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Published on August 27, 2007

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III. The Emotions: Outline of a Theory:  III. The Emotions: Outline of a Theory Philosophy 157 G. J. Mattey ©2002 Psychology: Just the Facts:  Psychology: Just the Facts Modern psychology is positivistic It restricts itself to psychological facts Psychological facts are either about bodily behavior or about reflexive experience The only dispute among the positivist psychologists is over the relative priority of the two kinds of facts (reduction or elimination) Psychology and Anthropology:  Psychology and Anthropology Anthropology attempts to define the essence of man and the human condition Psychology takes men to be creatures which are sufficiently like other creatures The self does not reveal one’s essence, but is just one psychological subject among many A conception of the essence of man would only be a tying-together of the facts accumulated by psychology If used before hand, such a conception would only be a kind of guiding wire, but not scientific The Limitations of Psychology:  The Limitations of Psychology Psychology presents facts only in isolation An illusion and an inferiority complex are not related to one another, for example Psychology gives up the pursuit of the essential in favor of the accidental The result is only a collection, which is of no interest in itself The idea of human reality (Dasein) is excluded from psychology, which is not about a world, but only about phenomena A Case in Point: the Emotions:  A Case in Point: the Emotions In psychology, emotions are not related to other psychological phenomena, such as attention, memory, perception Man is said to have emotions only because they are discovered as facts Emotions, therefore are only accidents They are not to be shown possible on the basis of the structure of human reality How Psychology Deals with the Emotions:  How Psychology Deals with the Emotions Facts about emotions are isolated, as if their demarcation were obvious To study them, psychologists either produce them or study pathological cases Bodily changes, behavior, states of consciousness are studied Different theories give priority to different of these (intellectualistic, peripheric) Phenomenology:  Phenomenology Phenomenology is a reaction to positivistic psychology Husserl recognized that one cannot get from facts to essences, e.g. in mathematical calculation Experiences of essences and values are primary Essences are what allow us to classify and inspect the facts Phenomenological Psychology:  Phenomenological Psychology The essence of an emotion allows us to classify it as a fact Phenomenology directs us toward this essence The essence, in turn is based on an 'a priori' essence of the human being Psychological facts assume man and the world, and these must be understood first Phenomenological reduction allows us to get at transcendental consciousness Husserl’s Phenomenology:  Husserl’s Phenomenology Husserl’s phenomenology seeks essences in consciousness by parenthesizing the world Applied to emotion, this means a search for the essence of types of emotion, without examination of the particular cases The relation to the world is lost Heideggerian Phenomenology:  Heideggerian Phenomenology Heidegger recognized that inquiry about man is inquiry about ourselves To interrogate ourselves, we must already have an understanding of what we are We understand ourselves as an interrogating being This leads to a conception of human reality (Dasein) that can be the basis of an anthropology The anthropology can serve as a basis of psychology New Avenues of Investigation:  New Avenues of Investigation A phenomenological investigation of emotions relates it to human reality, rather than treating them as isolated facts Are emotions essential to the human being? What must the structures of human reality be like to make emotions possible What is the significance of emotions? Signification:  Signification Signification is indication of another thing For the psychologist, emotion signifies nothing For the phenomenologist, emotion exists only insofar as it signifies It signifies the whole of consciousness At the existential level, it signifies human reality It is human reality in the form of emotion, 'an organized form of human existence.' An Experiment in Phenomenology:  An Experiment in Phenomenology Positivistic psychology understands man in a variety of situations in the world Phenomenology is first needed to understand man and the world It is a very immature field of study But it will show human emotions to be something other than facts about the body It will abandon inductive introspection and observation of external behavior Can a phenomenology of the emotions be successful? Classical Theories of Emotion:  Classical Theories of Emotion James: emotion is projection of physiological states into consciousness Janet: emotion is a behavior of disadaptation, resulting from a setback Dembo: in anger, we transform ourselves into a primitive being that is easily satisfied But how can we account for transformation without recognizing non-mechanical ends and functions of emotion? The Psychoanalytic Theory of Emotion:  The Psychoanalytic Theory of Emotion The finality of emotion could be explained by splitting the mind into conscious and unconscious A phobia could be explained by an earlier traumatic experience The signification of the phobia would be flight from repeating that experience But then there is a purely external bond between the experience and the emotion And we do not make ourselves what we are: our emotions take us over despite our best efforts Outwardly Directed Emotion:  Outwardly Directed Emotion Emotion is standardly treated as reflective: it appears to us as a state of consciousness We report that we feel angry or sad But the primary case of emotion is not reflective; it is directed at the object I am afraid of something Emotion does not retreat from the object to consciousness, but constantly goes back to the object 'Emotion is a certain way of apprehending the world' An Example: Irritation:  An Example: Irritation Someone works on a practical problem, whose solution evades him The action is directed at the world The emotion of irritation is directed at the world as well No passage to self-conscousness is required Though we can reflect on our actions, we need not do so Unreflective Action:  Unreflective Action When I write, I