The feeling, in philosophy, is defined as anything that we feel, especially the low-intensity emotions and passions, and the general inclinations of man (moral feeling, admiration, …). A morality of sentiment, based on pity (Schopenhauer), the inspiration of the heart (Rousseau), sympathy (Scheler), love (Bergson) precludes formal or rational morality (like Kant) which calls for action “principle”, regardless of the feeling that we feel (for example, one will help others in need, not pity, the decision will be firmer and never humiliated the human person). A moral sense can not be truly universal.
The philosophical problem of feeling is whether the feeling can be a real recognition: there are, in this respect, the natural realities, which do not feel, but objective knowledge, taking a measurement work, and human realities, where the feeling may be a valid instrument for universal knowledge. It was only of himself and his feeling that the anthropologist, for example, can really understand the customs of the Indians of South America (see Tristes Tropiques Lévi-Strauss).
Quotes from philosophers on the feeling:
– Kant: “We call the ability to have fun or fair because of a representation feeling” (Metaphysics of Morals)
– Hegel: “The feeling is simple affection, and yet determined, the singular subject, in which is still put no difference between it and its contents” (Philosophical Propaedeutic).