Empathy Fatigue: Healing the Mind, Body, and Spirit of Professional Counselors by Mark A. Stebnicki CCM PhD LPC CRC (Springer Publishing)
Many mental health practitioners present symptoms that are consistent with their clients' anxiety and stress-related disorders. It comes as no surprise, then, that "secondary traumatic stress" —the stress that comes from treating survivors of traumatic events—is now officially recognized by the American Counseling Association's Task Force on Counselor Wellness.
"Empathy fatigue" is a term coined by the author after his own experience serving on the crisis response team for the Westside Middle School shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Remarkably, symptoms of empathy fatigue are evident among a broad range of professionals: those who treat victims of stressful and traumatic events; those who treat persons with abuse, mood, anxiety, and stress-related disorders; and those who work in career and vocational settings or with people with mental and physical disabilities. This guide is meant for all these groups.
This book provides a repertoire of strategies, techniques, and insight designed to increase personal resiliency and decrease counselor burnout and fatigue:
• Self-assessment approaches, with an in-depth analysis of empathy fatigue and an explanation of this phenomenon from a mind, body, and spiritual perspective.
• Detailed case studies and suggested questions for self-assessments and self-care.
• A variety of self-care approaches, providing guidelines to counselors and clinicians to identify their own emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion.
About the Author
Dr. Mark A. Stebnicki is director of the graduate program in rehabilitation counseling at East Carolina University. He has served on the crisis response team for the Westside Middle School shootings in Jonesboro, AR, and has done many stress debriefings with private companies, schools, and government employees after incidents involving workplace violence, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. He has consulted with former President Bill Clinton's staff on addressing the students of Columbine High School, and his youth violence program, the Identification, Early Intervention, Prevention, and Preparation Program, was awarded national recognition by the American Counseling Association Foundation for its vision and excellence in the area of youth violence prevention.
To say that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in the counseling and allied helping professions is clearly an understatement when it comes to dealing with the extraordinarily stressful and traumatic events that have taken place globally. Catastrophic events have accelerated worldwide within the last seven years. In America, the horrific terrorist attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina, which took place on August 29, 2005, left emotional, physical, spiritual, and environmental scars upon our minds, bodies, and souls. The desolation left in the aftermath has created a sort of historical trauma among Westerners that seems to have prompted a consciousness shift within the counseling field and other helping professions. Fires, floods, drought, and school shootings require our complete attention to the survivors of such events. As professionals, we are constantly in a state of disaster preparedness and mental health disaster response. As a consequence, we are emotionally, socially, physically, spiritually, and vocationally exhausted. I would propose that many of us are experiencing "empathy fatigue."
Our empathy fatigue has been extended on a global basis. This is evidenced by the cataclysmic event that took place on December 26, 2004, when a tsunami and an earthquake, registering 9.0 off the west coast of Northern Sumatra, injured or claimed the lives of millions of people. How easily we forget about this distressing event affecting countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and many others. Where did all the disaster volunteers, angels, and earthly saints that descended upon these countries go? Did they have to retreat to their homes for the sake of their own emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing? Who has taken their place? The ensuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East are also constant reminders of how fragile our physical safety, mental health, and overall well-being can be. For many, planet earth does not appear to be a safe place to live in, because of the multitude of critical events.
These scenarios of enormous loss of human life, psychological grief, physical pain, and spiritual suffering are replayed on the nightly news, by quick-release television and Hollywood-style movies, in the print media, and over the Internet. The world has become much smaller through the use of satellite television, video cellular phones, and Internet technology. The disaster scenarios that we view on the global media stage add another dimension of reality. In real time, we can watch tragedies unfold in our own backyard and as they happen globally.
Such extraordinarily stressful and traumatic events affect a wide range of members of the population, who require specialists able to work with children and adolescents, college students, middle-aged and older adults, and others who have been victimized in their past. Interestingly, I have found that clients or consumers of outpatient mental health services do not seem to be as severely affected on a daily basis by world events. This may be because they are already consumed by their internal and external environment of intense personal distress.
New clients and consumers of mental health, rehabilitation, and allied health services, who are secondary survivors of extraordinary stressful and traumatic events, seem to be emerging. These include but are not limited to spouses, children, and family members that have a loved one serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; soldiers who have come home injured; and a new population of survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by online predators. The fact that some of our political and church leaders, who purportedly are defined by their high moral character and ethical behavior, are among the perpetrators is extremely confusing to children and difficult to discuss with them. Is there anyone we can trust?
Despite the fact that most Americans are far from the epicenter of such critical incidents, many are affected at some level of consciousness. This new, intense level of anxiety and traumatic stress affects those who work in school systems, government social services, hospitals and medical centers, faith-based programs, volunteer and professional rescue organizations, and a host of other organizations and institutions. We seem to be in a constant state of disaster preparedness, emergency response, and disaster relief.
So how do we come out of the darkness and into the light to facilitate emotional, social, physical, psychological, spiritual, and occupational healing strategies that can heal our soul wound experience? The existential question, Why do bad things happen to good people? requires a skilled professional who can process and facilitate the meaning of such events and bring people's lives back into balance.
Counselors and other helping professionals are profoundly affected by the individuals, groups, families, and systems they serve. Many have been close to the epicenter of extraordinarily stressful and traumatic events themselves. Understanding this new form of professional fatigue is essential, because for some professionals, the occupation itself can be mentally, physically, and spiritually debilitating. The epidemiological significance of empathy fatigue is far-reaching for professional helpers, organizations, institutions, and the individual clients/consumers we serve.
While medical professionals, police officers, and rescue workers all prepare for physical rescue in the multitude of disaster scenarios, counselors and other mental health professionals are called on to provide mental health rescue. Today, many counselors and other human service professionals are required to have training in the various models of crisis intervention. These include but are not limited to workers associated with the Disaster Mental Health response of the American Red Cross (ARC), critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), critical incident stress management (CISM), the National Organization for Victims' Assistance (NOVA) Group Crisis response, and acute traumatic stress management (ATSM). Crisis response teams are formed by various governmental agencies such as Homeland Security and Environmental Protection, computer and Internet security specialists, the commercial airline industry, public school and higher education personnel, private companies, faith-based and charitable organizations, and various other groups and organizations.
