In Knowing Emotions, Furtak argues that it is only through the emotions that we can perceive meaning in life, and only by feeling emotions that we are able to recognize the value or significance of anything whatsoever. Our affective responses and dispositions therefore play a critical role in human existence, and their felt quality is intimately related to the awareness they provide.
In both psychology and philosophy, cognitive theories of emotion have met with increasing opposition in recent years. However, this apparent controversy is not so much a gridlock between antithetical stances as a critical debate in which each side is being forced to qualify its position in order to accommodate the other side of the story. Here, I attempt to sort out some of the disagreements between cognitivism and its rivals, adjudicating some disputes while showing that others are merely superficial. Looking (...) at evidence from neuroscience and social psychology, as well as thought experiments and theoretical arguments, I conclude that it is necessary to acknowledge both that emotions have intentional content and that they involve somatic agitation. I also point out some of the more promising directions for future research in this area. (shrink)
Abstract In his discourses on ‘the lily of the field and the bird of the air,’ Kierkegaard presents faith as the best possible response to our precarious and uncertain condition, and as the ideal way to cope with the insecurities and concerns that his readers will recognize as common features of human existence. Reading these discourses together, we are introduced to the portrait of a potential believer who, like the ‘divinely appointed teachers’—the lily and the bird—succeeds in leading a life (...) that is full of care, but free of worry. Such a portrait, we claim, echoes Kierkegaard’s portrait of the knight of faith in Fear and Trembling . In this essay we suggest that faith, as characterized in the ‘lily and bird’ discourses, is a kind of existential trust that would allow us to overcome worry, while remaining wholeheartedly engaged in the finite realm of our cares and concerns. We claim that Kierkegaard’s goal in these discourses is not to belittle our earthly cares, but to invite us to develop a modified attitude toward all that we are susceptible to worry about. Content Type Journal Article Category Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9322-5 Authors Sharon Krishek, Department of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel Rick Anthony Furtak, Department of Philosophy, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, USA Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Online ISSN 1572-8684 Print ISSN 0020-7047. (shrink)
This chapter analyses Soren Kierkegaard's thoughts and opinions about ancient Greek philosophy. It examines the significance of Kierkegaard's references to Greek philosophy in his writings and suggests that his use of classical thought was part of his effort to define his own intellectual project. The chapter investigates how Greek philosophy influenced Kierkegaard's works and views about ethics, existential thought, Socratic faith, love, and virtue, and also considers what Kierkegaard believed was the legacy of ancient Greek philosophy.
In this article, we illuminate the affective phenomenon of loneliness by exploring the question of how it relates to love and other forms of friendship. We reflect in particular on the question of how different forms of loneliness are relevant to human existence. Distinguishing three forms of loneliness, we first introduce two border cases of loneliness: unfelt loneliness in which one’s individuality is denied and one therefore cannot feel lonely; and existential loneliness in which the possibility of intimacy and existential (...) communication are denied and one therefore cannot but feel lonely. We then turn to loneliness that occurs within intimate friendships—even the most intimate ones. In our analysis, we pay attention especially to the role of communication. In order to do so, we repeatedly turn to poetic expressions of loneliness. We argue that loneliness cannot reflect only the absence or partial failure of communication but also the inherent limits of communication. These limits in turn point back to the nature of human existence and love itself. (shrink)
Discussions of the concept of authenticity often fail to define the conditions of an appropriate emotional orientation toward the world. With a more solid philosophical understanding of emotion, it should be possible to define more precisely the necessary conditions of emotional authenticity. Against this background, I interpret Kierkegaard’s Either/Or as a narrative text that suggests a moral psychology of emotion that points toward the development of a better way of thinking about the ethics of authenticity. In the process, I also (...) engage with the positions of other philosophers, both “existential” and “analytic.” The upshot of my argument is that a cognitive phenomenology of emotion can flesh out the ideal of truthfulness as a virtue of character, while forcing moral philosophers to question whether authenticity should be understood as an achievement of the will rather than as a matter of affective receptivity. (shrink)
Martha Nussbaum’s new book Political Emotions is a contribution to political philosophy and, simultaneously, a moral-psychological study of the emotions. In it, she revisits some of the most prominent themes in her 2004 book Hiding from Humanity and her 2001 treatise, Upheavals of Thought. As Nussbaum points out in the opening pages of Political Emotions, one of her goals in this work is to answer a call issued by John Rawls for a “reasonable moral psychology” that would be conceptually refined (...) and empirically grounded, since a complete theoretical account of the just society must be informed by a suitably complex, accurate conception of human emotions. On the whole, Political Emotions is a remarkably successful book that combines several areas of philosophical research in which the author’s proficiency is well known. It shows how problems that lie on the more intimate side of ethics, pertaining for instance to friendship and family life, have relevance for social justice and publi .. (shrink)
: Thoreau's journal contains a number of passages which explore the nature of perception, developing a response to skeptical doubt. The world outside the human mind is real, and there is nothing illusory about its perceived beauty and meaning. In this essay, I draw upon the work of Stanley Cavell (among others) in order to frame Thoreau's reflections within the context of the skeptical questions he seeks to address. Value is not a subjective projection, but it also cannot be perceived (...) without the appropriate kind of emotional orientation or attunement toward the world: that is, an attitude of trust or acceptance. Without this affective receptivity, or "perceptual faith," our knowledge of reality is limited. The beliefs we hold onto in the face of objective uncertainty establish the framework within which we make particular evaluations, and in this sense they are a necessary condition of practical reason. Every understanding has its mood. (shrink)
