Du Bos' paradox

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


What is now generally known as the paradox of art and negative affect was identified as a paradox by the Abbé Jean-Baptiste Du Bos in 1719. In his attempt to explain how people can admire and enjoy representational works that ‘afflict’ them, Du Bos claims that such representations give rise to ‘artificial’ emotions, provide a pleasurable relief from boredom, and offer us epistemic, artistic, and moral rewards. The paper delineates Du Bos’ proposal, considers the question of Du Bos’ originality, and discusses Hume’s brief comments on Du Bos and Fontenelle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-406
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013


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