Analyzing the ancient Greek point of view concerning anger, shame and justice and a very modern one, one can see, that anger has a regulative function, but shame does as well. Anger puts the other in his place, thereby regulating hierarchies. Shame regulates the social relations of recognition. And both emotions also have an evaluative function, because anger evaluates a situation with regard to a humiliation; shame, with regard to a misdemeanor. In addition, attention has to be paid to the (...) correct molding of these emotions and the correct ways of using them in rearing to be good or just (i.e., in personality formation. (shrink)
Many philosophers sharply distinguish emotions from feelings. Emotions are not feelings, and having an emotion does not necessitate having some feeling, they think. In this paper I reply to a set of arguments people use sharply to distinguish emotions from feelings. In response to these people, I endorse and defend a hedonic theory of emotion that avoids various anti-feeling objections. Proponents of this hedonic theory analyze an emotion by reference to forms of cognition (e.g., thought, belief, judgment) and a pleasant (...) or an unpleasant feeling. Given this theory,emotions are feelings in some important sense of "feelings", and these feelings are identified as particular emotions by reference to their hedonic character and the cognitive state that causes the hedonic feelings. (shrink)
Emotions often misfire. We sometimes fear innocuous things, such as spiders or mice, and we do so even if we firmly believe that they are innocuous. This is true of all of us, and not only of phobics, who can be considered to suffer from extreme manifestations of a common tendency. We also feel too little or even sometimes no fear at all with respect to very fearsome things, and we do so even if we believe that they are fearsome. (...) Indeed, instead of shunning fearsome things, we might be attracted to them. Emotions that seem more thought-involving, such as shame, guilt or jealousy, can also misfire. You can be ashamed of your big ears even though we can agree that there is nothing shameful in having big ears, and even though you judge that having big ears does not warrant shame. And of course, it is also possible to experience too little or even no shame at all with respect to something that is really shameful. Many of these cases involve a conflict between one’s emotion and one’s evaluative judgement. Emotions that are thus conflicting with judgement can be called ‘recalcitrant emotions’. The question I am interested in is whether or not recalcitrant emotions amount to emotional illusions, that is, whether or not these cases are sufficiently similar to perceptual illusions to justify the claim that they fall under the same general heading. The answer to this depends on what emotions are. For instance, the view that emotions are evaluative judgments makes it difficult to make room for the claim that emotional errors are perceptual illusions. Fearing an innocuous spider would simply amount to making the error of judging that the spider is fearsome while it is in fact innocuous. This might involve an illusion of some sort, but it certainly does not amount to anything like a perceptual illusion. In this chapter, I argue that recalcitrant emotions are a kind of perceptual illusion.. (shrink)
Philosophers since Aristotle have explored emotion, and the study of emotion has always been essential to the love of wisdom. In recent years Anglo-American philosophers have rediscovered and placed new emphasis on this very old discipline. The view that emotions are ripe for philosophical analysis has been supported by a considerable number of excellent publications. In this volume, Robert Solomon brings together some of the best Anglo-American philosophers now writing on the philosophy of emotion, with chapters from philosophers who have (...) distinguished themselves in the field of emotion research and have interdisciplinary interests, particularly in the social and biological sciences. The reader will find a lively variety of positions on topics such as the nature of emotion, the category of "emotion," the rationality of emotions, the relationship between an emotion and its expression, the relationship between emotion, motivation, and action, the biological nature versus social construction of emotion, the role of the body in emotion, the extent of freedom and our control of emotions, the relationship between emotion and value, and the very nature and warrant of theories of emotion. In addition, this book acknowledges that it is impossible to study the emotions today without engaging with contemporary psychology and the neurosciences, and moreover engages them with zeal. Thus the essays included here should appeal to a broad spectrum of emotion researchers in the various theoretical, experimental, and clinical branches of psychology, in addition to theorists in philosophy, philosophical psychology, moral psychology, and cognitive science, the social sciences, and literary theory. (shrink)
This discussion of pride, shame, and guilt centers on the beliefs involved in the experience of any of these emotions. Through a detailed study, the author demonstrates how these beliefs are alike--in that they are all directed towards the self--and how they differ. The experience of these three emotions are illustrated by examples taken from English literature. These concrete cases supply a context for study and indicate the complexity of the situations in which these emotions usually occur.
Emotional cognitivists, such as the Stoics and Aristotle, hold that emotions have cognitive content, whereas noncognitivists, like Plato and Kant, believe the emotions to be nonrational bodily movements. I ask, taking Martha Nussbaum's account of cognitivism, what if Kant had become convinced of a cognitive theory of the emotions, what changes would this require in his moral philosophy. Surprisingly, since this represents a radical shift in his psychology, it changes almost nothing. I show that Kant's account of continence, virtue, the (...) evaluation of inclinations, and his argument for morality taking the form of categorical imperatives, are immune to such a change, despite the prima facie deep connection (on the received view) between these and his moral psychology. (shrink)
Descartes argued that the passions of the soul were immediately felt in the body, as the animal spirits, affected by the movement of the pineal gland, spread through the body. In Leibniz the effect of emotions in the body is a different question as he did not allow the direct interaction between the mind and the body, although maintaining a psychophysical parallelism between them. -/- In general, he avoids discussing emotions in bodily terms, saying that general inclinations, passions, pleasures and (...) pains belong only to the mind or to the soul (NE II, xxi, §72). He is also keen to point out that our passions derive mostly from our bodies. However, like Spinoza (Ethics III, prop. XI, Scholium) he thought that some emotions such as joy can produce pleasures which can be described also in bodily terms. For example, in a short memoir Felicity he says that music can be a pleasure for the ears and symmetry can be a pleasure for the eyes. These more intellectual emotions are actions in the sense that they represent perfection emanating from their source, the absolutely perfect being, that is, God. The feeling of perfection may produce a state of well-being which concerns both the soul and the body. -/- In my paper I will trace instances of Leibniz’s remarks on how these kind of emotions affect the body. I will also discuss the different ways the body gives rise to passions in the soul. My primary source is Nouveaux essais, book II, chapter xx and xxi, but I will also discuss various other writings by Leibniz. (shrink)
