By Robert C. Solomon
The concept that we're in a few major feel liable for our feelings is an concept that Robert Solomon has constructed for nearly 3 a long time. right here, in one quantity, he strains the improvement of this idea of feelings and intricate it intimately. issues run via his paintings: the 1st offers a "cognitive" conception of feelings within which feelings are construed essentially as evaluative judgments. the second one proposes an "existentialist" standpoint during which he defends the concept that, as we're answerable for our feelings. certainly, occasionally it even is sensible to claim that we "choose" them. whereas the 1st declare has won expanding foreign money within the literature, his declare approximately accountability for feelings has persisted to satisfy with enormous resistance and misinterpretation. the hot emphasis on evolutionary biology and neurology has (mistakenly) bolstered the preferred prejudice that feelings "happen" to us and are totally past our control.
This quantity is additionally a type of highbrow memoir of Solomon¹s personal improvement as a philosopher. The essays written within the Nineteen Eighties difficult the subjects of the "intentionality" of emotion and the declare that feelings are "judgments"; during this interval, he's additionally more and more preoccupied with how feelings range and are pointed out in a number of cultures. within the 1990's, his pursuits evolve to contemplate the social and political function of feelings and theories approximately emotion. the ultimate part offers his present philosophical place at the seeming "passivity" of the passions. regardless of his personal serious review of his prior paintings, he keeps to argue that, within the bottom line, we're liable for our feelings and existential caliber of our lives.
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Extra resources for Not Passion's Slave: Emotions and Choice
It is obvious that "being in a passion" and "becoming emotional" are regularly associated with certain feelings and sensations, the flushing and pulsing and tightness of the throat, tensions in our arms and legs and mild cramping in the stomach, slight breathlessness and nausea, an over-all feeling of readiness and excitement. But it does not follow from this regular association that these feelings and sensations are the emotion. Thus, I have noted that Freud and a great many other psychologists augment the Jamesian claim that an emotion is simply an affect (that is, simply a feeling) with some version of the hydraulic theory that would allow that an emotion also has a role in the dynamics of the personality (for example, as energy or instinct, as motive or cognitive appraisal).
So, too, one can say that the Humean impression of pride, in order to be pride (rather than just some pleasant impression or other), must cause an idea of a certain kind as well as be caused by ideas of a certain kind. In other words, certain impressions count as pride (the logical point) only if they have the right kind of causes and effects (the causal connection). Hume's causal thesis remains intact. But it is also a logical point, one that allows the reconstructed Humean to say that pride must take as its object, as a matter of logic, a particular kind of object, namely self.
Notice Davidson's explicit reference to intentionally here ("to which it is directed," emphatically not a causal notion). Notice, too, the move from pride as impression to pride as idea. e. the impression) had no 'representative quality'; . . ). ) Davidson's reconstruction begins with a significant but suspicious revision. Although nearly all of Hume's examples are in the form "proud of . . ," Davidson says that he is "best" interpreted as providing as account of "propositional pride"—"pride described by sentences like, 'She was proud that she had been elected president' " (744).