Emotion Review, Ahead of Print. According to Jean Moritz Müller's The world-directedness of emotional feeling, the reason why emotions do not apprehend or disclose value is that one cannot apprehend what one has already apprehended: the value in question, he claims, is apprehended prior to the emotional feeling. Emotions, then, should not be conceived as apprehending value since they already presuppose awareness of it. I can be acquainted with a fact without feeling aware of the meaning it holds. Yet I (...) argue that only an emotional reaction actually registers value or disvalue. My value-responsive concept of emotion is one that Müller rejects. Yet I contend that to recognize the loss of a beloved person, for instance, just is to feel the emotion of grief. (shrink)
Søren Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript has provoked a lively variety of divergent interpretations for a century and a half. It has been both celebrated and condemned as the chief inspiration for twentieth-century existential thought, as a subversive parody of philosophical argument, as a critique of mass society, as a forerunner of phenomenology and of postmodern relativism, and as an appeal for a renewal of religious commitment. These 2010 essays written by international Kierkegaard scholars offer a plurality of critical approaches to (...) this fundamental text of existential philosophy. They cover hotly debated topics such as the tension between the Socratic-philosophical and the Christian-religious; the identity and personality of Kierkegaard's pseudonym 'Johannes Climacus'; his conceptions of paradoxical faith and of passionate understanding; his relation to his contemporaries and to some of his more distant predecessors; and, last but not least, his pertinence to our present-day concerns. (shrink)
According to Stoic moral psychology, emotions are cognitive responses to perceived value in the contingent world. This dissertation begins by defending a contemporary version of this descriptive theory; it then proceeds with a critique of the Stoics' normative thesis that emotions involve amorally deplorable kind of cognitive error. I distinguish two senses in which this thesis is historically put forward, and show that both are thematically pertinent. The structural variant, as I call it, is a qualified critique of the particular (...) cognitive flaws to which emotions are liable; the fundamental argument, on the other hand, is that emotions are categorically unreliable. My goal in the rest of the dissertation is to respond to each aspect of normative Stoicism with a positive account of how it might be possible for a moral agent to avoid false emotion without doing away with emotion altogether. This means explaining how a person's emotional perception might become reliable rather than sentimental within a given moral context, and indicating what axiological conditions must generally obtain if emotion is justifiable in any case. In doing so, I draw largely upon Kierkegaard's pseudonymous and signed writings, while also engaging with other relevant philosophical texts along the way. I argue that a morality of virtue and narrative awareness is necessary for accurate emotional perception; then, I attempt to define the conditions on which a qualified value realism might be tenable. It is one thing to argue for the importance of emotion in human life, as a number of recent studies have done, but it is quite another to show how we might cultivate truthful, and avoid false, emotion. The outcome of this inquiry into the possibility of reliable emotion is a positive account of the ideal state in which one could trust oneself to be rational in being passionate. (shrink)
Those who are already familiar with Henry Bugbee's written work will almost invariably have encountered it first through his 1958 text The Inward Morning, subtitled A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form. This book, which originally appeared with an introduction by the French existential philosopher Gabriel Marcel, was reissued in a 1999 edition thanks to Edward F. Mooney, who served as editor and added a new introduction of his own. In the volume under review, David W. Rodick brings more of Bugbee's (...) work back into print, a development that will surely be appreciated by admirers and newcomers alike. Or, in Rodick's own words, the aim of Wilderness in America is "to remove... (shrink)
By taking seriously the state of moral estrangement, we may learn something about the conditions of moral participation. Yet analytic discussions of this topic (for instance, by Hare and Nagel) have frequently been handicapped by an inadequate understanding of the intentionality of emotion. In the work of Albert Camus, we find a superior appreciation of the sense in which the individual’s revolt against prevailing values could be a justified response to objective conditions. Although a sense of the absurd is itself (...) a hindrance to moral agency, it provides us with some insight into our subjective capacity for wholehearted involvement in the world. (shrink)
Drawing upon neuroscientific research, Schroeder argues that there is biological evidence in favor of his philosophical conclusions. Specifically, the brain areas that show activity correlated with feelings of pleasure are distinguishable from those that seem to be associated with the consciousness of possible reward; and, in theory, these latter areas “could exist” in an organic being that lacked the capacity for behavior. At this point, the partly theoretical basis of Schroeder’s scientific claims might worry a reader who has doubts about (...) the whole program of neurophilosophy: after all, to what degree can empirical findings help us to understand a complex mental phenomenon such as desire? This question, which begs to be asked, is given an oblique answer in Three Faces of Desire when the reader is assured that what Schroeder is advocating is neither an identity theory, in which desire would be equated with certain neuronal events, nor a reductive project which aims to replace philosophical discussion of desire and other mental phenomena with the language of quantitative measurement. Like many other contemporary philosophers of mind, Schroeder accepts that mental functions are “multiply realizable” : that is, no matter how a process may be realized in the embodied human mind, it still could be instantiated differently, in another kind of living organism. (shrink)