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ManipulationTheory and Practice$
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Christian Coons and Michael Weber

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199338207

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199338207.001.0001

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Manipulation as an Aesthetic Flaw

Manipulation as an Aesthetic Flaw

Chapter:
(p.135) 6 Manipulation as an Aesthetic Flaw
Source:
Manipulation
Author(s):

Claudia Mills

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199338207.003.0007

This chapter examines manipulation not as a moral but as an aesthetic flaw. Aesthetic manipulation differs from standard cases of interpersonal manipulation in that it is not intended to influence behavior; it can’t be condemned for subverting rationality; and it is generally overt and accepted voluntarily. The chapter argues that a work of art is manipulative if it causes its audience to have an emotional reaction that is unwarranted. We judge emotional responses to a piece of fiction to be appropriate not by considering the events it depicts but, rather, by considering its artistic quality. A manipulative artwork tries to elicit—and often succeeds in eliciting—an emotional response unwarranted by the quality of the work. Thus, the view expressed here supports Robert Noggle’s account of manipulation as an attempt to elicit a response that violates certain “norms and ideals.”

Keywords:   art, aesthetic, manipulation, emotion, ideals, Robert Noggle

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