AN ANTHOLOGY OF THOUGHT & EMOTION... Un'antologia di pensieri & emozioni

ARISTOTLE, BEAUTY AND CATHARSIS

ARISTOTLE AND THE PEDAGOGIC FUNCTION OF AESTHETIC PLEASURE
by Manuel María CRUZ ORTIZ DE LANDÁZURI, Comprendre, Vol 15/2 (2013)

Abstract:
In this article I intend to analyze the pedagogic function of aesthetic pleasure in Aristotle’s philosophy. In his Politics he says that music has a pedagogic value with regard to achieving some emotional dispositions and a right character, precisely because of the pleasure of melody. How is this possible? In the tenth book of the Nicomachean Ethics he links pleasure with the perfection of cognitive activities, sensation and intellectual knowledge. It is necessary to connect aesthetic pleasure with the emotions and with the contemplation of the work of art, in order to know how it helps to educate the character. Although the main function of the work of art is enjoyment, aesthetic pleasure can help to achieve the right dispositions and to learn good models of conduct in a process of intellectual and emotional self-understanding.

Key words: aesthetics, Aristotle, education, music, pleasure

Importance of aesthetic pleasure in the process of education: the example of music


Virtue, which is the capacity of acting with the rights dispositions in a way that can be measured, can only be achieved through a good education, especially in the case of the young person, because it is necessary to control the appetites and non-rational desires:
For that which desires what is base and which develops quickly ought to be kept in a chastened condition, and these characteristics belong above all to appetite and to the child, since children in fact live at the beck and call of appetite, and it is in them that the desire for what is pleasant is strongest. If, then, it is not going to be obedient and subject to the ruling principle, it will go to great lengths. (Nic. Eth., 1119 b 3-91).
How it is possible to bring up virtuous and excellent citizens? With a good ethical education, which cannot consist only in learning some norms and duties, but also in the establishment of good affective and desiderative dispositions.2 Thus, the great importance given to music by Aristotle’s Politics is understandable, when he states that the process of education must begin with some kind of pleasure, and it is precisely the delight of melody that helps the young person find some motivation in order to learn:
When men hear imitations, even apart from the rhythms and tunes themselves, their feelings move in sympathy. Since then music is a pleasure, and virtue consists in rejoicing and loving and hating aright, there is clearly nothing which we are so much concerned to acquire and to cultivate as the power of forming right judgements, and of taking delight in the good dispositions and noble actions. Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness, and also of courage and temperance, and of all the qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of character, which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we know from our experience, for in listening to such strains our souls undergo a change. The habit of feeling pleasure or pain at mere representations is not far removed from the same feeling about realities. (Pol., 1340 a 14-253).
It is in good music where the best imitations of the human actions are represented, and in this way it can produce different moral feelings depending on the goodness or badness of the actions. But we must ask ourselves, how is this possible?

Firstly, we must consider that music in ancient Greece was the art of the Muses,4 and that it made reference to melodies, dances, poetry and also tragedies and the great epic poems, which where the pillars of Greek education. Ethics and aesthetics are closely related in the Greek ideal, so that the purpose of poetry was not only the enjoyment of sounds and words, but the representation of the most important truths of human existence.5

Music suggests ideals of conduct because it has the power to arouse moral feelings towards the noble actions of the hero or the tragic ending of wicked behaviour. Certainly this pedagogic function of music in moral life had been previously treated by Plato in his Republic:
Hence the decisive importance of education in poetry and music: rhythm and harmony sink deep into the recesses of the soul and take the strongest hold there, bringing that grace of body and mind which is only to be found in one who is brought up in the right way. Moreover, a proper training in this kind makes a man quick to perceive any defect or ugliness in art or in nature. Such deformity will rightly disgust him. Approving all that is lovely, he will welcome it home with joy into his soul and, nourished thereby, grow into a man of noble spirit (kalós te kagathós). (Rep., 401 d-e6).
Plato, as Aristotle, observes some kind of parallelism between the harmonic rhythms and inner beauty. Music has the power to arouse deep feelings in the soul, and in this way it can move in one or another direction.7 Both Plato and Aristotle were aware of the role of beauty in the process of education: virtue is beautiful, and the young person must be attracted by it, which is only possible through some kind of motivation. Not only is it important to show a right and noble conduct, but also to show it in an attractive way.

