Bob Solomon used to inveigh against William James’ theory of emotions, but he eventually arrived at a rapprochement with James and James’s recent successors. In particular, James suggested that emotions are initiated by the “automatic, instinctive” appraisals that register important information in the body and are recorded by body-mapping brain areas. In recent work Solomon describes the judgments he thinks constitute emotions as felt bodily appraisals in similar fashion.
Juslin & Vll (J&V) think that all emotions aroused by music have the music itself as their Some of the mechanisms they discuss almost certainly involve both cognitive appraisals and intentional objects. But some of the mechanisms are non-cognitive: they involve neither cognitive appraisals nor intentional objects. Partly for this reason they may produce moods rather than emotions proper.
Deeper than Reason takes the insights of modern psychological and neuroscientific research on the emotions and brings them to bear on questions about our emotional involvement with the arts. Robinson begins by laying out a theory of emotion, one that is supported by the best evidence from current empirical work on emotions, and then in the light of this theory examines some of the ways in which the emotions function in the arts. Written in a clear and engaging style, her (...) book will make fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in the emotions and how they work, as well as anyone engaged with the arts and aesthetics, especially with questions about emotional expression in the arts, emotional experience of art forms, and, more generally, artistic interpretation. -/- Part One develops a theory of emotions as processes, having at their core non-cognitive 'instinctive' appraisals, 'deeper than reason', which automatically induce physiological changes and action tendencies, and which then give way to cognitive monitoring of the situation. Part Two examines the role of the emotions in understanding literature, especially the great realistic novels of the nineteenth century. Robinson argues that such works need to be experienced emotionally if they are to be properly understood. A detailed reading of Edith Wharton's novel The Reef demonstrates how a great novel can educate us emotionally by first evoking instinctive emotional responses and then getting us to cognitively monitor and reflect upon them. Part Three puts forward a new Romantic theory of emotional expression in the arts. Part Four deals with music, both the emotional expression of emotion in music, whether vocal or instrumental, and the arousal of emotion by music. The way music arouses emotion lends indirect support to the theory of emotion outlined in Part One. -/- While grounded in the science of emotion, Deeper than Reason demonstrates the continuing importance of the arts and humanities to our lives. (shrink)
We apply Carol Gilligan's distinction between a "male" mode of moral reasoning, focussed on justice, and a "female" mode, focussed on caring, to the reading of literature. MarthaNussbaum suggests that certain novels are works of moral philosophy. We argue that what Nussbaum sees as the special ethical contribution of such novels is in fact training in the stereotypically female mode of moral concern. We show this kind of training is appropriate to all readers of these novels, (...) not just to women. Finally, we explore what else is involved in distinctively feminist readings of traditional novels. (shrink)