Not Passion's Slave is a collection of Solomon's most significant essay-length publications on the nature of emotions over the past twenty-five years. He develops two essential themes throughout the volume: firstly, he presents a "cognitive" theory of emotions in which emotions are construed primarily as evaluative judgments; secondly, he proposes an "existentialist" perspective in which he defends the idea that we are responsible for our emotions and, in a limited sense, "choose" them. The final section presents his current philosophical position (...) on the seeming "passivity" of the passions. Ultimately, Solomon advocates the idea that we have control over, and are essentially responsible for, the emotional and existential quality of our lives. (shrink)
The topic of this study is a notion of empathy that is common in philosophy and in the behavioral sciences. It is here referred to as ‘the notion of empathy as emotional sharing’, and it is characterized in terms of three ideas. If a person, S, has empathy with respect to an emotion of another person, O, then (i) S experiences an emotion that is similar to an emotion that O is currently having, (ii) S’s emotion is caused, in a (...) particular way, by the state of O or by S’s entertaining an idea of the state or situation of O, and (iii) S experiences this emotion in a way that does not entail that S is in the corresponding emotional state. The aim of the study is to clarify this notion of empathy by clarifying these three ideas and by tracing the history of their development in philosophy. -/- The study consists of two parts. Part one contains a short and selective account of the history in Western philosophy of the notion of empathy as emotional sharing. In chapter 2 Spinoza’s theory of imitation of affects and Hume’s theory of sympathy are presented. It is argued that these theories only exemplify the second idea characteristic of the notion of empathy as emotional sharing. Chapter 3 contains presentations of Adam Smith’s theory of sympathy, and Schopenhauer’s theory of compassion. These theories are shown to exemplify the second and the third idea. In chapter 4 there are presentations of Edith Stein’s description of Einfühlung, and Max Scheler’s account of empathy and fellow-feeling. It is shown that these accounts contain explicit specifications of the third idea, and it is argued that they also exemplify the second idea. -/- In part two, the three ideas are further clarified and the notion of empathy as emotional sharing is defined. Chapter 5 contains a discussion of the main contemporary philosophical analyses of empathy. Three different views are distinguished: one that construes empathetic emotions as emotional states, one that construes them as imagined emotions, and one that construes them as off-line emotions. The first two views are criticized and rejected. The third is accepted and further developed in chapter 6, which contains a general analysis of the emotions. A distinction is made between two ways of experiencing an emotion, and it is argued that it is possible to have the affective experience characteristic of a particular kind of emotional state without being in that kind of state. In chapter 7, a definition of ‘empathy’ is proposed. This definition contains specifications of the three ideas characteristic of the notion of empathy as emotional sharing, and it shows both how the empathizer’s emotion resembles the emotion of the empathee, and how this emotion is caused and experienced. (shrink)
The phenomena of human consciousness and subjectivity are explored from the perspective of affect-logic, a comprehensive meta-theory of the interactions between emotion and cognition based mainly on cognitive and social psychology, psychopathology, neurobiology Piaget?s genetic epistemology, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary science. According to this theory, overt or covert affective-cognitive interactions are obligatorily present in all mental activity, seemingly ?neutral? thinking included. Emotions continually exert numerous so-called operator-effects, both linear and nonlinear, on attention, on memory and on comprehensive thought, or logic in (...) a broad sense. They deeply ?affect? also consciousness and subjectivity, as showed by the analysis of four crucially involved phenomena, namely (1) attention, (2) abstraction, (3) language, and (4) the prevailing affective state. The conclusion is that neither consciousness nor subjectiovity can be adequately understood without fully considering their emotional aspects. (shrink)
This book is the result of a uniquely productive union of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and anthropology, and explores the complexity and importance of emotions. Michael Stocker places emotions at the very center of human identity, life and value. He shows how important are the social and emotional contexts of ethical dilemmas and inner conflicts, and he challenges philosophical theories that try to overgeneralize and over simplify by leaving out the particulars of each situation. This book will interest a broad range of (...) readers across the disciplines of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
This thesis addresses two questions. One concerns the metaphysics of emotions and asks what kinds of mental states emotions are. The other asks how the metaphysics of emotions bears on first and third-personal knowledge of emotions. There are two prevailing views on the nature of emotions. They are the perception and cognitive views. The perception view argues that emotions are bodily feelings. The cognitive view, by contrast, contends that emotions are some sorts of evaluative judgments. I show that both views (...) provide inadequate accounts of the nature of emotions. The perception view fails to do justice to the fact that emotions may not involve any bodily feeling. The cognitive view, by contrast, cannot account for the fact that emotions are states that adult humans have in common with infants and animals. On the basis of these criticisms, I put forward an alternative account of emotions. This involves five main arguments. The first is that emotions are enduring non-episodic dispositions that may or may not manifest themselves in experiential episodes such as emotional feelings and behaviour episodes such as expressions. The second argument is that emotional feelings are perceptions of specific bodily changes brought about by emotions. These feelings serve as clues as to what kinds of emotions the subject has. The third argument is that expressions are observable manifestations of emotions in virtue of which emotions can be perceived and subsequently known, directly and non-inferentially, by other people. The fourth argument is that when someone has an emotion without feeling it, she can still come to know it by believing true ascriptions that other people make about the emotion they perceive in her expression. The fifth argument is that full knowledge of emotions requires knowledge of the emotion objects. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that one of the functions of the perceptual system is to detect other people’s emotions when they are expressed in the face. I support this view by developing two separate but interdependent accounts. The first says that facial expressions of emotions carry information about the emotions that produced them, and about some of their properties. The second says that the visual system functions to extract the information that expressions carry about emotions.
