This Husserlian transcendental-phenomenological investigation of interkinaesthetic affectivity first clarifies the sense of affectivity that is at stake here, then shows how Husserl’s distinctive approach to kinaesthetic experience provides evidential access to the interkinaesthetic field. After describing several structures of interkinaesthetic-affective experience, I indicate how a Husserlian critique of the presupposition that we are “psychophysical” entities might suggest a more inclusive approach to a biosocial plenum that includes all metabolic life.
Neu's work is splendid. In addition to offering wonderfully illuminating characterizations of various emotions, it helps show that these individual characterizations, rather than an overall characterization of emotions or affectivity, have always been Neu's main concern. Nonetheless he is concerned with specific instances of, and often the general nature of, affectivity: what differentiates mere thoughts, desires, and values from emotions where the complex is affectively charged. I argue that his accounts of affectivity do not succeed — in (...) that they can be satisfied by what is affectless. (shrink)
Emotion is traditionally described as a phenomenon that dominates the subject because one does not choose to be angry, sad, or happy. However, would it be totally absurd to conceive emotion as behaviour and a manifestation of the spontaneity and liberty of consciousness? In his short text, Esquisse d''une theorie des émotions, Sartre proposes a phenomenological description of this psychological phenomenon. He distinguishes between constituted affectivity, which gives rise to emotions, and an original affectivity lacking intentionality, and tied (...) closely to bodily processes. It appears that emotion is first and foremost a magical attitude toward the world, an attitude freely adopted by the subject. Against what is often written, this thesis doesn''t mean that emotion would be a pure comedy but only that, in spite of appearances, this behaviour isn''t a matter of what Descartes calls soul''s passions. (shrink)
This paper examines dispositional sources of workplace guanxi and the mediating role of workplace guanxi on the affectivity and job satisfaction relationship. Data were collected from 808 respondents in multiple industries in a city in China’s northeast. The study found that both positive affectivity and negative affectivity have an effect on supervisor–subordinate guanxi and co-worker guanxi, which supports the proposition that workplace guanxi has a dispositional source. Supervisor–subordinate guanxi has a positive relationship with job satisfaction, although co-worker (...) guanxi is not significantly related to job satisfaction. The research also found a mediating role of supervisor–subordinate guanxi on the affectivity and job satisfaction relationship, which suggests that supervisor–subordinate guanxi can extend the influence of affectivity to job satisfaction. Taken together, these results suggest that in a high power distance country such as China, supervisor–subordinate guanxi plays a more important role than co-worker guanxi in influencing job satisfaction. Theoretically, this study suggests the as yet unexplored possibility of dispositional antecedents of workplace guanxi and the role of workplace guanxi on the relationship between dispositions and workplace attitudes such as job satisfaction. (shrink)
This paper explores the notion of sensing (Empfinden) as developed by Erwin Straus. It argues that the notion of sensing is at the center of Strauss's thought about animal and human experience. Straus's originality consists in approaching sensory experience from an existential point of view. Sensing is not a mode of knowing. Sensing is distinguished from perceiving but is still a mode of relation to exteriority, and is situated on the side of what is usually called affectivity. At the (...) same time Strauss redefines the field of that which is commonly characterized as affectivity. Sensing designates a stratum that lies deeper than the division between perceiving and feeling (s'éprouver), a self-affection that is not an alternative to the opening upon exteriority. It corresponds to a mode of immediate communication, to a sympathy with the world that does not entail any thematic dimension, but does not fall back into a blind fusion. Rather, sensing is something in the living being's mode of moving that is irreducible, and that includes a tending toward something. (shrink)
When we compare Henry and Levinas, we stumble upon a difficulty. Henry tries to reduce transcendence to immanence; Levinas, on the contrary, strives to call immance into question and to lend a new dignity to transcendence. Hence, the two thinkers seem to be diametrically opposed to one another. Yet, if one does not limit oneself to such an overall view, one finds some similarities between them. There is an affinity between the two approaches which results from the fact that both (...) thinkers establish a narrow relationship between originally passive affectivity and the selfhood of the self. Henry and Levinas are, despite all their differences, united in their efforts to ground selfhood on passivity and affectivity. Assuredly, it remains a question whether or not an originally passive affectivity is really capable of founding selfhood. Some doubt arises here from the observation that affectivity tends to anonymity. However, the observation that affectivity is marked by a tendency to anonymity has not only a negative and critical significance; it also characterizes affective states and arousals in a positive way, since one can maintain that the self could not be a ?self? unless it were constantly confronted with a tendency to anonymity. (shrink)