may do so without reflecting on my activity My own writing is distinguished from my observation of another’s My actions are certain, in a sense, while the other’s are merely probable I feel the need for my next movement, but not for that of the other My self-consciousness in this case is 'non-thetic' The Surrounding World:  The Surrounding World If we look at ourselves thetically, we can map out a world that includes our needs, desires, actions By a 'pragmatistic intuition,' we see that this world is deterministic, in the sense that only certain actions will fulfill our needs This world is 'difficult,' and many of our desires and needs cannot be attained through our actions Magic:  Magic When the paths to satisfying our ends are difficult or blocked, we must still act In order to act, we 'transform' the surrounding world so that our actions can be successful This 'transformation' is magical It is not reflective An example is the 'seeing as' that takes place in a game such as 'Where’s Waldo?' Emotions:  Emotions Emotions are magical conferrings of qualities on objects The objects lack the qualities, and the conferring is ineffective Example: my desire for grapes I cannot reach is pacified by my decision that they are too young to be sweet Example: my fainting in the face of danger gets me as close as I can to annihilating the danger. This behavior is not rational Passive Sadness:  Passive Sadness There are various behavioral manifestations When existing paths to realize our desires are cut off, we transform the structure of the world to make it neutral We act on ourselves to make the world gloomy (undifferentiated) We also create refuge (a small differentiated space to protect us from the universal gloom) Active Sadness:  Active Sadness It takes many forms Refusal denies the urgency of some problems and substitutes others for them It may involve abandoning responsibility by magically exaggerating the difficulties of the world This is not the product of reflection Joy:  Joy Joy is a form of active emotion Joy-emotion (as opposed to joy-feeling) is characterized by impatience We try to seize the total possession at once by anticipating it This substitutes for difficult, prudent behavior The Nature of Emotion:  The Nature of Emotion The preceding remarks only give the functional role of emotions: what they do Emotions present themselves in infinite variety, when understood this way But emotion is not behavior or consciousness of behavior There are existentially 'false' emotions, where the behavior is mimicked Emotion and Belief:  Emotion and Belief True emotion is accompanied by belief The conferred qualities are taken as true 'We must be spell-bound, flooded by our own emotion' The emotion is serious, filled with matter, which includes the behavior (which can be overcome) One must be highly disturbed in order to believe in magical behavior Degraded Consciousness:  Degraded Consciousness The body is an object in the world The body is also lived by consciousness An emotion transforms the world, in which consciousness then lives Consciousness thereby degrades itself It transforms the body in which it can live among the objects whose qualities it has conferred 'The origin of emotion is a spontaneous and lived degradation of consciousness in the face of the world' Freedom:  Freedom Consciousness makes itself captive in the belief it generates The emotion tends to perpetuate itself Fleeing the magical object invokes an even stronger magical reality 'Freedom has to come from a purifying reflection or a total disappearance of the affecting situation' A World of Emotion:  A World of Emotion Emotion is not directed against a single, specific obstacle A world is created, as with a dream-world There is a synthesis of qualities conferred on objects Horror of a thing, for example, spreads itself over the future, so that we see things in an emotional light An emotion transcends itself, and is 'intuition of the absolute' The Delicate Emotions:  The Delicate Emotions Delicate emotions must be distinguished from weak emotions They might be an attitude of unconcern directed toward an apparently slight disaster They diminish an impending disaster, of which there is only an imperfect glimpse We see through the emotion Abrupt Reaction:  Abrupt Reaction I feel horror or wonder at seeing a grinning face pressed against the window This is explained by an action reciprocal to transformation of the world The world presents itself existentially as magical The man is given as acting at a distance, which contradicts our rational, deterministic belief 'Man is a wizard to man' If accompanied by an agreeable reaction, the emotion is wonder; if disagreeable, horror The Two Great Types of Emotion:  The Two Great Types of Emotion We make the world a magical place or the world presents itself as magical Magic is not confined to human psyches The two types of magic can be mixed and usually are When we confer qualities on the world, we set up an expectation of finding them When we find magical qualities in the world, we can complete them by extension to other objects or concentration in one The Magical World:  The Magical World Magical response must alter the world totally The instrumentality of things is altered by re-interpretation The face is framed by the window, not kept out by it Such a non-deterministic world is required for the emotion of horror The world appears as a non-instrumental totality Emotion is a way in which consciousness understands its being-in-the-world Consciousness of the Emotions:  Consciousness of the Emotions We can direct our consciousness toward an emotion It signifies something for our psychic life It is not a pure an inexpressible quality This can be perceived by 'the purifying reflection of the phenomenological reduction' We explain the world through our emotions: the world is hateful because I am angry Such a reflection is rare: ordinarily, we think that we are angry because the world is hateful Implications for Psychology:  Implications for Psychology Emotion is not a lawless disorder, but has significance The significance is understood in terms of the total human reality Emotion modifies being-in-the-world according to the laws of magic Ideally we would begin with a study of human reality and progress toward the study of the emotions (pure phenomenology) But it is an empirical matter which emotions will fill out human reality, which would block this

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