Passion and Action is an exploration of the role of the passions in seventeenth-century thought. Susan James offers fresh readings of a broad range of thinkers, including such canonical figures as Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke, and shows that a full understanding of their philosophies must take account of their interpretations of our affective life. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, knowledge, and action, and provides a historical context for (...) burgeoning current debates about the emotions. (shrink)
Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...) other than human beings. Drawing on this criticism, Deigh develops an alternative theory of the intentionality of emotions on which the education of emotions explains how human emotions, which innately contain no evaluative thought, come to have evaluative judgments as their principal cognitive component. The second group of five essays challenge the idea of the voluntary as essential to understanding moral responsibility, moral commitment, political obligation, and other moral and political phenomena that have traditionally been thought to depend on people's will. Each of these studies focuses on a different aspect of our common moral and political life and shows, contrary to conventional opinion, that it does not depend on voluntary action or the exercise of a will constituted solely by rational thought. Together, the essays in this collection represent an effort to shift our understanding of the phenomena traditionally studied in moral and political philosophy from that of their being products of reason and will, operating independently of feeling and sentiment to that of their being manifestations of the work of emotion. (shrink)
Moods and emotions are sometimes thought to be counterexamples to intentionalism, the view that a mental state's phenomenal features are exhausted by its representational features. The problem is that moods and emotions are accompanied by phenomenal experiences that do not seem to be adequately accounted for by any of their plausibly represented contents. This paper develops and defends an intentionalist view of the phenomenal character of moods and emotions on which (1) emotions and some moods represent intentional objects as having (...) sui generis affective properties, which happen to be uninstantiated, and (2) at least some moods represent affective properties not bound to any objects. (shrink)
In recent years, several minimalist accounts of joint action have been offered (e.g. Tollefsen Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35:75–97, 2005; Sebanz et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(6): 234–1246, 2006; Vesper et al. Neural Networks 23 (8/9): 998–1003, 2010), which seek to address some of the shortcomings of classical accounts. Minimalist accounts seek to reduce the cognitive complexity demanded by classical accounts either by leaving out shared intentions or by characterizing them in a way that (...) does not demand common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Moreover, they propose models of the actual factors facilitating online coordination of movements. The present proposal aims to enrich a minimalist framework by showing how shared emotions can facilitate coordination without presupposing common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Shared emotions are defined for the purposes of this paper as affective states that fulfill two minimal criteria: (a) they are expressed (verbally or otherwise) by one person; and (b) the expression is perceived (consciously or unconsciously) by another person. Various ways in which the fulfillment of (a) and (b) can lead to effects that function as coordinating factors in joint action are distinguished and discussed. (shrink)
Can emotions be rational or are they necessarily irrational? Are emotions universally shared states? Or are they socio-cultural constructions? Are emotions perceptions of some kind? Since the publication of Jerry Fodor’s The Modularity of Mind (1983), a new question about the philosophy of emotions has emerged: are emotions modular? A positive answer to this question would mean, minimally, that emotions are cognitive capacities that can be explained in terms of mental components that are functionally dissociable from other parts of the (...) mind. But depending on the kind of modules that are considered, be they Chomskyan, Fodorian, Darwinian, or some other kind, the answer to this question might well be different. The twelve new essays in this volume address the question of whether emotions, or at least some of them, are, in some sense of the word, modules, and explore how this could potentially influence our understanding of emotional phenomena. (shrink)
Emotions are the focus of intense debate both in contemporary philosophy and psychology, and increasingly also in the history of ideas. Simo Knuuttila presents a comprehensive survey of philosophical theories of emotion from Plato to Renaissance times, combining rigorous philosophical analysis with careful historical reconstruction. The first part of the book covers the conceptions of Plato and Aristotle and later ancient views from Stoicism to Neoplatonism and, in addition, their reception and transformation by early Christian thinkers from Clement and Origen (...) to Augustine and Cassian. Knuuttila then proceeds to a discussion of ancient themes in medieval thought, and of new medieval conceptions, codified in the so-called faculty psychology from Avicenna to Aquinas, in thirteenth century taxonomies, and in the voluntarist approach of Duns Scotus, William Ockham, and their followers. Philosophers, classicists, historians of philosophy, historians of psychology, and anyone interested in emotion will find much to stimulate them in this fascinating book. (shrink)
What does it mean for emotion to be well-constituted? What distinguishes good feeling from (just) feeling good? Is there such a distinction at all? The answer to these questions becomes clearer if we realize that for an emotion to be all it seems, it must be responsible as well as responsive to what it is about. It may be that good feeling depends on feeling truly if we are to be really moved, moved in the way that avoids the need (...) for constant, fretful replenishment and reinforcement. To be sound, emotions may need to be capable of genuineness, depth, and other kinds of integrity. And that, in turn, may require certain virtues of mind, such as truthfulness, temperateness, and even courage, that are more familiar at the level of action. The governing aim of this book is to demonstrate that there can be problems of a structural kind with the adequacy of emotions and the emotional life. (shrink)
It is often said that one cannot be held responsible for something one cannot help. Indeed, Ted Honderich, Paul Edwards, and C. A. Campbell have suggested that it is obtuse, barbaric, or a solecism to think otherwise 1. Thus, if (contra Sartre and others) one cannot help feeling one's emotions, one is not responsible for one's emotions. In this paper I will argue otherwise; one is responsible for one's emotions, even if one cannot help feeling them. 2 In particular, I (...) will define a rather special sense of the word 'responsible', one that is closely tied to our ordinary notion of moral worth. We are, in that special sense of the word, 'responsible' for our emotions. I will then argue that my limited sense of 'responsibility' is sufficient to warrant morale valuation of individuals, and can be used as the basis for a theory of punishment. (shrink)
Today there is a thriving 'emotions industry' to which philosophers, psychologists and neuroscientists are contributing. Yet until two centuries ago 'the emotions' did not exist. In this path-breaking study Thomas Dixon shows how, during the nineteenth century, the emotions came into being as a distinct psychological category, replacing existing categories such as appetites, passions, sentiments and affections. By examining medieval and eighteenth-century theological psychologies and placing Charles Darwin and William James within a broader and more complex nineteenth-century setting, Thomas Dixon (...) argues that this domination by one single descriptive category is not healthy. Overinclusivity of 'the emotions' hampers attempts to argue with any subtlety about the enormous range of mental states and stances of which humans are capable. This book is an important contribution to the debate about emotion and rationality which has preoccupied western thinkers throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has implications for contemporary debates. (shrink)
