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Unread July 20th, 2006, 01:18 AM
alexandra_k alexandra_k is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Default Re: Emotions versus Reason?

>> Alex: The problem of focus is why perceptions seem to refer to the state of the world whereas pain seems to refer to the phenomenology.

> When you ask why “perceptions seem to refer to the state of the world whereas pain seems to refer to the phenomenology,” I guess you’re referring to emotion versus pain...

No I'm distinguishing between perceptions and pain. The problem of focus is why claims about perceptions refer to the state of the world whereas claims about pains refer to the phenomenology (experience).

When I ask 'are emotions more like perceptions or pains' I'm asking whether statements about emotions refer to the state of the world (like statements about perceptions) or whether statements about emotions refer to the phenomenology (experience) like pains.

Prinz cites Jackendoff (I think) who conducted a survey. Jackendoff found that the folk consider phenomenology / felt quality to be more central to emotion than bodily state changes, behaviour, or cognition. That seems to suggest that for the folk emotions are more like pains than perceptions. James and Lange and Damasio and Le Doux treat emotions more like perceptions, however. I guess they don't want a theory of emotion to be derived from on a theory of consciousness. Being good scientists and all they would rather study the physiology... Being a philosopher rather than a scientist I don't mind taking consciousness seriously and considering that it is still an open question how much physiology is helping the study of consciousness progress. I'm not so much interested in how emotions are as a matter of contingent fact (in our world) as I am interested in how emotions are as a matter of logical necessity (in all possible worlds).

> I’d agree that the pain system certainly seems more “primitive” or “simple” when compared to the not quite as primitive subcortical, subconscious emotional neural systems.

I think that the positive / negative weighting (aka the 'hedonic quality' of emotion) has been derived from the positive / negative weighting of pleasurable and painful experiences. I'd like to tell a story from pleasure and attraction (in terms of behaviour) and pain and aversion (in terms of behaviour) up to the affect program responses that Ekman talks about... Up to the more distinctively human emotions like sexual jealousy, embarrassment and shame, up to the higher cognitive emotions like awe and reverence...
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