In the case of Aristotle, music appears in Politics as a source of motivation in the process of education, but it seems necessary to examine how music helps to arouse the right feelings and to create some affective dispositions towards good actions. The purpose of the good pedagogue is the creation of a good character (ēthos) with the proper measure of appetites and emotions, so that the young person can be able to enjoy what is really enjoyable and feel pain towards the wicked actions. Beauty and virtue are so closely related together that Aristotle says that “virtuous actions are noble and done for the sake of the noble (kalon)” (Nic. Eth. 1120 a 23-24). The virtuous man has a noble behaviour, kalon, beautiful.8 The purity and harmony of the virtuous person makes his conduct not only to be something good, but also beautiful, because his good behaviour involves an adequate equilibrium between passions and reason.

Good behaviour involves an adequate equilibrium between passions and reason, some kind of harmony and inner disposition.9 The term kalon is of great importance in Aristotelian ethics. It is not only an aesthetic concept, but also a moral one,10 because it is concerned with moral obligations and it is valuable in itself.11 Kalon designs the ideal of human excellence, what is beautiful and noble to seek in the particular actions.12 Moreover, a kalon behaviour is not only good and noble, but also pleasurable: “Since virtue consists in rejoicing and loving and hating aright, there is clearly nothing which we are so much concerned to acquire and to cultivate as the power of forming right judgements, and of taking delight in good dispositions and noble actions” (Pol. 1340 a 15-19).

Goodness and true pleasures are so closely linked together that virtue is beautiful, because beauty is also truly pleasant. The other way around happens in the case of vicious people: “Living by passion they pursue their own pleasures and the means to them, and avoid the opposite pains, and have not even a conception of what is noble (tou kalou) and truly pleasant (alēthōs hēdeos), since they have never tasted” (Nic. Eth. 1179 b 13-16).

There is some connexion between the virtuous life and the noble (and beautiful), and it seems that this connexion has something to do with the aesthetical pleasure of contemplation of one’s life. On the other hand, as in the example of music, aesthetical pleasures help to contemplate human action and may be helpful for education. It is necessary to analyze the psychological and affective grounds that explain the pedagogic role of aesthetic pleasure. Thus, it would be useful to examine briefly the notion of character and the relationship between emotion and pleasures and pains.

Character (ēthos), pleasure and emotions

It seems clear that music can help to create a good character, and it is necessary to question how this is possible. In order to understand it, it may be helpful to consider the concept of ēthos, just as it is presented in the Poetics: “Character (ēthos) is that which reveals the decision (proaíresin), the sort of thing they seek or avoid, where that is not obvious” (Poet., 1450 b 8-1013).

Ethos is some kind of origin of action, different from reason, as Aristotle points out in the Nicomachean Ethics:
The origin of action (práxeōs) from where movement begins, and not the end which seeks is choice (proaíresis), and that of choice is desire and reasoning with a view to an end. This is why choice cannot exist either without reason and intellect or without a state of character (ēthikēs). (Nic. Eth., 1039 a 30-34).
Character is a kind of affective disposition, related with desires, which has some influence in choice. With the word ēthos Aristotle seems to be referring to the psychic and affective dispositions that can be controlled by reason in order to achieve virtue.14 Ethos has a wider meaning than aretē, because it is an affective disposition capable of virtue or vice, and so different from pathos, which is a momentary feeling.