The emotions are at the centre of our lives and, for better or worse, imbue them with much of their significance. The philosophical problems stirred up by the existence of the emotions, over which many great philosophers of the past have laboured, revolve around attempts to understand what this significance amounts to. Are emotions feelings, thoughts, or experiences? If they are experiences, what are they experiences of? Are emotions rational? In what sense do emotions give meaning to what surrounds us? (...) -/- The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction introduces and explores these questions in a clear and accessible way. The authors discuss the following key topics: -/- the diversity and unity of the emotions the relations between emotion, belief and desire the nature of values the relations between emotions and perceptions emotions viewed as evaluative attitudes the link between emotions and evaluative knowledge the nature of moods, sentiments, and character traits. -/- Including chapter summaries and guides to further reading, The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction is an ideal starting point for any philosopher or student studying the emotions. It will also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as psychology and the social sciences. (shrink)
Vacillating and mixed emotional experiences are often difficult to explore and understand because they confront the limits of our language's ability to capture private experiences in extreme or abnormal circumstances. In this paper, we build upon remarks by Wittgenstein (1953) to present a conceptual-discursive perspective based on naturalistic examples of individuals vacillating between pride and other emotions. This perspective is used to show how relevant emotion theories contain conceptual errors of the sort identified by Wittgenstein. The “assembled reminders” of shifts (...) between pride and other emotions are presented in contrast to analyses that focus on people's identification of causes of emotions, an approach which leads to theoretical speculation about underlying appraisal set changes or discussion of the empirical justification of cognitive ontology. We bypass a direct confrontation on these issues by examining how people's talk about the content of vacillating and mixed emotional experiences (i.e., aspect shifts) augments a shared “emotionology” with creative expressions and poetic comparisons. This last point is illustrated by the emotional instability experienced by individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Support for the conceptual-discursive perspective is provided by the success of a particular therapeutic approach, the Conversational Model, in ameliorating the developmental disruption of BPD by encouraging participation in empathic conversations. We conclude that a conceptual-discursive perspective undermines the cognitive appraisal “picture” of vacillating emotions and adds to our understanding. (shrink)
I investigate the normative status of an unexamined category of emotions: ‘lyrical’ emotions about the transience of things. Lyrical emotions are often accused of sentimentality—a charge that expresses the idea that they are unfitting responses to their objects. However, when we test the merits of that charge using the standard model of emotion evaluation, a surprising problem emerges: it turns out that we cannot make normative distinctions between episodes of such feelings. Instead, it seems that lyrical emotions are always fitting. (...) Although this claim is counterintuitive, the price of denying it is to hold that such emotions are never fitting—an equally strange result. If this is correct, then the commonplace discourse of sentimentality surrounding lyrical emotions lacks normative moorings. (shrink)
Many believe that values are crucially dependent on emotions. This paper focuses on epistemic aspects of the putative link between emotions and value by asking two related questions. First, how exactly are emotions supposed to latch onto or track values? And second, how well suited are emotions to detecting or learning about values? To answer the first question, the paper develops the heuristics-model of emotions. This approach models emotions as sui generis heuristics of value. The empirical plausibility of the heuristics-model (...) is demonstrated using evidence from experimental psychology, evolutionary anthropology and neuroscience. The model is used then to answer the second question. If emotions are indeed heuristics of value, then it follows that emotions can be an important and useful source of information about value. However, emotions will not be epistemically superior in the sense of being the highest court of appeal for the justification of axiological beliefs (the latter view is referred to as the Epistemic Dependence Thesis, or EDT for short). The paper applies the heuristics-model to celebrated cases from the philosophy of emotions literature arguing that while the heuristics-model offers a good explanation of typical patterns of emotional reactions in such cases, advocates of EDT will have a hard time accounting for these patterns. The paper also shows that the conclusions drawn from special cases generalize. The paper ends by arguing that skepticism about the metaethical significance of emotions is compatible with a commitment to the importance of emotions in first-order normative ethics. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the work of the unorthodox Stoic Posidonius - as reported to us by Galen - can be seen as making an interesting contribution to contemporary debates about the nature of emotion. Richard Sorabji has already argued that Posidonius' contribution highlights the weaknesses in some well-known contemporary forms of cognitivism. Here I argue that Posidonius might be seen as advocating a theory of the emotions which sees them as being, in at least some cases, two-level (...) intentional phenomena. One level involves judgments, just as the orthodox Stoic account does. But Posidonius thinks that emotions must also include an element sometimes translated as an "irrational tug". I suggest that we see the "irrational tug" as involving a second level of intentional, but non-conceptual representation. This view satisfies two desiderata: it is a view which would have been available to Posidonius and which is compatible with the views reported to us; and it is a view which is independently attractive. It also makes Posidonius' position less far removed from that of orthodox Stoics than it might otherwise do, while remaining genuinely innovative. (shrink)
This article discusses the contribution of the Capability Approach within the theoretical framework of moral philosophy, political theory and political philosophy. Starting from delineating the contours to properly interpret this contemporary political doctrine, the A. recognises its primary roots in the human emotional development, as outlined by the American political philosopher Martha Nussbaum. Then the A. offers a comparative review of the Nussbaumean conception of emotions in Upheavals of Thought as well as in the most recent contributions on the topic. (...) The concepts of fear and security prompted us to the discussion, a posteriori from the cognitive development and the ‘securisation’ of human rights as promoted by education (especially in lifelong learning of children and women). (shrink)
The paper seeks to analyse how two domestic courts decided criminal trials under circumstances of emotional mobilisation and political stress. Decisions from Argentina after 1983 and Romania after Ceausescu’s dictatorship illustrate how citizens’ affects influence courts’ choices within penal cases. Both cases show how the judiciary had to enter a dialogue with resentful and indignant claims for redress. However, while the Argentinean court filtered emotions through the strainer of equal respect and thus pushed the cause of democratic justice ahead, the (...) Romanian case serves as a cautionary tale about how not to correct injustices through criminal law. These two cases provide us with important lessons about the obstacles, but also the opportunities associated with public emotions during periods of radical political transformation. (shrink)
This unique collection of articles on emotion by Wittgensteinian philosophers provides a fresh perspective on the questions framing the current philosophical and scientific debates about emotions and offers significant insights into the role of emotions for understanding interpersonal relations and the relation between emotion and ethics.