The literature in counseling and psychology suggests that many mental health practitioners and other helping professionals are affected by the same persistent or transient physical, mental, and psychological symptoms as their clients; many clients have been at or near the epicenter of critical incidents. We need to be open to the idea that preparing our minds, bodies, and spirits is of paramount importance to meet the intense challenges of the 21st century. This should be a principal concern for practitioners, counselor educators, clinical supervisors, and those in the allied helping professions.
This book was inspired by my own experience of empathy fatigue, an expression I coined around 1998. During March 1998, I worked and lived in Jonesboro, AR, and served on the crisis response team for the Westside Middle School shootings, where four students and one teacher were killed and 15 others were injured by 11- and 13-year-old shooters. Since this time I have been trained in various crisis response models and have provided stress debriefings and group crisis response to persons
employed in state and county government, private companies, day care centers and schools, and to persons in the media, survivors of brutal crimes, and individuals who have been at the epicenter of hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes.
As a counselor educator, researcher, and practitioner I have found that there appears to be an emotional, social, psychological, mental, physical, spiritual, and vocational cost to providing counseling and stress debriefings to individuals who have been at the epicenter of some of the most horrific human-made and natural catastrophic events imaginable. I have observed empathy fatigue in my colleagues for many years. These professionals treat persons with substance abuse, sexual and physical abuse, and mood, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. Some work in career and vocational settings. Others are nurses, allied health professionals, school teachers, and case managers who work with children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. Very few of these individuals deal with mental health crises or disaster response, yet they have acquired what I refer to as acute and/or chronic empathy fatigue. They follow their chosen careers in person-centered environments with an aura of compassion and a good heart. Basically, they are skilled helpers who are empathetic and are required to facilitate attachments with others. As a consequence, empathy fatigue appears to be a natural artifact of working in "high touch" or person-centered environments.
There is a growing interest in psychology, counseling, and related fields in preventing the professional fatigue syndromes that go by various terms, such as empathy or compassion fatigue, burnout, and counselor impairment. These syndromes will be described throughout this book. In order to facilitate the reader's understanding of these concepts, Part I of Empathy Fatigue provides the reader with a unique in-depth analysis of the construct of empathy fatigue and describes this phenomenon from a mind, body, and spiritual perspective. Part I also discusses the phenomenon of working close to the epicenter of critical incidents and how it impacts the overall wellness of both younger and older helping professionals. The research is clear that cumulative occupational or job stress, even outside the psychology and counseling professions, can lead to higher levels of impaired functioning, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. Accordingly, it is important, in order to lessen empathy fatigue, that we make ordinary sense out of the non-ordinary stressful and traumatic events that have taken place in our clients' lives.
Part II of Empathy Fatigue calls for an integral approach to healing the professional's empathy fatigue. Fundamental to the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of preprofessional and professional counselors are self-care strategies that promote resiliency for the prevention of empathy fatigue. Minimizing or ignoring the personal negative countertransferance associated with extraordinary and traumatic stressors has a physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological cost.
Part III of Empathy Fatigue offers guidelines for counselor educators and clinical supervisors, enabling them to identify the emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that occurs early on in the chosen career. Clinical supervision is critical because of the cumulative and longterm nature of the stress and anxiety that impact the client-counselor relationship and may result in an empathy fatigue reaction. The collective wisdom of indigenous cultures throughout the world has much to offer to 21st-century healers. Thus, this section presents the foundational Eastern and Western philosophies of healing the wounded soul. This section also offers guidelines and activities for an integral approach to paying attention to the mind, body, and spirit while working in "high touch" person-centered environments.
As is described throughout this book, empathy fatigue results from a state of mental, emotional, social, physical, spiritual, and occupational exhaustion that occurs as counselors' own wounds are continually revisited by their clients' life stories of chronic illness, disability, trauma, grief, loss, and extraordinarily stressful events. This type of "fatigue reaction" and its consequences are recognized as "counselor impairment" by the American Counseling Association's Taskforce on Counselor Wellness and Impairment. The American Psychological Association (APA) has also been proactive in self-care practices for "impaired psychologists," and it established a task force in 1986 to address such issues. The American Medical Association (AMA) recognizes a similar condition called "physician impairment," defined basically as a physical, mental, and behavioral disorder that hinders the physician's ability to safely treat patients. The nursing profession for years has called this compassion fatigue. Regardless of the term used, there appears to be a mind, body, and spiritual cost to both the individual and the profession.
The unique approach communicated throughout Empathy Fatigue is the emphasis on promoting self-care approaches for the wounded healer. Overall, this book honors the collective wisdom of indigenous cultural practices and philosophical beliefs with regard to healing the healer's mind, body, and spirit.
Emotions: Their Rationality & Consistency by Marion Ledwig (Peter Lang Publishing) stands in the tradition of current emotion theorists, such as Elster, Damasio, de Sousa, Greenspan, Nussbaum, and Solomon, who advance the rationality of the emotions. Yet this book goes beyond their accounts, for it not only defends the view that emotions can be termed rational, but also considers in which different senses emotions can be termed rational. Besides discussing whether emotional intelligence and emotional consistency are forms of emotional rationality, this book makes clear how far this view on the rationality of the emotions can be generalized: whether it can, for instance, be generalized to computers having rational emotions and whether emotional responses to art can be considered to be rational. This book draws not only on knowledge from neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind, but also on evolutionary theory and developmental psychology, to substantiate its position. More
Rational Animals? edited by Susan Hurley, Matthew Nudds (Oxford University Press) Are any nonhuman animals rational? What issues are we raising when we ask this question? Are there different kinds or levels of rationality, some of which fall short of full human rationality? Should any behaviour by nonhuman animals be regarded as rational? What kinds of tasks can animals successfully perform? From what kinds of processes does their behaviour result, and do they count as rational processes? Is it useful or theoretically justified to raise questions about the rationality of animals at all? Should we be interested in whether they are rational? Why does it matter?
This book pursues these questions both theoretically and empirically. The contributors include distinguished philosophers, as well as scientists who report and reflect on their work with such impressive animals as Kanzi the bonobo, Betty the New Caledonian crow, Sheba the chimpanzee, Sweetie-Pie the scrub jay, Akeakamai the bottlenose dolphin, and Alex the African Grey parrot. Studies of different species are brought together for comparison, and philosophical arguments about rationality are brought into contact with empirical evidence of the behavioural and cognitive capacities of animals. Sections of the volume focus on various types and levels of rationality, on rational versus associative processes, on metacognition and metarepresentation, on social behaviour and cognition, on mind reading versus behaviour reading, and on behaviour and cognition in symbolic environments. An editorial introduction provides an analytical framework for the issues discussed by contributors and a comparative summary of the chapters.