In a general sense ēthos refers to the consolidation of affective and psychical dispositions towards the action, being some kind of origin of actions, and it is capable of virtue or viceso it can be morally judged as good or bad. Character (ēthos) can be made perfect by habit,15 and it is in this point where the right education towards pleasure and pain is of great importance, and music can play some role in this process, specifically by arousing moral feelings and emotions. Character is an affective disposition, and emotions are accompanied by pleasure and pain. It is significant that in his Rhetoric Aristotle defines the emotions (páthe) by reference to pleasure and pain: “The emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgements, and that are also attended by pain or pleasure (hépetai lúpē kaì hēdonē). Such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their opposites” (Rhet., 1378 a 21-2316).

Emotions have two main characteristics: on the one hand, they affect the capacity of judging; on the other hand, they are attended by pain or pleasure. Human beings change their way of judging according to the pain or pleasure they experience in their emotions. In De Anima Aristotle gives a definition of sensitive pleasure and pain which can be applied to the emotions: “To feel pleasure or pain is to act with the sensitive mean towards what is good or bad as such. Both avoidance and appetite are not different, either from one another or from the faculty of sense perception” (De Anima, 431 a 8-1217).

In the case of emotions, it is possible to say that there is pleasure when something is perceived on an emotional level as good for one’s life, whereas there is pain when something is perceived as bad. Emotions are common to the soul and body,18 they are sensitive valuations of a personal situation, movements in the soul (páthē), and these valuations are due to the pleasure or the pain which are felt within them. Although Aristotle does not say it explicitly, emotions are some kind of feeling, and this feeling is accompanied by pleasure or pain. Thus, the definition of emotion in the Rhetoric seems clear, when he says that emotions are attended by pleasure and pain (hépetai lúpē kaì hēdonē). In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle shows the link between pleasure and sensation: “That pleasure is produced in respect to each sense (aísthēsin) is plain; for we speak of sights and sounds as pleasant. It is also plain that it arises most of all when both the sense is at its best and it is active in reference to an object which corresponds” (Nic. Eth., 1174 b 26-30).

Pleasure and pain are not a consequence of emotions, but something inherent in them.19 In the emotions we perceive ourselves as related to the circumstances of the world and the people, and in this way we feel either pleasure or pain.

We have reviewed the notion of character and how pleasure and pain appear in the emotions. Up to this point it seems possible to see the psychological grounds of the pedagogic role of aesthetic pleasure, and the best example to analyze it is found in tragedy.

Tragedy as an example of pedagogic pleasure and pain through the emotions

In the Poetics Aristotle shows clearly the importance of imitation (mímēsis) in order to develop a good character: “Imitation (tó mimeîsthai) is natural to man from childhood, one of his advantages over the lower animals being this, that he is the most imitative creature in the world, and learns at first by imitation” (Poet., 1448 b 5-9).

Imitation (mímēis) is the first step in the process of education: human beings imitate actions from the examples in their own lives, and also from the examples in the works of imitation (works of arts). On the other hand, the perfect imitation of an action in a work of art makes its contemplation pleasurable,20 and tragedy is one of the most important poetic genres, especially in relation to ethics and education:21
Tragedy is the imitation of an action (mímēsis práxeōs) that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in language with pleasurable accessories (hedusménō), each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear (eléou kaì phóbou), wherewith to accomplish its catharsis (kátharsin) of such emotions (pathēmatōn). (Poet., 1449 b 24-28).
The contemplation of a tragic imitation arouses the feelings of pity and fear, and, as it has been shown, emotions are accompanied by pleasure or pain. One controversial point of this definition is how to understand the notion of catharsis. In which way could it be a “purgation” of the emotions? Is Aristotle referring to some kind of emotional purification, or is it some kind of release of those emotions (pity and fear)? Aristotle clearly gives catharsis a pedagogic role, and it seems interesting to consider the relation of pain and pleasure in this process of “purification”.

J. Lear suggests that it seems difficult to explain catharsis as an emotional purgation, because the virtuous person experiences catharsis in the tragedy, but their emotional dispositions are not impure.22 Lear understands catharsis as the relief that is experienced when someone sees that the other’s tragedy has already happened, and the cathartic pleasure would consist in that relief.