Experimental methods and conceptual confusion : philosophy, science, and what emotions really are -- To 'make our voices resonate' or 'to be silent'? : shame as fundamental ontology -- Emotion, cognition, and world -- Shame and world.
This paper seeks to contribute to the field of transitional justice by adding new insights about the role that trials of victimizers can play within democratization processes. The main argument is that criminal proceedings affirming the value of equal respect and concern for both victims and abusers can contribute to the socialization of citizens’ politically relevant emotions. More precisely, using law constructively to engage public resentment and indignation can be successful to the extent that legality is not sacrificed. In order (...) to locate this argument within the rich literature on the pedagogical functions of transitional trials this paper enters a dialogue with three emblematic texts. Lawrence Douglas’s narrative jurisprudence approach, Judith Shklar’s critique of the limits of legalism, and Marc Osiel’s interest in ‘discursive solidarity’ represent starting points for a more complex conceptualization of the relationship between democracy, law and emotional education within transformational periods. (shrink)
Life, on a day to day basis, is a sequence of emotional states: hope, disappointment, irritation, anger, affection, envy, pride, embarrassment, joy, sadness and many more. We know intuitively that these states express deep things about our character and our view of the world. But what are emotions and why are they so important to us? In one of the most extensive investigations of the emotions ever published, Robert Roberts develops a novel conception of what emotions are and then applies (...) it to a large range of types of emotion and related phenomena. In so doing he lays the foundations for a deeper understanding of our evaluative judgments, our actions, our personal relationships and our fundamental well-being. Aimed principally at philosophers and psychologists, this book will certainly be accessible to readers in other disciplines such as religion and anthropology. (shrink)
In one of the most frequently quoted passages in the history of emotion research, William James (1884: 189f) announces that emotions occur when the perception of an exciting fact causes a collection of bodily changes, and “our feeling of the same changes as they occur IS the emotion.” The same idea occurred to Carl Lange (1984) around the same time. These authors were not the first to draw a link between the emotions and the body. Indeed, this had been a (...) central theme of Descartes’ exquisite opus, The Passions of the Soul. But James and Lange wanted to push things farther than most, suggesting that emotions are exhausted by bodily changes or perceptions thereof. Other kinds of mental episodes might co-occur when we have an emotion state. For James, an emotion follows an exciting perception. But the exciting perception is not a part of the emotion it excited (Ellsworth, 1994, reads James differently, but see Reisenzein et al.’s 1995 convincing response). The majority of contemporary emotion researchers, especially those in philosophy, find this suggestion completely untenable. Surely, emotions involve something more. At their core, emotions are more like judgments or thoughts, than perceptions. They evaluate, assess, or appraise. Emotions are amendable to rational assessment; they report, correctly or incorrectly, on how we are faring in the world. Within this general consensus, there is a further debate about whether the body should figure into a theory of emotions at all. Perhaps James and Lange offer a theory that is not merely incomplete, but entirely off base. Where they view judgments as contingent and non-constitutive concomitants of emotions, it is actually bodily perceptions that deserve this demotion. Perhaps emotions can be, and often are, disembodied in some fundamental sense. (shrink)
This paper attempts to connect recent cross-disciplinary treatments of the cognitive or rational significance of emotions with work in contemporary philosophy identifying an evaluative propositional content of emotions. An emphasis on the perspectival nature of emotional evaluations allows for a notion of emotional rationality that does not seem to be available on alternative accounts.
I first began working on emotions as a project in philosophy of action, without particular reference to moral philosophy. My thought was that emotions have a distinctive role to play in rationality that tends to be underappreciated by philosophers. Bringing this out was meant to counter a widespread tendency to treat emotions as “blind” causes of action (for the general picture, see Greenspan 2009.) Instead, I thought that emotions could be seen as providing reasons. I took their significance as moral (...) motivators to be hard to miss. Of course, philosophers and others sometimes rightly insist that we need to put emotions aside in order to formulate satisfying moral principles, but I would have been surprised to hear anyone deny that moral motivation typically rests on emotion and that we need that basis in early life in order to get to the stage of acting on moral principles. However, I have since come to think that none of the main philosophical approaches to ethics fully appreciates the significance of emotion, in part because of a misconception of practical reasons. Reasons for action are commonly taken as prima facie requirements, so that moral reasons would yield requirements just insofar as they outweigh competing reasons such as reasons of simple self-interest. Someone who recognizes a moral reason as holding “all things considered” would be irrational not to act on it. But I argue in recent work (starting with Greenspan 2005) that even all-things-considered reasons may in one sense be optional: a rational agent can legitimately “discount” them, cancelling their deliberative weight and their force for motivation. What keeps us from setting aside reasons of the sort that underlie moral.. (shrink)
The experimental study of the emotions as pursued by LeDoux and Damasio is argued to be flawed as a consequence of the inadequate conceptual framework inherited from the work of William James. This paper clarifes the conceptual structures necessary for any discussion of the emotions. Emotions are distinguished from appetites and other non-emotional feelings, as well as from agitations and moods. Emotional perturbations are distinguished from emotional attitudes and motives. The causes of an emotion are differentiated from the objects of (...) an emotion, and the objects of an emotion are distinguished into formal and material ones. The links between emotions and reasons for the emotion, for associated beliefs and for action are explored, as well as the connection between emotion and care or concern, and between emotion and fantasy. The behavioural criteria for the ascription of an emotion are clarified. In the light of this conceptual network, Damasio’s theory of the emotions is subjected to critical scrutiny and found wanting. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the modularity of the emotions. In a general methodological section, we discuss the empirical basis for the postulation of modularity. Then we discuss how certain modules -- the emotions in particular -- decompose into distinct anatomical and functional parts.