Contributors: Elsa Addessi, Colin Allen, Jose Luis Bermudez, Sarah T Boysen, Josep Call, Nicola S Clayton, Richard Connor, Gregory Currie, Anthony Dickinson, Fred I Dretske, Nathan J Emery, William M Fields, Louis M Herman, Cecilia Heyes, Susan Hurley, Alex Kacelnik, Janet Mann, Ruth G Mikan, Matthew Nudds, David Papineau, Irene M Pepperberg, Daniel Povinelli, Jolle Proust, Duane M Rumbaugh, E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Sara J Shettleworth, Kim Sterelny, Jennifer E Sutton, Michael Tomasello, Alain J-P Tschudin, Elisabetta Visalberghi, Jennifer Vonk
Are any non-human animals rational? What issues are we raising when we ask this question? Are there different kinds or levels of rationality, some of which fall short of full human rationality? Should any behaviour by non-human animals be regarded as rational? What kinds of tasks can animals successfully perform? What kinds of processes control their performance at these tasks, and do they count as rational processes? Is it useful or theoretically justified to raise questions about the rationality of animals at all? Should we be interested in whether they are rational? Why does it matter?
The contributors to this volume approach these questions from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. Contributors include distinguished philosophers as well as scientists, who report and reflect on their work with such impressive animals as Kanzi the bonobo, Betty the New Caledonian crow, Sheba the chimpanzee, Sweetie-Pie the scrub jay, Akeakamai the bottlenose dolphin, and Alex the African grey parrot. The volume aims both to bring leading empirical work with different species together for comparison, and to bring philosophical arguments about rationality into contact with empirical evidence of the behavioural and cognitive capacities of animals.
Section 1.1 of this chapter provides a landscape of theoretical issues and distinctions that bear on attributions of rationality to animals; it can be read independently of the synopses of chapters, which follow in the remaining sections. These summarize the arguments of the chapters in each of the volume's six parts, on: types and levels of rationality (Section 1.2); rational versus associative processes (Section 1.3); metacognition
(Section 1.4); social behaviour and cognition (Section 1.5); mind reading and behaviour reading (Section 1.6); and behaviour and cognition in symbolic environments (Section 1.7). The introduction as a whole aims to provide a substantive and self-standing survey of the topic of animal rationality that is accessible to students and researchers in different disciplines, including philosophy and various sciences…
Why, then, does it matter whether animals are rational? It matters both for our understanding of other animals and of ourselves. We live with animals, we interact with them and use them in our daily lives, and share a planet with them. Yet we see ourselves as discontinuous from them in important ways. Rationality is one of the main hooks on which human distinctiveness and specialness has been hung. We treat rationality as having intrinsic worth, in addition to sentience. If a creature can feel pain, we feel we ought to avoid making it suffer unnecessarily, but we may not on that account grant it the additional intrinsic value and dignity associated with rationality. Understanding whether and in what ways non-human animals can be rational may prompt us to rethink human rationality, our relations to other animals, and our own irrationalities. Perhaps our rationality is more piecemeal, less theoretical, more embedded in and conditioned by our environments than we realize. The possibility of explaining relatively complex animal behaviour by appealing to a variety of relatively simple, domain-specific processes may lead us to re-evaluate our presuppositions about human rationality and to ask whether we are operating a double standard in assessing human vs. animal rationality (see and cf. Shettleworth 1998, 563). On a disaggregated view of rationality, there is no single boundary distinguishing the human mind from other animal minds in respect of rationality; rather, there are various specific dimensions of comparison. Making comparisons across species and with human beings in this way elucidates the extent to which the abilities of different animals and of humans can be explained by appealing to similar kinds of processes, and in what sense these processes are rational. Should this rethinking debunk human rationality? Not necessarily. Rather, it may help us to understand it better, and to understand the continuities as well as the discontinuities between human and other animals.
Clinical Values: Emotions That Guide Psychoanalytic Treatment by Sandra Buechler (Psychoanalysis in a New Key: Analytic Press) In this refreshingly honest and open book, Sandra Buechler looks at therapeutic process issues from the standpoint of the human qualities and human resourcefulness that the therapist brings to each clinical encounter. Her concern is with the clinical values that shape the psychoanalytically oriented treatment experience. How, she asks, can one person evoke a range of values -- curiosity, hope, kindness, courage, sense of purpose, emotional balance, the ability to bear loss, and integrity - in another person and thereby promote psychological change? For Buechler, these core values, and the emotions that infuse them, are at the heart of the clinical process. They permeate the texture and tone, and shape the content, of what therapists say. They provide the framework for formulating and working toward treatment goals. And they keep the therapist emotionally alive in the face of the often draining vicissitudes of the treatment process. Clinical Values: Emotions That Guide Psychoanalytic Treatment is addressed to therapists young and old. By focusing successively on different emotion-laden values, Buechler shows how one value or another can center the therapist within the session. Taken together, these values function as a clinical compass that provides the therapist with a sense of direction and militates against the all too frequent sense of "flying by the seat of one's pants." Buechler makes clear that the values that guide treatment derive from the full range of the clinician's human experiences, and she is admirably candid in relating the personal experiences - from inside and outside the consulting room - that inform her own matrix of clinical values and her own clinical approach. A compelling record of one gifted therapist's pathway to clinical maturity, Clinical Values has a more general import: It exemplifies the variegated ways emotion informs effective psychodynamic process.
Excerpt: Many years ago I treated John, a young outpatient, shortly after he was released from a brief hospitalization. He presented a history of profound childhood neglect in an affectless, matter-of-fact tone. His speech and his movements had a rigid quality. Even my inexperienced eye could see his extreme loneliness. Rituals had more or less taken over his life. There was a proper way to wash, dress, sleep, eat. He spent much of his time and effort making sure he adhered to the rules.
Without the benefit of much theory or training, I attempted to get to know this young man. I thought of him as having been starved for attention and concern. Not knowing what to do for him, I vaguely tried to supply some of what I felt had been missing.
In an attempt to respond empathically, I found myself speaking with more than my usual affectivity. I answered much of what he said by adding an affective component. I guessed at what I imagined he must have felt while going through his mechanized routines.
I did not really think about this patient diagnostically, and I wasn't concerned about what could happen if I broke through his schizoid and obsessional defenses. My only aim was to supply the missing affect in his speech and, more generally, in his life.
