What is Emotion?

For all things philosophical.

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:43 pm

What is the origin and locus of the conception of Emotion?

It seems that a large tendency of opinion revolves, not necessarily in awareness, around the nineteenth century debate between the chemists and the biologists. The synthesis of urea, of the bodily or organic issue: urine, in a chemistry lab, led to the boast of Wöhler that there was nothing special in biology. The living thing, in the way it moves, is no different than the chemical synthesis. Against this the biologists spoke of the organic and elan vital (later generalized by Bergson). Now, it so happened that the chemists boasted, again, to have made further avenues of invasion able to reach the bodily things, or organic world, the new field of physiological biology, which is now called bio-chemistry, made a bridge into the biologists' territory. However on the point of the argument about yeast, the living organism in beer brewing, the chemists suffered something of an embarrassment, or, in any case, they had no clear and strong victory.

Now, I believe, in some way, elan vital means emotion. Insofar as one speaks of emotion and of what lives in the same breath. This, however, contrasts very sharply with the everyday notion of emotion. Since one tends to say a dancer or artist is more emotional than the average accountant or librarian. This common sense notion of emotion, i.e., that Marina Abramovic is emotional, but Leonard Nimoy is "logical", or, cerebral, contrasts with the claim that emotion and life are the same thing.

Beside from this, other conceptions of emotion exist. For instance, the philosophic question of idealism versus realism, where the question is whether the thing or the person direct the action.

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:42 am

I doubt if any living biochemist talks about elan vital. A fictional Clyde puffer boat is named 'Vital Spark' as part of the funniness of the story.

Living and dead are not as separate as was once believed. Some animal can be kept from decomposing by a life support machine, and needs no vital spark even if such an entity existed.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:56 am

I grant all that, naturally. The question is why does one speak of emotion if emotion is another word for movement as such? And is this galvanism, or is it to be taken from foundational physics, say as entropy?

So, when one starts from common sense, the issue is much different. Since, for instance, sadness is not accounted for in terms of entropy.

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am

Troll wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:56 am
I grant all that, naturally. The question is why does one speak of emotion if emotion is another word for movement as such? And is this galvanism, or is it to be taken from foundational physics, say as entropy?

So, when one starts from common sense, the issue is much different. Since, for instance, sadness is not accounted for in terms of entropy.
This one, Belinda, speaks of emotion as one who has learned some physiology. Most people say 'emotion' and mean what I'd call 'feelings.

Sadness is a feeling that combines the purely physiological event of emotion with some specific memory. In the case of sadness there is causal connection either memory to a fear reaction, or a fear reaction to memory. Fear reaction itself can be either slowing of response or heightening of response.Sadness I'd say involves slowing of response with consequent lack of awareness of the outer environment. Anger is fear response which lacks much cerebral involvement .

commonsense
Posts: 739
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by commonsense » Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:56 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:42 am

Sadness is a feeling that combines the purely physiological event of emotion with some specific memory. In the case of sadness there is causal connection either memory to a fear reaction, or a fear reaction to memory. Fear reaction itself can be either slowing of response or heightening of response.Sadness I'd say involves slowing of response with consequent lack of awareness of the outer environment. Anger is fear response which lacks much cerebral involvement .
Agreed. I would add that emotion must have a purpose or else there would be no need for it. The utility is that emotion is attached to each reaction so that they may be ranked in order of value to the owner. Obviously fear should be attached to reactions that avoid pain and joy should be attached to those involved in the pursuit of pleasure.

The order in which the reactions are ranked depends on the intensity of the emotion to which each is attached. That in turn may depend on the personality of the owner, i.e. someone may value avoidance of pain more than pursuit of pleasure because the survival of the species depends on avoiding potentially fatal injuries. Another personality may dictate that seeking pleasure outweighs pain reactions for the same reason. Reasoning being that the continued survival of the species depends on sex being enjoyable. Some personalities will lean one way and some others another way, because both are vital to the survival of the species. Emotion is critical to the species.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:43 am

Actually, dialing back a bit from my response, I don't know if the debate about elan vital, which formerly was called "animal spirits" (not in the sense of Keynes, so much as in the elder sense still known to Hobbes)is resolved. Since one hears a great deal about "emergence". And, biology and chemistry remain different disciplines. The latter requires "purpose" or function as it is called in order to establish a relation to its filed of inquiry. Yet, this necessity does not in principle mean that biology must have purpose, but, rather, that the researcher must posit it to make headway with a theory.