The current state of knowledge in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and behavioral ecology allows a fairly robust characterization of at least some, so-called ‘basic emotions’ - short-lived emotional responses with homologues in other vertebrates. Philosophers, however are understandably more focused on the complex emotion episodes that figure in folk-psychological narratives about mental life, episodes such as the evolving jealousy and anger of a person in an unraveling sexual relationship. One of the most pressing issues for the philosophy of emotion is the (...) relationship between basic emotions and these complex emotion episodes. In this paper, I add to the list of existing, not necessarily incompatible, proposals concerning the relationship between basic emotions and complex emotions. I analyze the writings of ‘transactional’ psychologists of emotion, particularly those who see their work as a contribution to behavioral ecology, and offer a view of the basic emotion that focuses as much on their interpersonal functions as on their intrapersonal functions. Locating basic emotions and their evolutionary development in a context of processes of social interaction, I suggest, provides a way to integrate our knowledge of basic emotions into an understanding of the larger emotional episodes that have more obvious implications for philosophical disciplines such as moral psychology. (shrink)
Neo-sentmentalism is the view that to judge that something has an evaluative property is to judge that some affective or emotional response is appropriate with respect to it. The difficulty in assessing neo-sentimentalism is that it allows for radically different versions. My aim is to spell out what I take to be its most plausible version. I distinguish between a normative version, which takes the concepts of appropriateness to be normative, and a descriptive version, which claims that appropriateness in emotions (...) is a matter of correspondence to evaluative facts. I argue that the latter version can satisfy the normativity requirement that follows from Moore's Open Question Argument, that it is superior to the former with respect to the explanatory role of values, and with respect to the Wrong Kind of Reason Objection. Finally, I argue that the circularity that is involved is not vicious: understood epistemically, neo-sentimentalism remains instructive. (shrink)
What is their relation to practical rationality? Are they roots of our identity or threats to our autonomy? This volume is born out of the conviction that philosophy provides a distinctive approach to these problems.
Can consideration of the emotions help to solve the problem of other minds? Intuitively, it should. We often think of emotions as public: as observable in the body, face, and voice of others. Perhaps you can simply see another's disgust or anger, say, in her demeanour and expression; or hear the sadness clearly in his voice. Publicity of..
This article seeks to examine the ways in which courts of constitutional review have tried to deal with public sentiments within societies emerging from large-scale oppression and conflict. A comparative analysis of judicial review decisions from post-communist Hungary, post-apartheid South Africa and post-dictatorial Argentina is meant to show-case how judges have, more or less successfully, recognised and pedagogically engaged social negative feelings of resentment and indignation towards former victimisers and beneficiaries of violence. Thus, the article hopes to pave the way (...) for more in-depth research on one of the most neglected dimensions of post-conflict societies: public affect. (shrink)
Perspectives on emotion -- Epistemological and methodological perspectives -- method, research question and hypotheses -- The independent variables -- Results: self-perceived competence in oral and written language -- Results: communicating feelings (in general) -- Results: communicating anger and swearing -- Results: attitudes towards languages and perception of emotionality of swearwords -- Results: foreign language anxiety -- Results: code-switching and emotion. -- Concluding remarks.
P.S. Greenspan uses the treatment of moral dilemmas as the basis for an alternative view of the structure of ethics and its relation to human psychology. In its treatment of the role of emotion in ethics the argument of the book outlines a new way of packing motivational force into moral meaning that allows for a socially based version of moral realism.
We live our lives through our emotions, writes Robert Solomon, and it is our emotions that give our lives meaning. What interests or fascinates us, who we love, what angers us, what moves us, what bores us--all of this defines us, gives us character, constitutes who we are. In True to Our Feelings, Solomon illuminates the rich life of the emotions--why we don't really understand them, what they really are, and how they make us human and give meaning to life. (...) Emotions have recently become a highly fashionable area of research in the sciences, with brain imaging uncovering valuable clues as to how we experience our feelings. But while Solomon provides a guide to this cutting-edge research, as well as to what others--philosophers and psychologists--have said on the subject, he also emphasizes the personal and ethical character of our emotions. He shows that emotions are not something that happen to us, nor are they irrational in the literal sense--rather, they are judgements we make about the world, and they are strategies for living in it. Fear, anger, love, guilt, jealousy, compassion--they are all essential to our values, to living happily, healthily, and well. Solomon highlights some of the dramatic ways that emotions fit into our ethics and our sense of the good life, how we can make our emotional lives more coherent with our values and be more "true to our feelings" and cultivate emotional integrity. The story of our lives is the story of our passions. We fall in love, we are gripped by scientific curiosity and religious fervor, we fear death and grieve for others, we humble ourselves in envy, jealousy, and resentment. In this remarkable book, Robert Solomon shares his fascination with the emotions and illuminates our passions in an exciting new way. (shrink)
Abstract: The ‘feeling theory of emotion’ holds that emotions are to be identified with feelings. An objection commonly made to that theory of emotion has it that emotions cannot be feelings only, as emotions have intentional objects. Jack does not just feel fear, but he feels fear-of-something. To explain this property of emotion we will have to ascribe to emotion a representational structure, and feelings do not have the sought after representational structure. In this paper I seek to defend the (...) feeling theory of emotion against the challenge from the object-directed emotions. (shrink)
Emotions, I will argue, involve two kinds of feeling: bodily feeling and feeling towards. Both are intentional, in the sense of being directed towards an object. Bodily feelings are directed towards the condition of one's body, although they can reveal truths about the world beyond the bounds of one's body – that, for example, there is something dangerous nearby. Feelings towards are directed towards the object of the emotion – a thing or a person, a state of affairs, an action (...) or an event; such emotional feelings involve a special way of thinking of the object of the emotion, and I draw an analogy with Frank Jackson's well-known knowledge argument to show this. Finally, I try to show that, even if materialism is true, the phenomenology of emotional feelings, as described from a personal perspective, cannot be captured using only the theoretical concepts available for the impersonal stance of the sciences. (shrink)
The phenomenology of emotions has traditionally been understood in terms of bodily sensations they involve. This is a mistake. We should instead understand their phenomenology in terms of their distinctively evaluative intentionality. Emotions are essentially affective modes of response to the ways our circumstances come to matter to us, and so they are ways of being pleased or pained by those circumstances. Making sense of the intentionality and phenomenology of emotions in this way requires rejecting traditional understandings of intentionality and (...) so coming to see emotions as a distinctive and irreducible class of mental states lying at the intersection of intentionality, phenomenology, and motivation. (shrink)
The moral status of emotions has recently become the focus of various philosophical investigations. Certain emotions that have traditionally been considered as negative, such as envy, jealousy, pleasure-in-others'-misfortune, and pride, have been defended. Some traditionally "negative" emotions have even been declared to be moral emotions. In this brief paper, I suggest two basic criteria according to which an emotion might be considered moral, and I then examine whether envy, anger, and resentment are moral emotions.
