David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1 (3):313-326 (2002)
Emotion is always someone's. An emotion is also, at least typically, about something and witnesses the value, or lack of value, in it. Some emotions, such as shame and pride, are actually about the self that has them. But self-concern can insinuate itself into every corner of the emotional life. This occurs when the centre of concern in emotion drifts from the ostensible objects of focus (I was sorry to hear your bad news) to the emotion itself, to the drama of it, to its feel, to the fact that one is having it. In an unobvious way, the world becomes backdrop, the self the omnipresent protagonist. The apparent ordering, the natural ordering of subject and object in emotion, is inverted. Emotion undergoes a kind of commodification. Yet this is paradoxical. For it isolates the self and subverts the communication and uptake of emotion by others. Narcissism is inimical to the social character of emotion.
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