged a  student is (the lower the EFC or expected family contribution  number from FAFSA a students has the more money he or she  Don't forget about the age old question of What is comparative advantage?

will get from financial aid)

∙ To say that all humans are equal is not the same as saying that all  We also discuss several other topics like What is Hyperventilation?

humans are the same, morally equal, or “humanly” equal. ∙ Williams believes that to say that all humans are equal means that we  

should not compare people’s titles or accomplishments but rather  We also discuss several other topics like What name of bond is given to the bond between two water molecules?

realize that we all have a purpose.

∙ There is a difference between distributing a good based on a need and  distributing a good based on merit.

o This distribution should be based on need

 Everybody who is sick or injured needs medical care. The  law grants medical care to people who are injured (such as  in a car accident) whether they are rich or poor, or legal or  

illegal (equality before the law).

∙ However, the rich legal citizens will be able to pay off the bill but what about the poor or illegal  


∙ What if it is not a matter of a serious injury but still a  need for a doctor’s consult and medicine but lack of  

money prevents a person from getting treated?

o Williams considers this irrational because  

health care should be based on need, not a  

person’s wealth, to be able to access medical  


∙ Nozick’s position on equality is that in order for justice to be distributed equally, it has to happen with constant evaluation so as to not  

intervene in the lives of people.

∙ How people form analogies from arguments:

o A is like B

o B has a certain attribute

o Therefore A is like that too

∙ Two ways to argue against something:

o Discuss how A and B are different in some way

o Object to B having a certain questionable attribute of equality  ∙ Analogous arguments:

o Everybody can have access to healthcare. Healthcare costs  money. Although a poor person isn’t banned from having  

healthcare, he can’t have it because he can’t afford it.  

o Williams “warrior class” argument: People from the warrior class,  who are all rich and strong, are initially the only ones allowed  access to education. Reforms are made and now everybody is  

given the opportunity to be in the warrior class and get an  education. Only rich people can afford proper diets to be strong  and nourished. Poor people still can’t get an education.

 This example really shows how it is not enough to simply  give everyone opportunities in order for it to be just.  According to Williams, not all things should be given based  on merit. Healthcare, he thinks for example, should be  accessible to everyone without them worrying about the  cost.

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