Philosophers often call emotions appropriate or inappropriate. What is meant by such talk? In one sense, explicated in this paper, to call an emotion appropriate is to say that the emotion is fitting: it accurately presents its object as having certain evaluative features. For instance, envy might be thought appropriate when one's rival has something good which one lacks. But someone might grant that a circumstance has these features, yet deny that envy is appropriate, on the grounds that it is (...) wrong to be envious. These two senses of `appropriate' have much less in common than philosophers have supposed. Indeed, the distinction between propriety and correctness is crucial to understanding the distinctive role of the emotions in ethics. We argue here that an emotion can be fitting despite being wrong to feel, and that various philosophical arguments are guilty of a systematic error which we term the moralistic fallacy. (shrink)
Elaborating on the notions that humans possess different modalities of decision-making and that these are often influenced by moral considerations, we conducted an experimental investigation of the Trolley Problem. We presented the participants with two standard scenarios (‹lever’ and ‹stranger’) either in the usual or in reversed order. We observe that responses to the lever scenario, which result from (moral) reasoning, are affected by our manipulation; whereas responses to the stranger scenario, triggered by moral emotions, are unaffected. Furthermore, when asked (...) to express general moral opinions on the themes of the Trolley Problem, about half of the participants reveal some inconsistency with the responses they had previously given. (shrink)
There are two major perspectives on the origin of emotions. According to one, emotions are the products of natural selection. They are evolved adaptations, best understood using the explanatory tools of evolutionary psychology. According to the other, emotions are socially constructed, and they vary across cultural boundaries. There is evidence supporting both perspectives. In light of this, some have argued both approaches are right. The standard strategy for compromise is to say that some emotions are evolved and others are constructed. (...) The evolved emotions are sometimes given the label “basic,” and there is considerable agreement about a handful of emotions in this category. My goal here is to challenge all of these perspectives. I don’t think we should adopt a globally evolutionary approach, nor indulge the radical view that emotions derive entirely from us. I am equally dissatisfied with approaches that attempt to please Darwinians and constructivists by dividing emotions into two separate classes. I will defend another kind of ecumenicalism. Every emotion that we have a name for is the product of both nature and nurture. Emotions are evolved and constructed. The dichotomy between the two approaches cannot be maintained. This thesis will require making some claims that would be regarded as surprising to many emotion researchers. First, while there is a difference between basic emotions and nonbasic emotions, it is not a structural difference. All emotions are fundamentally alike. Second, the standard list of basic emotions, though by many to be universal across cultures, are not basic after all. We don’t have names for the basic emotions. All emotions that we talk about are culturally informed. And finally, this concession to constructivism does not imply that emotions are cognitive in any sense. Emotions are perceptual and embodied. They are gut reactions, and they are not unique to our species.. (shrink)
In an earlier paper (Elster, 1989 a), I discussed the relation between rationality and social norms. Although I did mention the role of the emotions in sustaining social norms, I did not focus explicitly on the relation between rationality and the emotions. That relation is the main topic of the present paper, with social norms in a subsidiary part.
Prinz claims that empirical work on emotions and moral judgement can help us resolve longstanding metaethical disputes in favour of simple sentimentalism. I argue that the empirical evidence he marshals does not have the metaethical implications he claims: the studies purporting to show that having an emotion is sufficient for making a moral judgement are tendentiously described. We are entitled to ascribe competence with moral concepts to experimental subjects only if we suppose that they would withdraw their moral judgement on (...) learning that they were fully explained by hypnotically induced disgust. Genuine moral judgements must be reason-responsive. To capture the reason-responsiveness of moral judgement, we must turn to either neo-sentimentalism or to a non-sentimentalist metaethics, either of which is fully compatible with the empirical evidence Prinz cites. (shrink)
A number of emotion theorists hold that emotions are perceptions of value. In this paper I say why they are wrong. I claim that in the case of emotion there is nothing that can provide the perceptual modality that is needed if the perceptual theory is to succeed (where by ‘perceptual modality’ I mean the particular manner in which something is perceived). I argue that the five sensory modalities are not possible candidates for providing us with ‘emotional perception’. But I (...) also say why the usual candidate offered – namely feeling or affectivity – does not give us the sought-after perceptual modality. I conclude that as there seems to be nothing else that can provide the needed perceptual modality, we should reject the perceptual theory of emotion.1. (shrink)
Under the general heading of what we might loosely call emotional states, a familiar distinction can be drawn between emotions (strictly so-called) and moods. In order to judge under which of these headings a subject’s emotional episode falls, we advance a question of the form: What is the subject’s emotion of or about? In some cases (for example fear, sadness, and anger) the provision of an answer is straightforward: the subject is afraid of the loose tiger, or sad about England’s (...) poor performance in the World Cup, or angry with her errant child. Although the ways we find natural to talk in such situations can alter (afraid of, sad about, angry with, and so on), in each case the emotion has what Ronald de Sousa, following Wittgenstein, calls a target—“an actual particular to which that emotion relates.” (de Sousa, 1987, p.116). (shrink)
Philosophers have traditionally tried to understand the emotions and their bearing on rationality and moral motivation by assimilating emotion to other categories such as sensation, judgment, and desire. In recent years, moving away from the Cartesian identification of emotions with particular sensations, many philosophers have embraced "judgmentalism," the view that emotions are essentially evaluative judgments or beliefs, with only an accidental connection to the feelings and impulses we intuitively take as "emotional." Anger, for instance, either is or entails the belief (...) that one has been wronged and that the source of injury or offense deserves punishment. (shrink)