Nussbaum’s position seems to establish a balance between the cognitive and the emotional elements in the cathartic process: “Tragedy contributes to human self-understanding precisely through its exploration of the pitiable and the fearful. The way it carries out this explanatory task is by moving us to respond with these very emotions”.23 According to Nussbaum the goal of catharsis would be some kind of self-clarification regarding our position in the world. This self-clarification (which is not only intellectual) would be carried out by the emotions of pity and fear. These emotions are not only the tools of a merely intellectual clarification, but a piece of clarification concerning who we are, and thus valuable in itself.24

Leaving aside the question of whether catharsis is an intellectual or an affective purgation,25 it seems clear that tragedy is accompanied by some intellectual pleasure due to contemplation and that there are some emotional responses in the contemplation of tragedy that may as well be pleasant.

The distinction between emotional “purification” and intellectual “clarification” seems to be grounded on a deep opposition between emotions and reason. Perhaps it may be possible to understand catharsis in both ways: on the one hand, catharsis helps to arouse the proper feelings towards what is pitiful or fearful; on the other hand, catharsis allows an intellectual attitude towards what is valuable in human life. Emotions affect our judgements, and in this sense catharsis can have some emotional and intellectual effects. However, this is a difficult problem that would need deeper analysis. In order to see the pedagogic function of aesthetic pleasure it is interesting to notice that works of art –taking tragedy as a paradigm– can play a pedagogic role at the emotional and the intellectual levels.26

Aristotle is interested in showing how tragedy helps to develop emotional dispositions in the right way and its importance in leading a good life. The problem of catharsis as an “intellectual clarification” or “emotional rectification”27 seems difficult to solve and would need a deeper study. In order to understand the pedagogic function of aesthetic pleasure it can be said that there is some pleasurable experience in the process of contemplation of tragedy due to a self-understanding with respect to our position in the world,28 and there is some pleasure as well in the emotional responses that accompany that contemplation.

Catharsis helps to develop the emotions in the right direction, because the tragic representation arouses the feelings of pity and fear. Thus, a good tragedy has the power to arouse these emotions in the right moment29 and, in this way, catharsis helps to develop the right emotions regarding circumstances and actions.30 Although the problem of the function of catharsis still remains unsolved,31 it is possible to admit that catharsis has a pedagogic function (even though it may not be the primary one), and that it helps to develop the emotional dispositions in the right way. This pedagogic function is carried out with the emotions of pity and fear and some pleasurable experience linked with an activity of self-understanding. It is possible, then, to speak of emotional and intellectual pleasures in the contemplation of the work of art.

Aesthetic pleasure

What is aesthetic pleasure? Taking tragedy as a paradigm, Aristotle says that pleasure comes from the experience of pity and fear through the imitation. Catharsis has its own specific pleasure, because tragedy arouses some particular emotions regarding imitative representation.32

There is no pleasure in the real situations of pity and fear, but it appears in the contemplation of tragedy. How is this possible? Above all, these emotions are aroused by the contemplation of a representation (mímēsis), and not by the contemplation of a real situation,33 but it seems strange that there can be pleasure even when that which is represented is pitiful of fearful.34 In order to solve this problem it may be helpful to consider Aristotle’s doctrine of pleasure of the tenth book of Nicomachean Ethics:35
So long, then, as both the intelligible or sensible object and the discriminating or contemplative faculty are as they should be, the pleasure will be involved in the activity; for when both the passive and the active factor are unchanged and are related to each other in the same way, the same result naturally follows. (Nic. Eth., 1174 b 34-1175 a 4).
Pleasure appears in the perfect activity, when faculty and object are related to one another with perfection. Thus, the aesthetic pleasure of tragedy appears when there is harmony between the spectator’s emotional dispositions and that which is watched and contemplated.36 In the activity of watching a play, listening to a sonata or reading a book there is a special relationship between the observer’s knowledge and the work of art, brought about by the artist in order to produce a specific impression on the observer. There is some kind of intellectual pleasure in aesthetic contemplation due to the knowledge of the observer.

