Emotion: Philosophical Definitions

emotion in philosophy

What is an emotion?

Basically, Emotion can be defined as a manifestation of the emotional life, usually accompanied by a pleasurable or painful state of consciousness. Emotion is a disorder of variable duration, an imbalance. The disorder is sometimes violent, and increases movements (anger, excitement), or, alternatively, a motion to stop (or fear “thunderbolt” in love). The emotion is sometimes an exciting, sometimes a narcotic. The impact on the body can go to the syncope, but most often limited to minimal physical manifestations (flushing, pallor, …).

The emotion, unlike the passion that comes as a result of the sustained imbalance, an imbalance is ephemeral, which marks the effort of the individual to bend to circumstances. Emotion is a reaction to a new and unexpected situation.

Depending on the nature of the disorder created, there are often emotional shock and emotional feeling. The second is more durable than the first but also more diffuse.

The nature of this feeling

Before Sartre, emotion was thought as a pure reaction: I see a bear, so I’m afraid. However, in his Theory of Emotions, Sartre has shown that emotion is not a reaction, but a man’s behavior. It is indeed the man who produces and maintains, for example, who is forced to admit his mistakes or take an initiative whose responsibility it weighs may get angry to deny the situation. Emotion is a “magic pipe”, an effort to change the world by his own psychic forces. Emotion seeks to restore the world as the individual who feels like. Every emotion has a meaning, reveals an intention can be conscious.

In short, we are responsible for our emotions. They express the choices we make in our being-in-the-world.

Quotes on emotion by philosophers:

Kant: “The emotion is the feeling of pleasure or displeasure of a current that does not leave the subject to achieve reflection. In emotion, spirit surprised printing loses power over himself “(Anthropology)

Sartre: “An emotion is a transformation of the world”

Alain: “Emotion is a system of movement that stood in the heart without the permission of the will, and that suddenly changes the color of the thoughts. “

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