Deeper Than Reason: Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music, and Art

By Jenefer Robinson | Go to book overview

3
Emotion as Process

The ways we are moved are as various as the lights in a forest;
and they may intersect, sometimes without cancelling each
other, take shape and dissolve, conflict, explode into passion,
or be transfigured.

Susanne Langer, Problems of Art


A Puzzle Solved

In Ch. 1 we examined judgement theories of emotion, and concluded that judgements all by themselves cannot explain the occurrence of emotional responses. At the same time it looked as though some kind of evaluation may be essential to emotion. Emotions are typically triggered by some kind of evaluation that an important goal or want or interest is at stake, and different emotions seem to be distinguished by different kinds of evaluation. Some philosophers have suggested that the evaluations in question need not be judgements but are more like different ways of looking at things, or different points of view on things, but even with this qualification the judgement theory has problems. The main problem is that a person can make the right kind of judgement or 'see' things in the right way and still not respond emotionally. Something is missing.

In Ch. 2 we explored the possibility that the something missing is some kind of physiological activity or action tendency. I endorsed William James's idea that physiological changes of some sort are essential to emotions, and that indeed we don't call a response emotional unless it is a physiological response that has been produced

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Deeper Than Reason: Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music, and Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents xiii
  • List of Figures xv
  • Part One - What Are Emotions and How Do They Operate? 1
  • 1: Emotions as Judgements 5
  • 2: Boiling of the Blood 28
  • 3: Emotion as Process 57
  • Part Two - Emotion in Literature 101
  • 4: The Importance of Being Emotional 105
  • 5: Puzzles and Paradoxes 136
  • 6: A Sentimental Education 154
  • 7: Formal Devices as Coping Mechanisms 195
  • Part Three - Expressing Emotion in the Arts 229
  • 8: Pouring Forth the Soul 231
  • 9: A New Romantic Theory of Expression 258
  • Part Four - Music and the Emotions 293
  • 10: Emotional Expression in Music 295
  • 11: The Expression of Emotion in Instrumental Music 322
  • 12: Listening with Emotion: How Our Emotions Help Us to Understand Music 348
  • 13: Feeling the Music 379
  • 14: Epilogue 413
  • Notes 415
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 487
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