Like many instances of sincere, highly motivated clinicians treating severely disturbed patients early in their careers, I believe I did this man some good. About two years into the work, he began prefacing descriptions of his activities with something like "You would say I felt anxious (or angry, fearful, happy, etc.)." I was much encouraged by this change, feeling it to be progress. We worked together for about four years, during which the patient seemed to loosen up. He got into college and I felt there was some chance he could function well enough to create a viable social and academic life. I heard from him many years later, and he seemed to be doing well.
What happened? Did Ido anything more than just improve this patient's vocabulary for affective experience? Would I work any differently with him now?
I'd like to believe what would change most is how I would think about John and his treatment, but not so much what I would actually do. I hope I would still experiment as I did then, creating a language and a way to work together.
But now certain concepts that I have developed over the years would accompany me as I worked with this patient. I believe these ideas would help me bear the process. With them I would feel less profoundly lonely. In a 1998 paper, I tried to distinguish the clinician's inevitable aloneness from painful loneliness. We can't help being alone sometimes, the only one who knows how hard we are trying and what we are attempting to do. But we can be less lonely if our minds are furnished with familiar concepts and well-established inner supervisory objects. These intimately known ideas and identifications can ground the analyst who is venturing to experiment with technique. These concepts help me feel I am still me, doing the work my way, even thought am in some respects working differently from how I usually do.
First among these framing ideas for me is the concept of the emotional system. Being a patient requires enough curiosity, hope, joy, and love to sustain the work. It is sometimes necessary to be able to bear surprise. Often anger is an essential motivating force to drive the work forward. I have seen patients fight for their lives, partly in an angry response to obstacles. But the patient's level of shame, guilt, contempt, sadness, depression, and loneliness must be bearable enough for treatment to continue. Too much shame can make the self-exposure of being a patient too painful to go on. Too much anxiety can prohibit risking change. If the patient is too lonely in the treatment hour, she may not find the will to keep working.
I have been deeply influenced by my reading of emotion theory and its conception of the place of emotions in human functioning . For me many concepts from this theory have direct clinical application. I make liberal use of ideas from emotion theory in my work. For example, the conception of health that informs my sense of the goal of treatment includes a place for each of the fundamental emotions. Human beings respond to life with joy, surprise, sadness, anger, fear, shame, guilt, and other emotions. I believe that we each have a "theory" of healthy emotionality that plays an important role in our clinical work, but frequently the analyst has never articulated this theory and is not aware of its sources or impact. I try to spell out my own personal use of emotion theory in this book.
With my patient John, for example, basic tenets of emotion theory could provide a shared language about life. This goes beyond being able to talk to him of joy, curiosity, shame, anger, fear, and guilt. It also goes beyond lending me absolute conviction that he was subject to all of the emotions common to human beings, whether or not he could presently be aware of them. Furthermore, it goes beyond assuming that discriminating nuances of differences among his emotional experiences would be vital to the treatment.
Emotion theory provides tenets about being human. It includes the assumption that emotions are fundamentally adaptive. They are, at essence, not experiences to be reduced. Some may be unpleasant, and many may have to be borne, but even with these it is primarily other emotions that will help. Curiosity can often delimit anger or fear. Shame and guilt modulate the expression of other emotions. Love affects all of what we feel, as well as what we do. Emotions are the most powerful modulators of other emotions. They motivate us and are central to our conceptions of ourselves. Part of how I know myself is by knowing how I characteristically bear anger, for example. I believe it is crucial to the development of a person to become active in finding ways to use anger productively, when that is possible.
Had I known emotion theory when I worked with John, I would have brought to the work a strong conviction about the part emotions play in human experience. I still would have had to experiment with how to talk to John about emotions, but I would have understood more about the meaning of being able to attach words to felt experiences. More crucially, I would have brought rich cultural, theoretical, and personal resources to our work. Every lesson I have ever learned about being an emotional human being would be available to me when I was with John. Every experience I have had trying to use anger, fear, shame, and guilt productively would be with me. Emotion theory gives the analyst and patient a language in that it provides a set of assumptions about the role emotions play in life. With John, I instinctively focused on the absence of expressed emotions, but I felt I was groping. With emotion theory I think I would have felt less alone in the work. I also would have brought to it a set of beliefs that could have allowed me to tap into all of my experience of being human as I tried to make contact with John.
I imagine that now my work with this patient would be easier for me. For one thing, my conception of the human challenges we all face would equip me with ideas about what to listen for in the patient's language. But I also think that I would feel less alone. Now, while in the presence of this profoundly unemotional, unconnecting man, I could inwardly relate to my own analysts, supervisors, teachers, writers, and others who have contributed to my understanding of the clinical situation. Because of this I might now feel more whole.
Adult Crying: A Biopsychosocial Approach by Ad J. J. M. Vingerhoets, Randolph R. Cornelius (Brunner Routledge) Everyone cries. Our lives begin with a cry that brings relief to our mothers because it is a sign that we are in good shape after our entrance into the world. As babies, most of us go on to cry on a regular basis‑even if we are not cry babies‑because this is the one means we have to attract the attention of our parents or caretakers and to indicate that we are in need of food or comfort, or that we are in pain. As Darwin (1872) noted in his observations of his infant son William, a baby's cries of hunger, frustration, and distress are soon accompanied by tears, and thus a mystery is presented. While many animals utter distress cries, humans appear to be the only animals that shed emotional tears. If this is indeed the case, then we must ask, Why tears? What functions do tears serve? How did emotional tearing evolve? What is the relationship between crying considered as an acoustic distress call and the shedding of emotional tears?
The mystery of the origin of tears is complemented by others: As we grow up and acquire the verbal skills to communicate our wants, needs, pains, and frustrations, we begin to cry less. But in some conditions, even for the most emotionally reserved of us, we nevertheless find ourselves with tears in our eyes. Why, if we can communicate our distress in other ways, do we still find it necessary to cry? Why does our crying change form from primarily acoustic to visual/acoustic? What does crying communicate to others? To ourselves? What do we know about the situations that make us cry? About the emotions that elicit and accompany crying? People differ considerably in why, when, and how much they cry. What do we know about the underlying causes of these differences? What are the contributions of nature and nurture to such differences? Are there cultural differences in the frequency and experience of crying? Is crying healthy? These are some of the questions that inspired us to assemble the contributions to this book.
