Sunday, October 30, 2005
Furtak - Solomon's 'In Defense of Sentimentality'
"One of the chief aims of the book is to defend the importance of being emotional: against those who harbor distrust toward particular emotions or toward emotion in general, Solomon mounts a counterattack meant to demonstrate that emotional sensitivity is an ethical virtue, valuable in itself and essential to any meaningful human existence. This goal is especially prominent in the first and last essays of the collection, which (according to the author's preface) serve to lay out the concerns of the volume as a whole. "In Defense of Sentimentality" and "On Kitsch and Sentimentality," the two chapters in question, are united in their denial that the term "sentimentality" ought to have negative or pejorative connotations. This goes against the practice of using the word to describe emotions that are inauthentic, facile, excessive, self-deceived, or distorted. According to Solomon, this critical use of the word "sentimentality" is nothing but a convenient way of expressing a more comprehensive bias against emotion as such, and especially against a class of emotions variably described as the "sweet" or "tender" sentiments. He puts forward the remarkably strong claim that, in spite of prevailing opinion to the contrary, "there is nothing wrong with sentimentality"." - NDPR.