Since fully covering such a topic in the short space imparted to this paper is an impossible task, I have chosen to focus on three philosophers: Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre. Of the three, only the latter was undoubtedly an existentialist ⎯ Heidegger explicitly rejected the categorisation (in the Letter on Humanism), and there is disagreement among commentators about Nietzsche’s status1. However, they have two major common points which justify my focusing on them: firstly, they uphold the primacy of existence over (...) essence. Against the rationalist trend prevalent until the end of the XVIIIth Century, which saw human nature as determined a priori (as rational), all three authors consider human beings as living, self-interpreting entities, whose understanding of themselves is dependent on specific cultural and historical conditions. Given that this self-understanding is taken as constitutive of what it means to be human, it becomes impossible to define the essence of man independently of (let alone prior to) his existence. Secondly (and consequently), they reject the idea that philosophy can start from the study of man as a detached, disembodied consciousness primarily bent on knowing the world ⎯ or even that such a consciousness exists, except as a fiction propagated by rationalism2. Man is viewed as an embodied being, whose reason and cognitive powers are only the visible part of a much deeper and wider engagement with the world. In turn, this rejection of the primacy of rationality and of consciousness explains the central part played by affectivity in our three authors’ works. In all its forms3, affectivity is strongly tied to the body (although existentialist thinkers hold that it is neither identical to nor determined by physical reactions4): once the importance of embodiment has been recognised, an analysis of affectivity becomes necessary to understand the ways in which human beings relate both to themselves and to the world. Whereas the rationalist tradition mostly rejected affectivity5, either on moral grounds (as emotions interfere with self-mastery) or for epistemological reasons (because they cloud the clarity of mind supposedly required by knowledge), Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre insist on rehabilitating it, mostly for two reasons: firstly, as it is constitutive of what it means to be human, affectivity just cannot be set aside ⎯ so the rationalist ideal to do away with emotions is unmasked as an illusion, the roots of which need to be investigated.. (shrink)
This essay investigates a particular form of “affection” that has been neglected by the phenomenological tradition. This particular phenomenon is often referred to as the vibe, vibrations, or some variation thereof. This essay rearticulates “the vibe” as bodily emanation: human beings emanate feeling that is experienced by and through our bodies. My study of bodily emanation begins with Edmund Husserl’s notion of affectivity and then moves to Eugene T. Gendlin’s notion of the sentient body. This discussion enables my own (...) argument: Our bodies do not simply respond to the world in a sentient fashion, but also solicit sentience from one another. This solicitation of sentience is the basis of bodily emanation. I explicate bodily emanation through two realms of experience: the pre-conscious and the conscious. The first realm designates the manner in which our bodies summon emanation from one another in a continuous, multilateral fashion. Such preconscious solicitation precedes our conscious control and recognition. The second realm designates our ability to project willfully and direct particular vibes for particular purposes. This latter realm is what most people think of when they refer to “the vibe.” In general, this essay provides a detailed account of a particular phenomenon that most of us experience, but which we do not fully consider. (shrink)
I argue that the inverted spectrum hypothesis is nota possibility we should take seriously. The principlereason is that if someone's qualia were inverted inthe specified manner there is reason to believe thephenomenal difference would manifest itself inbehaviour. This is so for two reasons. First, Isuggest that qualia, including phenomenal colours, arepartly constituted by an affective component whichwould be inverted along with the connected qualia. Theresulting affective inversions will, given theintimate connections that exist between emotions andbehaviour, likely manifest themselves in behaviour, (...) inwhich case the underlying phenomenal differences canbe functionally captured. Second, I argue that othersense modalities lack the structural featuresnecessary for undetectable inversion which, because oftheir analogy with colour qualia, weakens theplausibility of such an inversion in the original caseof vision. (shrink)
Christian Lotz shows in this book that Husserl's Phenomenology and its key concept--subjectivity--is based on a concrete anthropological structure, such as self-affection and the bodily experience of the other. The analysis of the sensual sphere and the lived Body forces Husserl to an ongoing correction of his strong methodological assumptions. Subjectivity turns out to be an ambivalent phenomenon, as the subject is unable to fully present itself to itself, and therefore is forced to allow for a fundamental non-transparency in itself.