Now, in the older way of thinking, one said this: "feeling" is not chosen. Neither is profound mood, as in deep set antagonism, hate or "bias".

It is strange that you assign a new order of causality to memory. The assumption is this: the memory is a subset of the sense data. And yet, that seems to lack perfect translucent cogency. How can there be a different order of causality? everything is flattened if one leaps to the order of physics, but then one losses any ability to speak of distinctions of kind, and of purpose. The word emotion has no ground in fundamental physics which only tracks dispersion of mass.

On the other hand, natural reason doesn't start from the claim that all knowledge must be connected to a abstract theory, rather, it looks upon such a notion as a, or, one must say the (most powerful) superstition.

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:50 am

Troll wrote:
It is strange that you assign a new order of causality to memory. The assumption is this: the memory is a subset of the sense data. And yet, that seems to lack perfect translucent cogency. How can there be a different order of causality? everything is flattened if one leaps to the order of physics, but then one losses any ability to speak of distinctions of kind, and of purpose. The word emotion has no ground in fundamental physics which only tracks dispersion of mass.
This debate is about the nature of emotion. I set out my case that emotion is a subset of physiological investigations. Then I introduced memory. I should have explained that memory is matter for both physiological (neurological) and introspective investigation. It would be super if each of us had privileged access to all of our physiological events like each of us has privileged access to personal memories. but we don't, and this lack does not imply that memory , or mind if you like, is "a new order of causality".

Body and mind are the same order of causality and are two aspects of the same order of causality. However because of access problems mind tends to remain matter for introspection not public investigation. Except for when we do mathematics and formal logic which are confined to mechanical deductive reasoning, and not incoming information from the changing environment.
Physics relies heavily upon mathematics.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:34 pm

“This debate is about the nature of emotion. I set out my case that emotion is a subset of physiological investigations.”
We know what emotion means from daily life. From common sense in the same way we know that a rock is inorganic, and a juniper tree is organic or living. Because we have something we call in daily life “emotion”, we then look for its conditions, or it locus. We never would have searched for it, if not for the common sense notion of emotion. All of the science of functioning, physiology, is derivative on that. So, this is the same as a formal system, or a system determined by a Sample Space. Only less exact. Yet, everything here is distorted by the way researchers define emotion for experimental purposes, and that leads back to the history of the subject matter. What is happening is that one tries to show the chemical nature of emotion. Since the chemical nature leads back to elemental interactions, of oxygen for instance, and then back to the particle interactions, and, ultimately, to the core of the nucleus of the atom with its many parts. Yet, it is derived from daily life, and the history of the activity of daily life.


I think one puts things in an odd light by assuming identity where there is correlation. On your view one, with as much cognitive dignity, might assume that an iron pot with a thin spout is in fact "physiological". That it is a brain function. I find that tendentious view, everywhere demanded by the history of the sciences involved, incomprehensible. It all skirts the difficult question how there can be an 'inside' and an 'outside' at all.

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:49 am

We already have the standard model and its standard lexicon which combines physiology and psychology. Are you wanting to suggest another model to describe the body-mind interchange?
You may do yourself a favour if you content yourself for the time being with the standard model until you are thoroughly acquainted with it.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:47 pm

The issue is that any account of the nervous system, the "language of the nervous system is electricity", electrical impulse, which was formerly called animal spirit, and now "action potential", which is only called that because of the history of the field, since it's not potential at all, but impulse, points back to emotion. In other words, there is something in daily life, in immediate experience, that we call emotion, that tell us what the function is, the physiology as opposed to the structure or anatomy. What your trained to think is only in terms of gathering phenomena, and connecting it to a system of organizing it. Natural science as analytic philosophy. That leaves out the foundation of the problem, in ordinary life. You see, it assumes the value of life is gathering such functioning accounts, but that assumption comes prior to the entry into any research. It assumes emotion is the record given in terms of Sample Space, and not in terms of direct life. It becomes a particular notion of emotion, alongside others. It is itself, directed by emotion or dark and vague instinct.