But this is not the only pleasure that appears in aesthetic contemplation: there is also delight in the hearing of sounds and melodies, and in the perception of colours and movements.37 It is possible to admit, then, with A. O. Rorty, that there are three kinds of pleasure in tragedy and the imitative arts.38 There is pleasure in the activities of the senses, which enjoy the harmony of the objects (dance, music, colours); there is also pleasure in the contemplation of imitation, because “it is also natural for all to delight in works of imitation” (Poet., 1448 b 9); and finally, there is an intellectual enjoyment due to the contemplation of a good story, a tragedy in which each of the sections and movements represent a complete action:

Through the unity of drama, we discover that a disjointed and even a disastrous sequence of events can be represented as ordered, with a logos that connects the temporal completion of an action with its logical closure. But the representations of the structured actions of tragic protagonists also represent us: in recognizing ourselves to be part of the activity of an ordered world, we take delight in self-knowledge, in the discovery that our lives form an ordered activity. When it is well structured and well performed, tragedy conjoins sensory, therapeutic and intellectual pleasures. Pleasure upon pleasure, pleasure within pleasure, producing pleasure.39

Aesthetic pleasure is due to the intellectual and emotional activity of contemplation. It is not only an activity of intellectual knowledge or an emotional response to some facts, but also a process of self-understanding in which both the intelligence40 and the emotional dispositions are involved, grounded on an intelligible structure carried out in a excellent performance.41

Pedagogic function of the aesthetic pleasure

As it has been shown, the purpose of tragedy is, above all, the enjoyment with the work of imitation, and this delight takes place at different levels. However, although the main goal of tragedy is not education but enjoyment, it seems clear that tragedy and music may be helpful and necessary in the process of education.

First of all, mimic arts bring ethic models as examples of virtuous and vicious behaviours, and they show the goodness and badness of these behaviours. This is a pedagogic function which Aristotle is aware of, basically because he brings it into his Ethics in examples of poems and works of arts of its time.42

The second point is that mimic arts help to produce the right emotional dispositions, precisely because music, in its broad sense, has the power to arouse emotions and moral feelings. A good character (ēthos) has developed the right emotional dispositions towards good and bad actions. Someone who does not feel displeasure when he gets drunk or who acts unjustly cannot be a virtuous person. Music, poetry and works of art can help to arouse the right emotions precisely because they have the power to show clearly, through imitation (mímēsis), the moral qualification of an action. Works of art, through the pleasure they produce, may be helpful in the process of learning. As it has been shown with the example of tragedy, aesthetic pleasure is produced through the emotions of pity and fear. Although the main goal of tragedy is the delight and amusement caused by of the work of art, this aesthetic pleasure helps in the contemplation of moral actions, which may be virtuous or wicked. It is through these emotional responses, accompanied by the use of intelligence, that we get a better knowledge of ourselves.

Conclusion

Music can help to arouse the right emotive dispositions in the way rhythms and melodies are harmonic, and it may be helpful to show the excellence of virtuous actions. In this sense, music can play a good role in establishing an appropriate character (ēthos). Considering the pleasures involved in the case of tragedy and their relationship with the emotional dispositions it can be said that aesthetic pleasure has an indirect pedagogic function. The main purpose of the works of imitation is the enjoyment in the contemplation of the plot. Within this delight, imitation involves other pleasures as well: the delight in the use of the senses and the experience of several emotions. Works of imitation, however, produce emotional alterations linked with moral judgements, and music and mimic arts may help to develop the right emotional dispositions towards good and bad actions. Aesthetic pleasure can develop a good character in the sense that it allows a process of self-understanding in which the intelligence and the emotional dispositions help to better understand human life. Imitations of the work of art can be not only a good way to present heroic actions with delight, but also a representation of a universal truth in human life, because in the aesthetic contemplation there is an emotional-intellectual process in which we understand better our position in the world and our situation towards the others.

