Lecture 3 what is emotion
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LEC03 – Sep28
WHAT IS AN EMOTION?
1)A combination of neurological and chemical response to relevant stimuli
2)A “feeling” or awareness of changes in t he body as a result of relevant stimuli
3)A combination of knowledge/perception and judgement/evaluation concerning
Prominent defender of this cognitive view: Stoics
E.g. Our negative perception and judgment on death
Nussbanm and Solomon – purely cognitivist arguing that emotions are
judgment; our judgment on situation changes according to changes in
infor mative reception; our emotion is how we perceive and judge the situations
This cognitivist view does not necessarily entail that our emotions have to be
rational (since our judgment can be flawed) but have the potential to be
Question arises here: If emotions can be reduced to judgment, why don’t all
judgment induce emot ions?
Solomon: judgments closely related to sense of ourselves (identity,
etc…) will be most likely to trigger emotions
Some others would argue that new judgment/infor mation don’t always change
emotions. E.g. relative safety of flight to that of other for ms of transpor tat ion
does not decrease your fear of f lying or increase fear of driving
4)Readiness fraction in response to relevant stimuli
Prominent defender: Fridja
Not all emotions are the same readiness. It depends on the judgment of the
Number of possible reactions from one shared motivation.
This readiness does not always have to be bodily response but can also be
Social Constructoinism (Averill)
Emotions are socially constructed ,varying across different cultures.
Direct contrast to this view is… Ekman = theor ist of universal emot ion
Social/Political Aspects of Emotions
Emotions conceived in their social and political aspects – at least 3 levels of analysis possible
1)Ways in which emotion can be seen as intrinsically or phenomenally social and political
(via themes of intentionality, communication, and responsibility
Emphasis on intentionality: emotions are about something that take expression
in relation to something occur ring or changing.
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