When we began our respective research programs on crying, we were surprised to learn that so little was known about crying and that what there was consisted of much more speculation than theory driven research. Adult crying in many ways still is `terra incognita' in the behavioral sciences. Therefore, we felt that it was most appropriate and timely to assemble a book that not only summarizes the state‑of‑thescience of crying, but that also would inspire scholars to start their own research programs on crying and to formulate specific hypotheses about the functions of crying and how crying relates to and is influenced by both personal and environmental factors.In putting together this book, we wanted to pay attention to all relevant aspects of adult crying (this includes taking a brief look at infant crying) and sought contributions from researchers all over the world who are currently studying adult crying. We challenged the contributors to discuss all the phenomena that they felt might play a role in adult crying. The ultimate aim of this volume is to come to the formulation of a preliminary model of crying that might be helpful in generating testable hypotheses and directing further research in this area. Of course, it is up to the reader to decide to what extent we have been successful in achieving these goals.
Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealously by Kristjan Kristjansson (Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory: Routledge) is a topical and controversial discussion of the ethical and moral problems surrounding emotions. Kristjan Kristjansson challenges the usual view of emotion as a negative influence on the formation of proper moral judgment, using pride and jealousy as examples of two emotions that are essential to harmonious human existence. He argues that experience of the traditionally `negative' emotions of pride and jealousy is not evidence of moral failing, but rather that these supposed vices contribute to a well‑rounded, virtuous life.
Justifying Emotions begins with a critical introduction to cognitive theories of the emotions, before going on to consider the place of the emotions in moral theories such as utilitarianism and virtue ethics. Detailed defences of both pride and jealousy follow a discussion of the nature of moral and emotional excellence. A final chapter is dedicated to issues surrounding the teaching of virtue and the education of the emotions.
Kristjansson's first aim in this book is to explore the moral justification of emotion, and the link between this justification and the notions of moral and emotional excellence. His second aim is to give a more sympathetic hearing to the emotions of pride and jealousy, arguing that a certain kind of pride is actually necessary for personhood and that jealousy is necessary to maintain pride and self‑respect. Kristjansson concludes that not experiencing the emotions of pride and jealousy, when called for, would be evidence of a moral failing.
Justifying Emotions: Pride and Jealousy makes a thought‑provoking and practical contribution to the current debate on the emotions and is sure to spark greater concern about the `negative' emotions in general. It will be of interest to the general reader, in addition to students and professionals working in the areas of philosophy, psychology and education.
Author summary: No scholarly treatment of the emotions must stray too far afield from everyday experiences. That is a crucial mission statement for any `Aristotelian naturalist at heart', as I described myself in the preface. In order to understand and evaluate the emotions, we must know what people are like: what they think, say, and do in everyday encounters. In his ethical writings, Aristotle famously synthesized an account of moral virtues and emotions by considering virtue expressed in fine emotion as well as in fine action, and treating emotions as morally evaluable aspects of character. This is why the recent resurgence of Aristotelianism and the current fad for so-called virtue ethics may seem to bode well for the reinstitution of the emotions into moral and educational discourse. Indeed, some writers think that the moral significance of the emotions can only be adequately captured in terms of such a virtue‑based conception of morality. I agree that virtue ethics has done a lot of good for emotion research, if only by reintroducing a value‑laden focus on the emotions. In the end, however, I shall be tempted to reject virtue‑based ethics as a general touchstone by which to judge the moral soundness of our actions and emotions, opting instead for a sophisticated form of utilitarianism.
In spite of my (rather subtle) differences with virtue ethicists, I agree with their presupposition that we need a touchstone before we can start to take measurements. As Martha Nussbaum puts it, one cannot `say what role emotions should play in morality (...] without defending an overall normative view'. This is why I have written chapter 2 about the credentials of a general moral theory: a chapter that I hope the reader will not view as a distracting detour from the main line of discussion, but rather as a crucial backdrop for the moral assessment of particular emotions. Perhaps the only serious strategic weakness in Ben‑Ze'ev's monumental work mentioned above is that he does not precede his discussions of the moral standing of different emotions by an argued defense for a substantive moral theory. Thus, the springboard from which his evaluations are launched is unclear. While it may be true that the theoretical differences between general moral standpoints are often over‑emphasized and their similarities under‑appreciated, there are surely more moral theories to choose from than there are snakes in Iceland. I should not be understood as claiming here that the reader will not glean enough from Ben‑Ze'ev's nuanced account of individual emotions, or from my defense of pride and jealousy, to be able to form his own coherent stance on the morality of emotions without a sophisticated understanding of moral theory; I am not raising a red flag for non‑experts based on the intricacies of moral philosophy. Most readers, however, should be aware of enough cases of persons committing evil deeds and thinking evil thoughts because `they feel so right', to sympathies with an attempt to give a moral view of the emotions a firm theoretical grounding.
More specifically, I discuss in chapter 2 the advantages of Aristotelian essentialism and a general naturalist approach to morality and the emotions, an exploration which leads me through the shortcomings of virtue ethics to the untapped sources of utilitarianism. In particular, I consider at length the way in which liberalism fails to guide satisfactorily our emotional life, and the way in which virtue ethics also fails to do so in times of emotional conflict, owing to its insensitivity to the ubiquity of tragic moments in human life.
In chapter 3 I then ponder the nature and conditions of moral and emotional excellence. As the reader will already have seen, my line of argument follows a deductive pattern: I move from general questions about the nature of emotions, via considerations of what constitutes a moral justification of emotions, to a discussion of the virtuous life. Only after having established these general points do I venture to descend to the particularities of the specific emotions under scrutiny. That transition takes place in this chapter. I begin by discussing personhood, integrity, and self‑respect, and then, subsequently, shift the attention to an historically important character ideal: Aristotle's megalopsychia, his crown of the virtues. From the explication of that ideal then flows naturally a characterization of pridefulness as concern with, and heightened sensitivity to, (simple) pride, shame, and external recognition.
`Is such sensitivity to be psychologically recommended or abhorred?' is the basic question in chapter 4, which develops and argues for the value of pridefulness, rejecting one by one the most common objections against it. The typical criticisms given, that pridefulness is a vestige from primitive `shame‑societies', that it makes a person dependent on moral luck, fosters respect for the extraordinary rather than the ordinary, and fails to pay heed to the virtue of humility, do not, on close inspection, detract from the merits of this emotion.