Philosophical and empirical moral psychologists claim that emotions are both necessary and sufficient for moral judgment. The aim of this paper is to assess the evidence in favor of both claims and to show how a moderate rationalist position about moral judgment can be defended nonetheless. The experimental evidence for both the necessity- and the sufficiency-thesis concerning the connection between emotional reactions and moral judgment is presented. I argue that a rationalist about moral judgment can be happy to accept the (...) necessity-thesis. My argument draws on the idea that emotions play the same role for moral judgment that perceptions play for ordinary judgments about the external world. I develop a rationalist interpretation of the sufficiency-thesis and show that it can successfully account for the available empirical evidence. The general idea is that the rationalist can accept the claim that emotional reactions are sufficient for moral judgment just in case a subject’s emotional reaction towards an action in question causes the judgment in a way that can be reflectively endorsed under conditions of full information and rationality. This idea is spelled out in some detail and it is argued that a moral agent is entitled to her endorsement if the way she arrives at her judgment reliably leads to correct moral beliefs, and that this reliability can be established if the subject’s emotional reaction picks up on the morally relevant aspects of the situation. (shrink)
This contribution seeks to explicitly articulate two directions of a continuous phenomenal field: (1) the genesis of intersubjectivity in its bodily basis (both organic and phylogenetic); and (2) the re-investment of the organic basis (both bodily and cellular) as a self-transcendence. We hope to recast the debate about the explanatory gap by suggesting a new way to approach the mind-body and Leib/Körper problems: with a heart-centered model instead of a brain-centered model. By asking how the physiological dynamics of heart and (...) breath can become constitutive of a subjective (qua intersubjective) point of view, we give an account of the specific circular and systemic dynamic that we call “the rainbow of emotions.” This dynamic, we argue, is composed of both structural and experiential components and better evidences the seamless, non-dual articulation between the organic and the experiential. (shrink)
Emotions can be the subject of moral judgments; they can also constitute the basis for moral judgments. The apparent circularity which arises if we accept both of these claims is the central topic of this paper: how can emotions be both judge and party in the moral court? The answer I offer regards all emotions as potentially relevant to ethics, rather than singling out a privileged set of moral emotions. It relies on taking a moderate position both on the question (...) of the naturalness of emotions and on that of their objectivity as revealers of value: emotions are neither simply natural nor socially constructed, and they apprehend objective values, but those values are multidimensional and relative to human realities. The axiological position I defend jettisons the usual foundations for ethical judgments, and grounds these judgments instead on a rationally informed reflective equilibrium of comprehensive emotional attitudes, tempered with a dose of irony. (shrink)
This article will examine how the notion of emotional authenticity is intertwined with the notions of naturalness and artificiality in the context of the recent debates about ‘neuro-enhancement’ and ‘neuro-psychopharmacology.’ In the philosophy of mind, the concept of authenticity plays a key role in the discussion of the emotions. There is a widely held intuition that an artificial means will always lead to an inauthentic result. This article, however, proposes that artificial substances do not necessarily result in inauthentic emotions. The (...) literature provided by the philosophy of mind on this subject usually resorts to thought experiments. On the other hand, the recent literature in applied ethics on ‘enhancement’ provides good reasons to include real world examples. Such case studies reveal that some psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants actually cause people to undergo experiences of authenticity, making them feel ‘like themselves’ for the first time in their lives. Beginning with these accounts, this article suggests three non-naturalist standards for emotions: the authenticity standard, the rationality standard, and the coherence standard. It argues that the authenticity standard is not always the only valid one, but that the other two ways of assessing emotions are also valid, and that they can even have repercussions on the felt authenticity of emotions. In conclusion, it sketches some of the normative implications if not ethical intricacies that accompany the enhancement of emotions. (shrink)
This paper discusses the interrelations between three aspects of human emotions: their intentionality, their expressivity and their moral significance. It distinguishes three kinds of philosophical views of emotions: the cognitivist (classically held by the Stoics), the emotivist which reduces emotions to non-intentional bodily sensations and physiological states, and the moral phenomenologist, the latter being held by Annette Baier, whose work is the focus of the discussion. Her view, which represents an original development of ideas found in Descartes and Hume, avoids (...) the reductionism of congitivist and emotivist accounts. The paper gives special attention to her notion of 'deep' objects of emotions and to her account of the expressivity of emotions, arguing that while the first is problematic, the second is a significant contribution to our understanding of the role of emotions in our moral lives. (shrink)
In the last 10 years, several authors including Griffiths and Matthen have employed classificatory principles from biology to argue for a radical revision in the way that we individuate psychological traits. Arguing that the fundamental basis for classification of traits in biology is that of ‘homology’ (similarity due to common descent) rather than ‘analogy’, or ‘shared function’, and that psychological traits are a special case of biological traits, they maintain that psychological categories should be individuated primarily by relations of homology (...) rather than in terms of shared function. This poses a direct challenge to the dominant philosophical view of how to define psychological categories, viz., ‘functionalism’. Although the implications of this position extend to all psychological traits, the debate has centered around ‘emotion’ as an example of a psychological category ripe for reinterpretation within this new framework of classification. I address arguments by Griffiths that emotions should be divided into at least two distinct classes, basic emotions and higher cognitive emotions, and that these two classes require radically different theories to explain them. Griffiths argues that while basic emotions in humans are homologous to the corresponding states in other animals, higher cognitive emotions are dependent on mental capacities unique to humans, and are therefore not homologous to basic emotions. Using the example of shame, I argue that (a) many emotions that are commonly classified as being higher cognitive emotions actually correspond to certain basic emotions, and that (b) the “higher cognitive forms” of these emotions are best seen as being homologous to their basic forms. (shrink)
Peter Goldie opens the path to a deeper understanding of our emotional lives through a lucid philosophical exploration of this surprisingly neglected topic. Drawing on philosophy, literature and science, Goldie considers the roles of culture and evolution in the development of our emotional capabilities. He examines the links between emotion, mood, and character, and places the emotions in the context of consciousness, thought, feeling, and imagination. He explains how it is that we are able to make sense of our own (...) and other people's emotions, and how we can explain the very human things which emotions lead us to do. He argues that it is only from the personal point of view that thoughts, reasons, feelings, and actions come into view. This fascinating book gives an accessible but penetrating exploration of an important but mysterious subject. Any reader interested in emotion and its role in understanding our lives will find much to think about here. (shrink)