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Unread July 20th, 2006, 09:35 AM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Emotions versus Reason?

Alex: 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.
Well, I’d say that emotions, typically being more complex and abstract than pain, dealing with potential dangers (or, of course, potential pleasures in the case of the few “positive” emotions out there), are about both perception and phenomenology. Perhaps that’s what causes confusion among the “folk”—pain results in unpleasant, albeit more or less straightforward, feelings, telling us simply that damage is done; while emotions, OTOH, also result in feelings that are unpleasant (in the case of the “negative” emotions anyway) telling us something more complicated and less certain—that there is a threat, that there is potential damage, potential pain, potential loss, etc.

As I’ve previously indicated, pain is a relatively simple system that essentially is only triggered by, and deals with, damage that has/is being done to the organism (while providing a reasonably universal “feeling” of pain, although of varying intensities, into consciousness); while, OTOH, emotion(s), e.g. fear and anger, deal with something more complex and abstract—potential damage/threats (and of course emotions are impacted by concurrent and/or memories of pain, as it may relate to any potential damage/threat, in the quick and dirty way that the emotional systems do such things), while providing various “feelings” of varying “meanings” and intensities into consciousness (which then may be subject to various interpretations by our cognitive consciousness).
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