In chapter 5 I then attempt, similarly, to give jealousy its due. That can, however, only be done by relocating the emotion within its conceptual framework and, especially, by rethinking the relationship between jealousy and envy. Indeed, contrary to the almost general consensus in other, previous, accounts, I argue that jealousy is best seen as a certain type of envy. I acknowledge the importance of sexual jealousy, but also show why more lessons can be learnt about the moral standing of this emotion by looking at it in non‑sexual, but no less typical, contexts. When defending jealousy, I pay special attention to the way in which it needs to be contrasted with meanness and spite.
In chapter 6 I provide guidance as to how the emotions, in general, and pridefulness and jealousy, in particular, should be cultivated and schooled: What is the significance of early emotion education? Why do many reasonable people entertain lingering doubts about the feasibility of moral and emotional schooling? How can the emotions really be trained in practice? Is it possible to teach pridefulness and jealousy without inculcating arrogance and meanness? Of particular concern in this chapter is my argument that education for pride and jealousy need not be elitist: a pursuit that enlists the help of an unlikely ally, Nietzsche.
Finally, in chapter 7 I summarize the threads of the foregoing discussion. I also explain there why my defense of pride and jealousy does not necessarily apply to other commonly stigmatized emotions, some of which may be negative beyond redemption. Indeed, concerning the emotions of pride and jealousy themselves, it should be made clear at the outset, to avoid any premature misconstrual, that my objective is not to defend these two emotions in all cases. To be sure, there are instances of pride and jealousy that have no redeeming features whatsoever. My defense is that of proper pride (qua pridefulness) and proper jealousy, the fundamental idea being that both emotions can be experienced in the right circumstances towards the right objects and at the right time. That these emotions can also be improperly experienced does not, as such, tell against the plausibility of their moral justification, for, as the Latin has it, abusus non tollit usum: abuse is no argument against proper use.
This book is intended neither as a textbook nor as a literature survey. However, my discussion contains much polemical matter, and I ruthlessly ignore the message of Nietzsche's diatribe against those bad readers who, `proceeding like plundering soldiers' pick up the few things that they can use from their interlocutors and disregard the rest. While I do not pretend to have recorded every point in which I agree or disagree with previous accounts of the topics under discussion, I repeatedly delve into the existing literature to seek support, or polemical targets, for my own views. There are two simple reasons for this method, neither of which is, I hope, merely a camouflage for the old truth that criticizing others' arguments is easier than formulating one's own. First, given the relatively wide audience for which this book is aimed, it is necessary to provide a feel of the existing literature. Second, I am a firm believer in J. S. Mill's view that one's opinions are never sharpened to a finer edge than when they collide with those of others. Thus, coming to grips with what previous authors have said becomes a helpful stage in the process of formulating one's own coherent stance and of giving the reader a taste of the challenges it faces.
Expressing Emotion: Myths, Realities, and Therapeutic Strategies by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Jeanne C. Watson (Guilford Press) is the link between internal experience and the outside world. It is intimately connected to who we are, how we feel, and how we relate to others. In daily life, expression enables people to communicate with each other and influence relationships; in psychotherapy, it provides important information about how clients are feeling and how they are relating to the therapist. This lucid volume examines expressions of such feelings as love, anger, and sadness, and highlights the individual and interpersonal processes that shape emotional behavior. It offers a lively and comprehensive discussion of the role of emotional expression and nonexpression in individual adaptation, social interaction, and therapeutic process.
Drawing upon extensive theory and research, the authors provide coherent guidelines to help clinicians, researchers, and students identify, conceptualize, and treat problems in emotional behavior. They show that expression and nonexpression come in many different forms, with a wide range of personal and relational consequences. The effects of expressing one's feelings depend on what is expressed, to whom, in what way, and in what context. Expression can lead to greater self-knowledge, enhanced coping, and fuller intimacy, but it can also result in embarrassment, misunderstanding, or rejection. Conversely, nonexpression can involve a frustrating lack of opportunity to express, or problems in accessing or articulating feelings, but it can also reflect cultural values or effective coping efforts. Through vivid clinical examples, the authors illuminate a range of problems related to both expression and nonexpression, and provide insight into how these can be addressed in individual and couple therapy.
Excerpt: Both popular culture and clinical lore contain a belief that people MUST express their emotions or "bad" things will happen to them, physically or psychologically. On talk shows, over dinner tables, in private diaries, and in psychotherapy offices, emotional expression is commonplace. This venting of emotions is fueled in part by the pervasive belief in our society in the importance of "letting one's feelings out" rather than "bottling them up." In support of this belief, numerous empirical studies have demonstrated mental and physical health benefits associated with emotional expression, as well as psychophysiological costs associated with inhibited expression.
Countering the belief that expressing emotions is healthy is the similarly pervasive belief that NOT expressing emotions is a sign of strength or maturity or even virtue. In the media, romantic heroes still tend to be "the strong, silent type." Moreover, describing someone by saying, "Oh, she is very emotional" is usually not a compliment. It carries the connotation that this person is somehow childish or lacking in self-control. This belief that nonexpression is preferable to expression also has some empirical support. Expression can intensify distress, and it can interfere with active coping efforts. Unrestrained expression can also have a destructive influence on interpersonal relationships.
Either belief, that expressing emotions is universally adaptive or maladaptive, is a black-and-white view of phenomena with numerous shadings. In this book, we hope to capture the complexity of both expression and nonexpression, in order to clarify when and how they are related to well-being. We draw upon the breadth of theory and research on this topic and present it in the context of a coherent conceptual framework. We describe the role of expression in individual and social functioning, emphasizing its importance in daily life as well as in clinical practice.
Throughout the book we refer to several key terms: Emotional experience is the subjective, felt sense of emotional responses. We define emotional expression as observable verbal and nonverbal behaviors that communicate and/or symbolize emotional experience. Expression can occur with or without self-awareness, it is at least somewhat controllable, and it can involve varying degrees of deliberate intent. Nonexpression is the lack of expression. We use the term emotional behavior to refer to EITHER expression or nonexpression. Expression and nonexpression are overt manifestations, which may or may not correspond to covert processes, like emotional experience. So, for example, one person might refrain from expressing even though she is experiencing a great deal of emotion. Another person might express vociferously, while experiencing only a minor degree of emotion.
