The Manifold of Sense - Part III

Written by Sam Vaknin

Feeling is a "hyper-concept" which is made of both sensation and emotion. It describesrepparttar ways in which we experience both our world and our selves. It coincides with sensations whenever it has a bodily component. But it is sufficiently flexible to cover emotions and attitudes or opinions. But attaching names to phenomena never helped inrepparttar 126338 long run and inrepparttar 126339 really important matter of understanding them. To identify feelings, let alone to describe them, is not an easy task. It is difficult to distinguish among feelings without resorting to a detailed description of causes, inclinations and dispositions. In addition,repparttar 126340 relationship between feeling and emotions is far from clear or well established. Can we emote without feeling? Can we explain emotions, consciousness, even simple pleasure in terms of feeling? Is feeling a practical method, can it be used to learn aboutrepparttar 126341 world, or about other people? How do we know about our own feelings?

Instead of throwing light onrepparttar 126342 subject,repparttar 126343 dual concepts of feeling and sensation seem to confound matters even further. A more basic level needs to be broached, that of sense data (or sensa, as in this text).

Sense data are entities cyclically defined. Their existence depends upon being sensed by a sensor equipped with senses. Yet, they definerepparttar 126344 senses to a large extent (imagine trying to definerepparttar 126345 sense of vision without visuals). Ostensibly, they are entities, though subjective. Allegedly, they possessrepparttar 126346 properties that we perceive in an external object (if it is there), as it appears to have them. In other words, thoughrepparttar 126347 external object is perceived, what we really get in touch with directly, what we apprehend without mediation – arerepparttar 126348 subjective sensa. What is (probably) perceived is merely inferred fromrepparttar 126349 sense data. In short, all our empirical knowledge rests upon our acquaintance with sensa. Every perception has as its basis pure experience. Butrepparttar 126350 same can be said about memory, imagination, dreams, hallucinations. Sensation, as opposed to these, is supposed to be error free, not subject to filtering or to interpretation, special, infallible, direct and immediate. It is an awareness ofrepparttar 126351 existence of entities: objects, ideas, impressions, perceptions, even other sensations. Russell and Moore said that sense data have all (and only)repparttar 126352 properties that they appear to have and can only be sensed by one subject. But these all are idealistic renditions of senses, sensations and sensa. In practice, it is notoriously difficult to reach a consensus regardingrepparttar 126353 description of sense data or to base any meaningful (let alone useful) knowledge ofrepparttar 126354 physical world on them. There is a great variance inrepparttar 126355 conception of sensa. Berkeley, everrepparttar 126356 incorrigible practical Briton, said that sense data exist only if and when sensed or perceived by us. Nay, their very existence IS their being perceived or sensed by us. Some sensa are public or part of lager assemblages of sensa. Their interaction withrepparttar 126357 other sensa, parts of objects, or surfaces of objects may distortrepparttar 126358 inventory of their properties. They may seem to lack properties that they do possess or to possess properties that can be discovered only upon close inspection (not immediately evident). Some sense data are intrinsically vague. What is a striped pajama? How many stripes does it contain? We do not know. It is sufficient to note (=to visually sense) that it has stripes all over. Some philosophers say that if a sense data can be sensed then they possibly exist. These sensa are calledrepparttar 126359 sensibilia (plural of sensibile). Even when not actually perceived or sensed, objects consist of sensibilia. This makes sense data hard to differentiate. They overlap and where one begins may berepparttar 126360 end of another. Nor is it possible to say if sensa are changeable because we do not really know WHAT they are (objects, substances, entities, qualities, events?).

Other philosophers suggested that sensing is an act directed atrepparttar 126361 objects called sense data. Other hotly dispute this artificial separation. To see red is simply to see in a certain manner, that is: to see redly. This isrepparttar 126362 adverbial school. It is close torepparttar 126363 contention that sense data are nothing but a linguistic convenience, a noun, which enables us to discuss appearances. For instance,repparttar 126364 "Gray" sense data is nothing but a mixture of red and sodium. Yet we use this convention (gray) for convenience and efficacy's sakes.

B. The Evidence

An important facet of emotions is that they can generate and direct behaviour. They can trigger complex chains of actions, not always beneficial torepparttar 126365 individual. Yerkes and Dodson observed thatrepparttar 126366 more complex a task is,repparttar 126367 more emotional arousal interferes with performance. In other words, emotions can motivate. If this were their only function, we might have determined that emotions are a sub-category of motivations.

Some cultures do not have a word for emotion. Others equate emotions with physical sensations, a-la James-Lange, who said that external stimuli cause bodily changes which result in emotions (or are interpreted as such byrepparttar 126368 person affected). Cannon and Bard differed only in saying that both emotions and bodily responses were simultaneous. An even more far-fetched approach (Cognitive Theories) was that situations in our environment foster in us a GENERAL state of arousal. We receive clues fromrepparttar 126369 environment as to what we should call this general state. For instance, it was demonstrated that facial expressions can induce emotions, apart from any cognition.

A big part ofrepparttar 126370 problem is that there is no accurate way to verbally communicate emotions. People are either unaware of their feelings or try to falsify their magnitude (minimize or exaggerate them). Facial expressions seem to be both inborn and universal. Children born deaf and blind use them. They must be serving some adaptive survival strategy or function. Darwin said that emotions have an evolutionary history and can be traced across cultures as part of our biological heritage. Maybe so. Butrepparttar 126371 bodily vocabulary is not flexible enough to capturerepparttar 126372 full range of emotional subtleties humans are capable of. Another nonverbal mode of communication is known as body language:repparttar 126373 way we move,repparttar 126374 distance we maintain from others (personal or private territory). It expresses emotions, though only very crass and raw ones.

And there is overt behaviour. It is determined by culture, upbringing, personal inclination, temperament and so on. For instance: women are more likely to express emotions than men when they encounter a person in distress. Both sexes, however, experiencerepparttar 126375 same level of physiological arousal in such an encounter. Men and women also label their emotions differently. What men call anger – women call hurt or sadness. Men are four times more likely than women to resort to violence. Women more often than not will internalize aggression and become depressed.

Efforts at reconciling all these data were made inrepparttar 126376 early eighties. It was hypothesized thatrepparttar 126377 interpretation of emotional states is a two phased process. People respond to emotional arousal by quickly "surveying" and "appraising" (introspectively) their feelings. Then they proceed to search for environmental cues to supportrepparttar 126378 results of their assessment. They will, thus, tend to pay more attention to internal cues that agree withrepparttar 126379 external ones. Put more plainly: people will feel what they expect to feel.

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?

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