At last scholars are recognizing that the great generative architectonics of idealism’s account of self-consciousness would demand or imply, from a genealogical perspective, an unconscious. Yet, between Foucaultian inspired analyses of madness in Hegel, and Slavoj Zizek’s Lacanian readings of the unconscious in the work of F. W. J. Schelling, there has been essentially no mention of J. G. Fichte. As an attempt to redress this failure, I will begin to sketch Fichte’s own unique articulation of an unconscious (Unbewusst) by (...) highlighting three unique aspects or perspectives: (a) the idea of a pre-conscious, self-affective self; (b) the notion of the self-seeing eye; and (c) his own first hand involvement with dynamic psychiatry’s phenomena of magnetic rapport. This exposition of the unconscious in Fichte has two distinct ends. First, it stands as one of the first sustained expositions of the unconscious in the work of Fichte. This analysis which places Fichte’s work in the broader genealogy of dynamic psychiatry, however, also stands as a critique of the Freudian psychoanalytic model of the unconscious. (shrink)
This article argues that Schelling, contrary to the traditional view which situates him as the mediator between Fichte and Hegel, the link from the absolute activity of the ego to the absolute activity constitutive of transcendental idealism, offered one of the first attempts to ground philosophy in a fundamental passivity. Schelling’s Erlangen lectures (1820-21) in particular provide a penetrating critique of idealistic modes of thought. I will show that these lectures, along with Schelling’s late philosophy as a whole, elaborate consciousness (...) as what is most problematic instead of the firm foundation. Instead of beginning with transcendental consciousness as its terminus a quo he views it as the terminus ad quem, namely, that which is most in need of explanation and justification. Consciousness arises in passivity thought as a preconscious affection. I will first outline the idea of passivity through an exposition of Entsetzung. Next, I will analyze Schelling’s notion of the World Law or law of either/or as the impetus to freedom, that which sets freedom free. I will then show how this manner of thought circumvents traditional metaphysical thinking, i.e., the so-called philosophy of presence. Schelling offers not a will to power but freedom as the will to or not to power, as that which can or can also not be. Lastly, I will briefly outline some of the ramifications of this for Schelling’s philosophical anthropology. (shrink)
Although Charles Peirce is generally not interpreted primarily as a social-political philosopher, several commentators on Peirce have contended, along with Lara Trout, that his philosophy “provides significant resources to add to contemporary discussions of social criticism” (11). Trout’s bold, creative, and lively volume, however, is perhaps the first to develop that point systematically and in depth. By reading Peirce as a social critic, Trout argues, we allow the various strands of his thought to come together more fully and, at the (...) same time, see more clearly the blind spots in his thinking: “social criticism helps Peirce be more Peircean” (15). Trout makes a very compelling case (although this .. (shrink)
In this book Lara Trout provides provocative but problematic food for thought. She crafts an exegesis of Peirce's concepts of evolutionary agapism and critical commonsensism as resources for a theory of social justice aligned with contemporary race and gender theories. Conforming Peirce's tenets to her own agenda, she develops a radical politics of societal inclusiveness by way of analyzing and critiquing putative "nonconscious biases" in the "background" beliefs of broad segments of the contemporary populace. Unfortunately, this steers Peirce's ship on (...) an unrecognizable course. Trout's strategic word, straight out of the Foucaultian-Frankfurtian play-book, is "hegemonic," which she repeatedly applies to "white .. (shrink)
Michel Henry has renewed our understanding of life as immanent affectivity: life cannot be reduced to what can be made visible; it is – as immanent and as affectivity – radically invisible. However, if life (la vie) is radically immanent, the living (le vivant ) has nonetheless to relate to the world: it has to exist . But, since existence requires and includes intentional components, human reality – being both living and existing – implies that immanence and intentionality (...) be related to one another, even though they are conceived at the same time as radically distinct modes of appearing in Henry’s phenomenology of life. Following this line of thought, we are faced with at least two questions: First, what reality does immanent appearing have for us as existing and intentional beings? And second, from an ethical point of view, what does Henry’s opposition of “barbarism” and “second birth” mean in terms of existence? As will be shown, it follows from the standpoint of radical phenomenology itself that immanent affectivity has reality for us only insofar as it finds its expression or translation in the realm of the intentionally visible and that, with regard to ethics, both “barbarism” and its overcoming in “second birth” are effective only insofar as they are mediated through representations. Henry’s critique of representation and intentionality needs therefore to be revised, especially in the field of practical philosophy, where the essential role played by intentionality has to be acknowledged even by radical phenomenology. (shrink)
This paper integrates personal narratives with the methods of phenomenology in order to draw some general conclusions about ‘what it means’ and ‘what it feels like’ to be depressed. The analysis has three parts. First, it explores the ways in which depression disrupts everyday experiences of spatial orientation and motility. This disruption makes it difficult for the person to move and perform basic functional tasks, resulting in a collapse or contraction of the life-world. Second, it illustrates how depression creates a (...) situational atmosphere of emotional indifference that reduces the person’s ability to qualitatively distinguish what matters in his or her life because nothing stands out as significant or important anymore. In this regard, depression is distinct from other feelings because it is not directed towards particular objects or situations but to the world as a whole. Finally, the paper examines how depression diminishes the possibility for ‘self-creation’ or ‘self-making’. Restricted by the illness, depression becomes something of a destiny, preventing the person from being open and free to access a range of alternative self-interpretations, identities, and possible ways of being-in-the-world. (shrink)