Emotional expression is the link between internal experience and the outside world. As such, it carries enormous theoretical and practical importance. In daily life, expression is the means by which people communicate experience and influence relationships. In therapy, emotional behavior provides important information about how clients are feeling, how they are managing their feelings, and how they are relating to the therapist. However, expression and nonexpression come in many different forms, which can have many different consequences for well-being. In the next section, we describe some of these varieties of emotional behavior.
Varieties of Nonexpression
Whether a particular instance of emotional behavior is adaptive or maladaptive depends on the form and the context of that behavior. Looking first at nonexpression, there are many reasons why people might not express their emotions. For example, they might not recognize their emotions, they might dislike expression, or they might not have the opportunity to express. Different causes of nonexpression can yield different consequences.
Consider the case of a rape survivor who insists that she is "over" the rape and says she wants to have an intimate relationship with a man. However, she is puzzled by the fact that every time she starts to get close to a man, she finds a reason to break off the relationship. This might be an instance of nonexpression due to unrecognized feelings. Perhaps, for this woman, being in a close relationship evokes feelings of fear, vulnerability, or shame. Maybe she is not consciously aware of these feelings, or maybe she just interprets them as dissatisfaction with the man. This kind of nonexpression can be harmful when it entails difficulties in understanding one's own emotional experience and using this understanding to guide behavior in an adaptive way. For example, this woman might be focusing on meeting Mr. Right when her difficulties have more to do with coping with the feelings evoked by staying with Mr. Right. In order to change her pattern of prematurely ending relationships, it might be important for this woman to become aware of and to express (to herself, to her lover, perhaps with the help of a therapist) whatever the feelings are that have lead her to break off relationships in the past.
On the other hand, consider a recently unemployed man who values self-control and stoicism in the face of adversity. He is acutely aware of his feelings of failure or betrayal, but nevertheless believes that the best way to handle these feelings is to bravely march forward. In this case, nonexpression reflects personal beliefs and attitudes which are closely tied to this man's sense of identity. For him, nonexpression might be an adaptive coping strategy. Being able to control his emotional behavior is central to his sense of personal competence, and, for him, it could be an important prerequisite to actively dealing with his unemployment.
Still another example of nonexpression is a lonely teenager who relocates because of his parents' divorce. He is filled with a variety of complicated and conflicting feelings, such as anger and relief, guilt and betrayal, sadness and hope. However, because of the move, he no longer has a close group of friends in whom he can confide. He is far away from his father. He senses that his mother is preoccupied with and more than a bit overwhelmed by the process of setting up a new life for them, so he is reluctant to "burden" her with his feelings. He feels the strain of wanting to express his feelings but believing that he can't. This form of nonexpression, which stems from perceptions of the social environment as prohibiting expression, can compound distress and may even compromise physical health.
All three of these examples involve a lack of overt expressive behavior, but they represent different forms of nonexpression. The rape survivor's nonexpression involves a lack of conscious awareness of her feelings. The unemployed man's nonexpression stems from personal values, and the teenagers nonexpression involves a perceived lack of opportunity to express. Because these different forms of nonexpression involve various degrees of understanding and acceptance of emotional experience, we believe they have different consequences for well-being. Varieties of Expression
The effects of expressing emotions also vary, depending on what is expressed, to whom, and how. Expression can contribute to self-knowledge, and it is necessary for the development of emotional intimacy, but it is a risky undertaking. Even when they believe expression is important, people may be ambivalent about expressing their feelings or having someone else express to them. For example, Pennebaker describes how, only three weeks after the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco, 80% of area residents said that they wanted to talk about the quake, but less than 60% said they wanted to hear about it. In fact, about one month after the quake, T-shirts began appearing saying, "Thank you for not sharing your earthquake experience." When someone expresses emotions, particularly intense, negative emotions, it can be frightening, stressful, or overwhelming for the recipient. If recipients of emotional expression respond negatively, the person expressing might feel rejected, misunderstood, embarrassed, or betrayed.
The complexity of the relationship between expression and well-being is apparent when we consider the example of anger expression within a marriage. Ideally, when couples express anger, they feel better afterward: they resolve their conflict, they gain mutual understanding, and they have a greater sense of satisfaction with the relationship. However, expressing anger can also make couples feel worse. Sometimes anger expression deteriorates into an exchange of increasingly hostile criticisms, aimed at hurting the other partner rather than resolving any issues. Which pattern prevails depends on how the partners express their feelings and the overall relationship context of that expression. Is the level of anger expression moderate or intensely negative? Do the partners couch negative statements within a framework of relationship building remarks or are they completely hostile? How do they respond to each other's expressions? Do they acknowledge the partner's comments or just counterattack? Do the partners generally have positive or negative views of each other and their relationship? Is anger expression a relatively rare occurrence between them or are they constantly battling each other?
This kind of multifaceted understanding of the various forms of expression and nonexpression is critically important in clinical work. Many psychotherapy clients present difficulties that can be understood as problems related to emotional behavior. Some clients have explosive outbursts of expression; others show highly constricted expression; still other clients vacillate between these extremes. Each of these patterns can be maladaptive.
In general, therapists need to help clients find a delicate balance in their emotional expression, so that clients can (1) understand their feelings rather than be overwhelmed by them, (2) harness the energy of their emotions for planning and action rather than be either thoughtlessly driven by it or paralyzed by it; and (3) communicate their emotional experience to others in a way that enhances interpersonal functioning rather than impairs it. This delicate balance entails using expression as a means of gaining self-understanding and relating to others in life-enhancing ways. It involves reflecting upon emotional experience and integrating it with other aspects of the self rather than either acting impulsively or shutting oneself off from experience.
The specific ways in which expression is addressed in therapy depend, of course, on the needs of particular clients. For example, therapists might help clients to use expression as a means of processing and symbolizing their emotional experience. They might help clients recognize patterns in their emotional behavior. They might communicate about the impact of clients' expression or nonexpression on the therapist, which could be important information for understanding the clients' other relationships. Therapists might also facilitate clients' efforts to use new forms of emotional expression.
In summary, emotional behavior (i.e., expression or nonexpression) plays a key role in individual adjustment, social interaction, and therapeutic process. So far, in this chapter, we have emphasized a multifaceted view of emotional behavior that takes into account characteristics of the individual and the psychosocial environment. We have suggested that expression or nonexpression can take various forms and can have either positive or negative consequences. What and how people express (or don't express) affects their own emotional experience as well as the nature of their relationships with others.
