[ExI] Kripke is in trouble!

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon May 13 07:42:41 UTC 2013

On 12/05/2013 21:31, Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Instead, I think Lovecraft was more direct and insidious than that. 
> Lovecraft bypasses all but the briefest descriptions of the fearful 
> triggers.  Instead, he jumps directly into describing what fear itself 
> feels like to the protagonist. He spends more time directly describing 
> what the protagonist is feeling in response to the fear than 
> describing what is triggering that fear.  I believe that this is a 
> more direct communication to the reader, telling the reader exactly 
> what to feel and how to feel, than the indirect communication used by 
> other authors to try to trigger those feelings in the reader.  I 
> believe this is what makes Lovecraft a true genius of the genre.

Triggering mirror neurons and other sympathy systems, no doubt.

I think this is true, especially for simple core emotions - fear, lust, 
anger and so on - where it would be enough to produce enough of a 
similar state. More complicated emotions that involve particular content 
(hate at some character, religious feeling, appetite for rice, etc.) 
require far more footwork of the author, who now needs to both provide 
the content and descriptions of how the character experiences the 
emotion. If the reader can identify well with the character and their 
context this might be easier since they will help doing the work, but 
again this requires earlier good writing.

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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