Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Philosophy

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 261 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jason D'Cruz

Committee Members

PD Magnus, Stephen North


Aesthetics, Ethics, Moral Psychology, Philosophy, Horror, Fear, Paradox, Emotions and cognition

Subject Categories



The paradox of horror poses the question, how is it possible for us to find fear pleasurable? Emotions of fear are traditionally seen as unpleasant, and viewed as that which ought to be avoided when possible. Yet individuals seek out and derive pleasure from works of horror, a genre with the explicit goal of producing fear. How is this possible, and ought we to find such works a source of pleasure? The goals of the project are twofold. First, to present a unique solution to the horror paradox. Second, to address the moral status of macabre fascination. The first section of the project requires an analysis of prior attempts at dissolving the paradox. Cognitivist solutions, which argue pleasure is separate from the fear response, and integrationism, which purports to dissolve the paradox by arguing that fear can be pleasurable. In addition to analyzing the theories, this section will present a number of objections that will illustrate their shortcomings. The project will establish and defend an original solution, based upon an expansion of Berys Gaut’s cognitive-evaluative theory.

Included in

Philosophy Commons