Nick_A
Posts: 3460
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:23 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Nick_A » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:10 pm

You may enjoy this debate as to whether or not animals have emotions

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ho ... ons-debate

As I understand it, animals like clams live by sensations. They open and shut in response to external stimuli. Higher mammals not only have sensations but animal emotions as well that are rudimentary expressions of "value" Mother love is an animal emotion a snake does not have. Human beings not only have animal sensations and emotions but also the potential for conscious self awareness. As a result people are also capable of a higher quality of emotion and appreciation of value than animal reactive emotion reflecting conscious understanding.

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:49 am

Troll wrote:
The issue is ----
etc.

No. Your "issue" is. What does your idea "issue " from other than your own eccentricity?
You have done enough reading to make nice sentences and use proper punctuation but your sources are not authoritative.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:50 pm

"No. Your "issue" is. What does your idea "issue " from other than your own eccentricity?
You have done enough reading to make nice sentences and use proper punctuation but your sources are not authoritative."
What emotion means in daily life differs from what it means in the sciences. There is a "buried presupposition" at work. One treats the technical term, emotion, as used in certain research programs, which are part of a tradition of university culture, as the origin and authority on the question What is emotion?. With what justification?

So, for instance, Leonard Nimoy, I deliberately don't fancifully say "Spock", the fictional charterer, but the man who lived and had a particular nature or personal character, seems to ordinary judgment, not of this or that person, but generally, to be less emotional than, e.g., Marina Abramovic. However, when, as is increasingly the case, one immediately assumes the technical term is the authority, one says, it is never so that someone is "unemotional", since emotion, then, refers to the electrical language of the nervous system. If one passes off the ordinary habitual concept as merely subjective, what is one saying? All research programs start with common sense, yet, this is obscured by the fact that they have long traditions behind them of which the individual researcher is usually largely unaware.

Is it not so that this problem is not rising to consciousness on this form, and, not just here!

Belinda
Posts: 2096
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Belinda » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:00 am

Troll wrote:
What emotion means in daily life differs from what it means in the sciences. There is a "buried presupposition" at work. One treats the technical term, emotion, as used in certain research programs, which are part of a tradition of university culture, as the origin and authority on the question What is emotion?. With what justification?
"What emotion means----" : meaning pertains to persons. You are a person at a philosophy forum so it's your job to be explicit as to what you mean.

"There is a buried presupposition-----". Who is doing the presupposing? No presupposition exists without presupposers. Please stop this evasive passive voice.

"One treats---" . Who treats? Again , please stop this evasive passive voice. State your position as explicit Troll. Please edit out all usage ; one says this and one says that.

Troll
Posts: 120
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 am

Re: What is Emotion?

Post by Troll » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:11 am

""What emotion means----" : meaning pertains to persons. You are a person at a philosophy forum so it's your job to be explicit as to what you mean.

"There is a buried presupposition-----". Who is doing the presupposing? No presupposition exists without presupposers. Please stop this evasive passive voice.

"One treats---" . Who treats? Again , please stop this evasive passive voice. State your position as explicit Troll. Please edit out all usage ; one says this and one says that."
I mean all the answers here, and in the recent post on emotion. Also, in daily life. The general notion that the scientific research program, currently in power, is the place to seek the answer to this question, What is emotion?, is very powerful.

So, it appears to me, one is not philosophic, but, rather, one assumes whichever scientific research program is currently in power is the place to seek the answer. This is what "one" thinks. And yet, on this website I find it especially rife, even by the standard of the estate of human beings.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests