The Manifold of Sense - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

"Anthropologists report enormous differences inrepparttar ways that different cultures categorize emotions. Some languages, in fact, do not even have a word for emotion. Other languages differ inrepparttar 126337 number of words they have to name emotions. While English has over 2,000 words to describe emotional categories, there are only 750 such descriptive words in Taiwanese Chinese. One tribal language has only 7 words that could be translated into categories of emotion…repparttar 126338 words used to name or describe an emotion can influence what emotion is experienced. For example, Tahitians do not have a word directly equivalent to sadness. Instead, they treat sadness as something like a physical illness. This difference has an impact on howrepparttar 126339 emotion is experienced by Tahitians. For example,repparttar 126340 sadness we feel overrepparttar 126341 departure of a close friend would be experienced by a Tahitian as exhaustion. Some cultures lack words for anxiety or depression or guilt. Samoans have one word encompassing love, sympathy, pity, and liking – which are very different emotions in our own culture." "Psychology – An Introduction" Ninth Edition By: Charles G. Morris, University of Michigan Prentice Hall, 1996


This essay is divided in two parts. Inrepparttar 126342 first, we surveyrepparttar 126343 landscape ofrepparttar 126344 discourse regarding emotions in general and sensations in particular. This part will be familiar to any student of philosophy and can be skipped by same. The second part contains an attempt at producing an integrative overview ofrepparttar 126345 matter, whether successful or not is best left torepparttar 126346 reader to judge.

A. Survey

Words haverepparttar 126347 power to expressrepparttar 126348 speaker's emotions and to evoke emotions (whetherrepparttar 126349 same or not remains disputed) inrepparttar 126350 listener. Words, therefore, possess emotive meaning together with their descriptive meaning (the latter plays a cognitive role in forming beliefs and understanding).

Our moral judgements andrepparttar 126351 responses deriving thereof have a strong emotional streak, an emotional aspect and an emotive element. Whetherrepparttar 126352 emotive part predominates asrepparttar 126353 basis of appraisal is again debatable. Reason analyzes a situation and prescribes alternatives for action. But it is considered to be static, inert, not goal-oriented (one is almost tempted to say: non-teleological - see: "Legitimizing Final Causes"). The equally necessary dynamic, action-inducing component is thought, for some oblivious reason, to belong torepparttar 126354 emotional realm. Thus,repparttar 126355 language (=words) used to express moral judgement supposedly actually expressrepparttar 126356 speaker's emotions. Throughrepparttar 126357 aforementioned mechanism of emotive meaning, similar emotions are evoked inrepparttar 126358 hearer and he is moved to action.

A distinction should be – and has been – drawn between regarding moral judgement as merely a report pertaining torepparttar 126359 subject's inner emotional world – and regarding it wholly as an emotive reaction. Inrepparttar 126360 first case,repparttar 126361 whole notion (really,repparttar 126362 phenomenon) of moral disagreement is rendered incomprehensible. How could one disagree with a report? Inrepparttar 126363 second case, moral judgement is reduced torepparttar 126364 status of an exclamation, a non-propositional expression of "emotive tension", a mental excretion. This absurd was nicknamed: "The Boo-Hoorah Theory".

There were those who maintained thatrepparttar 126365 whole issue wasrepparttar 126366 result of mislabeling. Emotions are really what we otherwise call attitudes, they claimed. We approve or disapprove of something, therefore, we "feel". Prescriptivist accounts displaced emotivist analyses. This instrumentalism did not prove more helpful than its purist predecessors.

Throughout this scholarly debate, philosophers did what they are best at: ignored reality. Moral judgements – every child knows – are not explosive or implosive events, with shattered and scattered emotions strewn all overrepparttar 126367 battlefield. Logic is definitely involved and so are responses to already analyzed moral properties and circumstances. Moreover, emotions themselves are judged morally (as right or wrong). If a moral judgement were really an emotion, we would need to stipulaterepparttar 126368 existence of an hyper-emotion to account forrepparttar 126369 moral judgement of our emotions and, in all likelihood, will find ourselves infinitely regressing. If moral judgement is a report or an exclamation, how are we able to distinguish it from mere rhetoric? How are we able to intelligibly account forrepparttar 126370 formation of moral standpoints by moral agents in response to an unprecedented moral challenge?

Moral realists criticize these largely superfluous and artificial dichotomies (reason versus feeling, belief versus desire, emotivism and noncognitivism versus realism).

The debate has old roots. Feeling Theories, such as Descartes', regarded emotions as a mental item, which requires no definition or classification. One could not fail to fully grasp it upon having it. This entailedrepparttar 126371 introduction of introspection asrepparttar 126372 only way to access our feelings. Introspection not inrepparttar 126373 limited sense of "awareness of one's mental states" but inrepparttar 126374 broader sense of "being able to internally ascertain mental states". It almost became material: a "mental eye", a "brain-scan", atrepparttar 126375 least a kind of perception. Others denied its similarity to sensual perception. They preferred to treat introspection as a modus of memory, recollection through retrospection, as an internal way of ascertaining (past) mental events. This approach relied onrepparttar 126376 impossibility of having a thought simultaneously with another thought whose subject wasrepparttar 126377 first thought. All these lexicographic storms did not serve either to elucidaterepparttar 126378 complex issue of introspection or to solverepparttar 126379 critical questions: How can we be sure that what we "introspect" is not false? If accessible only to introspection, how do we learn to speak of emotions uniformly? How do we (unreflectively) assume knowledge of other people's emotions? How come we are sometimes forced to "unearth" or deduce our own emotions? How is it possible to mistake our emotions (to have one without actually feeling it)? Are all these failures ofrepparttar 126380 machinery of introspection?