Manuel María CRUZ ORTIZ DE LANDÁZURI
Universidad de Navarrra

_____________

1. For the Nicomachean Ethics I used Ross’s translation, (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1915) with some variations.
2. See M. Riedenauer, Orexis und Eupraxia. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2000, p. 240.
3. For the Politics I used B. Jowett’s translation (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1938).
4. See P. Chantraîne, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque : histoire des mots. Paris: Klincksieck, 1977, p. 716.
5. “At this point we must discuss the educative influence of Greek poetry in general, with special reference to Homer. Poetry can educate only when it expresses all the aesthetic and moral potentialities of mankind. But the relationship of the aesthetical and the moral element in poetry is not merely that of essential form and more or less accidental material. The educational content and the artistic form of a work of art affect each other reciprocally, and in fact spring from the same root. […] Poetry cannot be really educative unless it is rooted in the depths of the human soul, unless it embodies a moral belief, a high ardour of the spirit, a broad and compelling ideal of humanity. And the greatest of Greek poetry does more than show a cross-section of life taken at random. It tells the truth; but it chooses and presents its truth in accordance with a definite ideal”. W. Jaeger, Paidea. The Ideals of Greek Culture. Trans. G. Highet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 36.
6. I used F. M. Cornford’s tranlation, (Oxford University Press, 1941).
7. “Not only is music itself a movement on the sense level, but, as Aristotle indicates, it is also a principle of other movements: music is a movement which moves us”. M. B. Schoen-Nazz aro, “Plato and Aristotle on the Ends of Music”. Laval théologique et philosophique, 34, 1978, p. 267.
8. W. Jaeger, Paidea. The Ideals of Greek Culture. Trans. G. Highet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965, p. 13.
9. H. H. Joachim, Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985, p. 86: “The good action is that in which the right amount of pathos is embodied, in which the agent’s feeling and response to feeling are determined by the right proportion or system of proportions”.
10. See T. H. Irw in, “Beauty and Morality in Aristotle”. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. A Critical Guide, J. Miller (ed.). Cambridge: University Press, 2011, pp. 239-253.
11. See Nic. Eth. 1117 a 17; 1120 a 24-25.
12. See J. Owens, “The ΚΑΛΟΝ in the Aristotelian Ethics”. In Studies in Aristotle, D. J. O’Meara (ed.). Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 1981, pp. 261-278.
13. I used I. Bywater’s translation of Poetics (Oxford Clarendon Press, 1946) with some variations.
18. “A physicist would define an affection of the soul differently from a dialectician; the latter would define for example anger as the appetite for returning pain for pain, or something like that, while the former would define it as a boiling of the blood or warm substance surrounding the heart. The latter assigns the material conditions, the former the form or formulable essence” (De Anima, 403 a 29-403 b 2).
19. “The pleasure that accompanies completes the emotion, rather than supervenes upon it. We can say the following about the accompaniment of emotion by pleasure and pain. The pleasure or pain is part of the concept of the emotion; neither is separable from the emotion. For each emotion type there is a type of pleasure or pain peculiar to that emotion. They complete the emotion”. S. R. Leighton, “Aristotle and the Emotions”. Phronesis, 27, 1982, p. 157.
20. H. Koller points out that the word mímēsis can be understood as “imitation”, but its nuclear meaning lies in the dance. See H. Koller, Die Mimesis in der Antike. Berna: A. Francke, 1954, p. 119. In this way, mímēsis in tragedy and music must be understood as representation through the dance.