We find suggestive evidence that emotional balance has an impact on probability weighting incremental to demographic controls. Specifically, low negative affectivity (implying high emotional balance) tends to be a characteristic of those whose probability weighting functions exhibit lower curvature and more neutral elevation. In other words, emotional balance seems to push people in the direction of normative expected utility theory.
Pragmatism, with its insistence that philosophy attend to practical affairs of what Charles Sanders Peirce called "vital importance," has always faced a unique double bind. If it spent too much time on philosophical speculation, it made no difference to practical affairs. But if it fixated on the practical affairs of the social and political realm, it was no longer engaged in philosophy. This double bind is not unique to pragmatism and has shown itself repeatedly in the last two hundred years (...) as feminist and anti-racist philosophy have gained traction in academia. Feminists who worry about concrete cases of oppression, who work in practical ways to end this oppression, are not regarded as true philosophers. .. (shrink)
Feelings not only have a place, they also have a time. Today, one can speak of a multifaceted renaissance of feelings. This concerns philosophy itself, particularly, ethics. Every law-based morality comes up against its limits when morals cease to be only a question of legitimation and begin to be a question of motivation, since motives get no foothold without the feeling of self and feeling of the alien. As it is treated by various social theories and psychoanalysis, the self is (...) not formed through the mere acquisition or change of roles, but rather through a process that is susceptible to crises, a process shaped by affective bonds and separations. Learning, which is the theme of pedagogy, loses its hold whenever it is confronted by disinterest and listlessness. In neurobiology, the increased significance of those zones of the brain that are connected with the realization of feelings makes the brain, accordingly, no mere apparatus that processes data, but a living organ that selects and “evaluates” what is “important.” Finally, cross-cultural comparison shows the extent to which the one-sided preference for understanding and willing, which is the mark of Western rationalism, arises from a typical, not to mention a highly masculine attitude toward the world and life, as many different studies on gender difference stress (In reference to this perspective, see Seethaler, Gefühle und Urteilskraft. Ein Plädoyer für die emotionale Vernunft, 1997). The following reflections provide a historical orientation directed toward a new determination of feelings. This new determination of feelings is phenomenological and takes the pathetic character of experience, nourished by the corporeality of experience as its point of departure. (shrink)
What does Husserlian phenomenology have to offer feminist theory? More specifically, can we find resources within Husserl’s account of the living body ( Leib ) for the critical feminist project of rethinking embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but also of subject/object and activity/passivity? This essay begins by explicating the reasons for feminist hesitation with respect to Husserlian phenomenology. I then explore the resources that Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and his account of sensings hold for feminist theory. My (...) reading of Husserl proceeds by means of a comparison between his description of touch in Ideas II and Merleau-Ponty’s early appropriation of this account in the Phenomenology of Perception, as well as through an unlikely rapprochement between Husserl and Irigaray on the question of touch. Moreover, by revisiting the limitations in Husserl’s approach to the body—limitations of which any feminist appropriation must remain cognizant—I attempt to take Husserl’s phenomenology of touch beyond its initial methodologically solipsistic frame and to ask whether and how it can contribute to thinking gendered and racialized bodies. The phenomenology of touch, I argue, can allow us to understand the interplay between subjective, felt embodiment and social-historical context. In opening up Husserl’s account of touch to other dimensions—intersubjective and affective—sociality is revealed as residing within, and structuring of, touch. Such touch can allow us to think embodiment anew. (shrink)
Limited distribution phenomena related to negation and negative polarity are usually thought of in terms of affectivity where affective is understood as negative or downward entailing. In this paper I propose an analysis of affective contexts as nonveridical and treat negative polarity as a manifestation of the more general phenomenon of sensitivity to (non)veridicality (which is, I argue, what affective dependencies boil down to). Empirical support for this analysis will be provided by a detailed examination of affective dependencies in (...) Greek, but the distribution of any will also be shown to follow from (non)veridicality. (shrink)
J. Macgregor Wise and R. van de Vall kindly reviewed my analysis of the potential of webcams on nature conservation sites for developing networks of care. I am indebted to them for their subtle and intelligent deliberation and their valuable suggestions for further elaboration of the project. My focus, as stated in the article, is on the study of users, technology and animals as assemblages, bound together by physical, visual and affective bonds in the process of ‘doing something’.