The Dialogue of Dreams - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Are dreams a source of reliable divination? Generations upon generations seem to have thought so. They incubated dreams by travelling afar, by fasting and by engaging in all other manners of self deprivation or intoxication. Withrepparttar exception of this highly dubious role, dreams do seem to have three important functions:

To process repressed emotions (wishes, in Freud's speech) and other mental content which was suppressed and stored inrepparttar 126336 unconscious. To order, classify and, generally, to pigeonhole conscious experiences ofrepparttar 126337 day or days precedingrepparttar 126338 dreaming ("day residues"). A partial overlap withrepparttar 126339 former function is inevitable: some sensory input is immediately relegated torepparttar 126340 darker and dimmer kingdoms ofrepparttar 126341 subconscious and unconscious without being consciously processed at all. To "stay in touch" withrepparttar 126342 outside world. External sensory input is interpreted byrepparttar 126343 dream and represented in its unique language of symbols and disjunction. Research has shown this to be a rare event, independent ofrepparttar 126344 timing ofrepparttar 126345 stimuli: during sleep or immediately prior to it. Still, when it does happen, it seems that even whenrepparttar 126346 interpretation is dead wrong –repparttar 126347 substantial information is preserved. A collapsing bedpost (as in Maury's famous dream) will become a French guillotine, for instance. The message conserved: there is physical danger torepparttar 126348 neck and head. All three functions are part of a much larger one:

The continuous adjustment ofrepparttar 126349 model one has of one's self and of one's place inrepparttar 126350 world – torepparttar 126351 incessant stream of sensory (external) input and of mental (internal) input. This "model modification" is carried out through an intricate, symbol laden, dialogue betweenrepparttar 126352 dreamer and himself. It probably also has therapeutic side benefits. It would be an over-simplification to say thatrepparttar 126353 dream carries messages (even if we were to limit it to correspondence with one's self). The dream does not seem to be in a position of privileged knowledge. The dream functions more like a good friend would: listening, advising, sharing experiences, providing access to remote territories ofrepparttar 126354 mind, putting events in perspective and in proportion and provoking. It, thus, induces relaxation and acceptance and a better functioning ofrepparttar 126355 "client". It does so, mostly, by analysing discrepancies and incompatibilities. No wonder that it is mostly associated with bad emotions (anger, hurt, fear). This also happens inrepparttar 126356 course of successful psychotherapy. Defences are gradually dismantled and a new, more functional, view ofrepparttar 126357 world is established. This is a painful and frightening process. This function ofrepparttar 126358 dream is more in line with Jung's view of dreams as "compensatory". The previous three functions are "complementary" and, therefore, Freudian.

It would seem that we are all constantly engaged in maintenance, in preserving that which exists and inventing new strategies for coping. We are all in constant psychotherapy, administered by ourselves, day and night. Dreaming is justrepparttar 126359 awareness of this on-going process and its symbolic content. We are more susceptible, vulnerable, and open to dialogue while we sleep. The dissonance between how we regard ourselves, and what we really are and between our model ofrepparttar 126360 world and reality – this dissonance is so enormous that it calls for a (continuous) routine of evaluation, mending and re-invention. Otherwise,repparttar 126361 whole edifice might crumble. The delicate balance between we,repparttar 126362 dreamers, andrepparttar 126363 world might be shattered, leaving us defenceless and dysfunctional.

To be effective, dreams must come equipped withrepparttar 126364 key to their interpretation. We all seem to possess an intuitive copy of just such a key, uniquely tailored to our needs, to our data and to our circumstances. This Areiocritica helps us to decipherrepparttar 126365 true and motivating meaning ofrepparttar 126366 dialogue. This is one reason why dreaming is discontinuous: time must be given to interpret and to assimilaterepparttar 126367 new model. Four to six sessions take place every night. A session missed will be heldrepparttar 126368 night after. If a person is prevented from dreaming on a permanent basis, he will become irritated, then neurotic and then psychotic. In other words: his model of himself and ofrepparttar 126369 world will no longer be usable. It will be out of synch. It will represent both reality andrepparttar 126370 non-dreamer wrongly. Put more succinctly: it seems thatrepparttar 126371 famous "reality test" (used in psychology to set apartrepparttar 126372 "functioning, normal" individuals from those who are not) is maintained by dreaming. It fast deteriorates when dreaming is impossible. This link betweenrepparttar 126373 correct apprehension of reality (reality model), psychosis and dreaming has yet to be explored in depth. A few predictions can be made, though:

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