21. “It may be suspected that the playwright and the moralist, using the same word “action” are nevertheless dealing with different things. It may be suspected, that is, that Aristotle’s statements about actions in tragedies are irrelevant to actions in life. But the very fact that he is using the same word in the Poetics and in the Ethics makes this improbable; and freely referring to various tragedies in the Ethics, he shows that he does not recognize a gap between the two genres: what tragedy represents and Ethics investigates is the same sort of thing. Indeed, tragedy would be irrelevant otherwise”. R. Bittner, “One Action”. In Essays on Aristotle’s Poetics, A. O. Rorty (ed.). Princeton: University Press, 1992, p. 98.
22. See J. Lear, “Katharsis”. Phronesis, 33, 1988, p. 302.
23. M. Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 390.
24. See M. Nussbaum, “Tragedy and Self-Sufficiency”. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 10, 1992, p. 150.
31. See E. Schaper, “Aristotle’s Catharsis and Aesthetic Pleasure”. Philosophical Quarterly, 18, 1968, p. 131.
32. “Die Tragödie auslöst eine spezifische Lustform im Zuschauer: die Lustform, die entsteht, wenn die Tragödie durch die Elementarempfindungen von Schauder und Jammer hindurch (di’héleou kaì phóbou) im Endeffekt die mit Lust verbundene befreiende Empfindung der Ausscheidung dieser und verwandter Affekte herbeiführt womit wir den Aristotelischen Tragödiensatz in unserem und, wie wir denken, im zutreffenden Sinne wiedergegeben hätten”. W. Schadewaldt, “Furcht und Mitleid?”. Hermes, 83, 1955, pp. 160-1.
33. “The Poetics also specifically connects catharsis with mimesis: the pleasure proper to tragedy is «the pleasure that comes from pity and fear by means of representation» (1453 b 12). Aristotle distinguishes between feeling pity and fear because of real events (which is not pleasant), and feeling these emotions because of representation (which is pleasant)”. R. Janko, “From Catharsis to the Aristotelian Mean”. In Essays on Aristotle’s Poetics, A. O. Rorty (ed.), Princeton: University Press, 1992, p. 342.
34. See E. Schaper, “Aristotle’s Catharsis and Aesthetic Pleasure”. Philosophical Quarterly, 18, 1968, pp. 138-139.
35. As Halliwell points out, Aristotle’s mature view on pleasure seems to fit with the psychology of pleasure of the Poetics: “The outline cognitive theory of aesthetic pleasure in Poetics 4 accords with Aristotle’s mature view that pleasure involves the natural exercise of human faculties. In the experience of mimetic works any element of purely sensual pleasure must be subordinate to the processes of recognition and learning which constitute the proper response to mimesis”. S. Halliwell, Aristotle’s Poetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998 (1986), p. 74.
36. “In the case of a work of art, the observer is establishing a significant connection between the presentation he sees (picture, play, etc.) and some original of which he has knowledge from his own experience. […] Satisfaction comes from the successful integration between the artist’s way of presenting a given situation or object and the observer’s power to interpret the artist’s procedures”. H. L. Tracy, “Aristotle on Aesthetic Pleasure”. Classical Philology, 41, 1946, p. 44.
37. See W. Welsch, Aisthesis. Grundzüge und Perspektiven der aristotelischen Sinneslehre- Stuttgart: Klett-Cota, 1987, p. 392.
38. A similar distinction of pleasures involved in the tragedy can be found in S. Halliwell, Aristotle’s Poetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998 (1986), pp. 66-75.
39. A. O. Rorty, “The Psychology of Aristotelian Tragedy”. In Essays on Aristotle’s Poetics, A. O. Rorty (ed.), Princeton: University Press, 1992, p. 16.
40.“Instead of perceiving pitiable and fearful events with pain alone, we come to understand them as intelligible structures, reflecting the human condition”. E. Belfiore, Tragic Pleasures. Princeton: University Press, 1992, p. 347.
41. “The pleasure of those who experience mimetic works is a response to the intelligible structure imposed on his material by the artist’s rational capacity”. S. Halliwell, Aristotle’s Poetics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998 (1986), p. 81.
42. See Nic. Eth., 1095 b 10-13; 1106 b 34; 1109 a 32; 1109 b 10-11; 1110 a 26-27; 1111 a 8-14; 1116 a 22-35; 1136 a 13-14; 1145 a 20-22; 1151 b 16-1; 1167 a 31-34; 1170 a 10-13.