Affects, doctrine of
(2,653 words)

1. Concept

The doctrine of affects is concerned with the workings of external reality on the human psyche, and, in turn, on the human body. From Greek Antiquity until the late 18th century, it was one of the key aesthetic theories of the fine arts, especially rhetoric, the dramatic arts and poetics, music, and the fine arts. The doctrine subjects the arts to a certain level of ethical and social claims, especially the claim, going back to Aristotle’s thoughts regarding catharsis, that the arts affect the emotions.


2. Art

From t…

Cite this page
Rehm, Ulrich and Stollberg, Arne, “Affects, doctrine of”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Executive editor of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy. Consulted online on 21 February 2018 <>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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