The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration

The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration

The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration

The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration

Synopsis

'one of the best books on the emotions written so far in this hot and sexy new field' -Robert C. Solomon, International Philosophical Quarterly 2001'This extraordinarily insightful book, lucidly written, provides new understandings and challenges that every student of emotion will need to consider.' -Paul Ekman, Professor of Psychology, University of California, San Francisco'I found the book a most impressive performance and I recommend it with enthusiasm to anyone interested in the latest word in the philosophy of emotions and anyone interested in teaching a course in the field' -Robert C. Solomon, International Philosophical Quarterly 2001'what he [Goldie] offers us is a carefully nuanced 'exploration' of the various facets of emotional experience and emotion' - Robert C. Solomon, International Philosophical Quarterly 2001'commendable new book.' -Nicholas Fern, SpectatorPeter Goldie opens the path to a deeper understanding of our emotional lives through a lucid philosophical exploration of this surprisingly neglected topic. He illuminates the phenomena of emotion by drawing not only on philosophy but also on literature and science. He considers the roles of culture and evolution in the development of our emotional capabilities. This fascinating book gives an accessible but penetrating exploration of a subject that is important but mysterious to all of us. Any reader interested in emotion, and its role in our understanding of our lives, will find much to think about here.

Excerpt

This book is a philosophical essay about emotion. However, in some respects it is, I suppose, not typical of a philosophical monograph. I do not put forward a single, central claim and then seek to defend it against opposing positions. The book proceeds, rather, on a more extended front. It does so in two senses. First, it aims to deepen our everyday commonsense discourse about the phenomena, drawing where relevant both on literature and the empirical sciences. Secondly, it takes as the phenomena not just the emotions, but looks more widely to related phenomena such as consciousness, thought, feeling, imagination, interpretation of action out of emotion and of expression of emotion, moods, and traits of character; emotion cannot be considered in isolation from these other topics. What I hope, therefore, is that someone who has read this book will come away, not so much persuaded of a single, central claim, but rather with a deeper and broader overall understanding of the phenomena, perhaps thinking of them in new and somewhat enlightened ways.

Although, as I say, this book is not centred around a single claim, there are plenty of assertions to be found, and arguments to support them, as well as criticisms of other, opposing views. But, because of the somewhat unusual approach, it may not be clear to the reader right from the beginning just what the book's structural framework is as a whole. So what I would like to do in this chapter is briefly to introduce a number of interlocking themes which run through the book, and which, so to speak, hold together the overall structure and detailed argument. There are five of them.

First, there is the idea of a personal perspective or point of view—the point of view of a conscious person, capable of thoughts and feelings, and able to engage in theoretical and practical reasoning. A point of view in this sense can be reported on both first-personally and third-personally. Thinking or talking of oneself or of others in . . .

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