There is substantial textual evidence that Kant held the doctrine of double affection: subjects are causally affected both by things in themselves and by appearances. However, Kant commentators have been loath to attribute this view to him, for the doctrine of double affection is widely thought to face insuperable problems. I begin by explaining what I take to be the most serious problem faced by the doctrine of double affection: appearances cannot cause the very experience in virtue of which they (...) have their empirical properties. My solution consists in distinguishing the sense of ‘experience’ in which empirical objects cause experience from the sense of ‘experience’ in which experience determines empirical objects. I call the latter ‘Strong Experience.’ I develop my conception of Strong Experience, and then I explain how it solves the problem of double affection. I conclude by addressing several objections. (shrink)
The paper begins with an objection to the Desire-Based Reasons Model. The argument from reason-based desires holds that since desires are based on reasons (first premise), which they transmit but to which they cannot add (second premise), they cannot themselves provide reasons for action. In the paper I investigate an attack that has recently been launched against the first premise of this argument by Ruth Chang. Chang invokes a counterexample: affective desires. The aim of the paper is to see if (...) there is a way to accommodate the counterexample to the first premise. I investigate three strategies. I first deal with the idea that the motivation for the premise may be the thesis that an action is intentional if and only if it is done under the guise of perceived reasons. This offers us a way of defending the premise: by showing that actions prompted by affective desires are not intentional. I, however, argue that this strategy is unworkable. This brings me to the second strategy. Here I consider the idea that the premise does not require a conscious normative thought on the part of the agent; in fact, it may not require any such thought, conscious or unconscious. I claim that this strategy too is a failure. Finally, the third approach builds normative judgment in the desire. This is the approach that I think works; in particular, recent work by Jennifer Hawkins may help us accommodate affective desires. The challenge of affective desires, I conclude, can be tackled. (shrink)
We present a specific elaboration and partial defense of the claims that cognition is enactive, embodied, embedded, affective and (potentially) extended. According to the view we will defend, the enactivist claim that perception and cognition essentially depend upon the cognizer’s interactions with their environment is fundamental. If a particular instance of this kind of dependence obtains, we will argue, then it follows that cognition is essentially embodied and embedded, that the underpinnings of cognition are inextricable from those of affect, that (...) the phenomenon of cognition itself is essentially bound up with affect, and that the possibility of cognitive extension depends upon the instantiation of a specific mode of skillful interrelation between cognizer and environment. Thus, if cognition is enactive then it is also embodied, embedded, affective and potentially extended. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Desmond Hogan aims to explain how Kant could have consistently held that noumenal affection is not only compatible with noumenal ignorance (the doctrine that we have no knowledge of things in themselves) but also with the claim that experience requires causal affection of human cognitive agents by things in themselves. Hogan's argument includes the premise that human cognitive agents have empirical knowledge of one another's actions. Hogan's argument fails because the premise that we have empirical knowledge (...) of one another's actions is ambiguous. On one reading, the argument is valid but its conclusion trivial. On the other, it is unsound on Kant's own view. (shrink)