However, just recognizing that emotional behavior is complicated is not enough. If a multifaceted view of emotional behavior is going to be useful for guiding clinical or empirical understanding, it must to be couched in a coherent framework that provides a systematic way of thinking about the various forms of expression and nonexpression and their various consequences.
Below, we introduce our model of the process of expression and nonexpression. The model serves as the organizing framework for this book. As we describe in later chapters, the model also points to ways of cultivating balance in emotional behavior. Our central thesis in this book is that adaptive emotional behavior is characterized by integration, flexibility, and interpersonal coordination. What is important is not how much people do or do not express, but rather the degree to which they are able to integrate their thinking and their feeling, to draw upon their emotional experience without being driven blindly by it, and to consider the interpersonal impact of their emotional behavior without discounting their own experience.Contents: Introduction 1. Expression, Nonexpression, and Well-Being: An Overview II. Intrapersonal Processes
Feeling in Theory: Emotion After the 'Death of the Subject' by Rei Terada (Harvard University Press) "What starts from a shrewd review of contemporary polemics goes on to take the shape of a theory of emotion of Terada's own, drawn from her analytical reading of poststructuralist writing and of earlier and present-day philosophies of emotion. With Feeling in Theory Terada has produced something excellent and major, both a contribution to poststructuralist theory and its interpretation, and a placing of it in a wider surround." -Cynthia Chase, author of Decomposing Figures "Feeling in Theory takes issue with the often-expressed view that postmodern culture in general, and poststructuralist theory in particular, is hostile to the idea-and even to the very existence-of emotion. Terada argues that what is at stake in these debates isn't really emotion per se, so much as it is the fate of the unified subject. An anxiety over postmodern notions of a foundering subjectivity is what actually underlies all these calls for a return to more conservative aesthetic positions. Emotion is invoked in polemics only because it is thought to be the ultimate guarantor of the subject's integrity; if there are feelings, the argument goes, then there must be a Self present to experience them. Terada shows, however, that this line of argument is deeply problematic, arguing startlingly but quite cogently that there is a fundamental contradiction between emotion or 'experience' on the one hand, and the notion of a unified subjectivity on the other. It is not merely that emotion does not need to be grounded in a subject; but more strongly, that emotion requires the nonexistence of the subject, and that a subject as traditionally conceived could not possibly experience emotion. Terada therefore proposes to develop a poststructuralist theory of emotion."
Excerpt: In parallel to poststructuralist theory, scholarship in gender studies and psychoanalysis has also pursued the possibility of emotion after the death of the subject. Feminist writers have legitimated the whole idea of research on emotion, and have explored myriad emotive contexts-the way gendered social attitudes produce forms of emotion, for example, and fashion literary genres that cultivate certain kinds of emotions.'^ I differ with some feminist views of the discourse of emotion, especially in the literature before about 1990. Feminist criticism used to argue that philosophy slights thought about emotion and even emotion as such, much as it looks down on sentimental art. Erica Harth, writing about Descartes's influence on intellectual women of the ancien regime, contends that dualism "would make of emotion an object of investigation for the dispassionate mind." Emotion tends, however, to occupy a high place in classical models of subjectivity. The example of Descartes is instructive: in The Passions of the Soul, Descartes knows that he has more to gain from tying emotion to reason than from dividing the two. In a complicated series of maneuvers, Descartes links passion, which indicates difference within reason, to a unitary mind, then ascribes subjectivity to that mind on the strength of its ability to encompass passion. For Descartes, thinking is the single employment of the soul as opposed to the body. Thoughts come in two sets, active and passive, the passive thoughts being passions." Although Descartes classifies the passions as thoughts, and they therefore belong to the soul, they are that which, within thought and the soul, are not of them, "for it is often not our soul which makes them such as they are." "Soul" and "thought" ought by rights to be coterminous, since "there is nothing in us which we must attribute to our soul except our thoughts" (Passions of the Soul, 1:335)-the soul is what thinks, and that's all. The passions too are thoughts; Descartes does not assert, as he might have, that passions are nonthoughts that lie outside thought, yet inside the soul. Installing passion within thought allows Descartes to maintain that the soul is unitary, with the single duty of thinking. Still, he admits that "the passions of the soul differ from all its other thoughts". The passions are a distinctive enough kind of thought that the category "thought" almost fails to contain them. The overlapping of thought and passion helps to explain Descartes's stake in the notorious pineal gland. For the very reason that Descartes's thought includes passions, he needs to find an apartment for the soul that avoids the dichotomy of "brain" and "body." He finds in the pineal gland an anatomical "analogue" of the passions." The pineal gland, at the "innermost part of the brain" and yet not just another part of the brain, symbolizes the possibility of an autonomous province, a Vatican City, within the brain. Defensively, it overlocalizes an entity-the soul-that is nowhere to be found. The gland literalizes the internal difference the passions make and the double edge of their location. Kicked upstairs within the thinking soul, passions are both circumscribed and dangerous. This kind of move is far more common than hostility to emotion as such: philosophy vies with emotion by elevating it, not by slighting it. Recent feminist work makes this point powerfully, showing that masculinist models of mind include and indulge emotion, and that nonsubjective engines drive the protocols of emotion and sentimentality.'e
Any theory of emotion today, including nonsubjective theories, owes a debt to psychoanalysis. Freud's investigations of emotion are among a number of earlier approaches-Nietzsche's and Benjamin's work on pathos and allegory, Heidegger's theory of moods-that support the later texts I study here. Emotion in Freud operates very much as a differential force within experience." My goal in these pages cannot be to construct a model of poststructuralist Freudianism, but I write informed by its possibility. The poststructuralist response to Freud matters to emotion in part because of the way it negotiates the tension between negation and repression. Freud recognizes that as a mode of representation, negation includes a positive dimension.z0 Damping feelings produces compensatory displacements that may seem inferior in kind; but negation raises questions for compensation, for it hints that negated feelings may not be less represented than other feelings, and that there may be no undisplaced feelings. Freud deals with such complications in his work on secondary repression; poststructuralist theory picks up the thread. In Foucault's History of Sexuality, repressive power creates displacements, "but also incitement and intensification." Foucault upgrades the intensity of displacements and their continuity with the "polymorphous techniques of power" that form them. Emotion is not as easy to restrain and to release as it would be if it emanated from a subject. Far from implying that emotion is no longer emotive, however, this difficulty characterizes mainline emotion in the first place.
Poststructuralist theory's imagination of emotion differs from the decentered psychology offered by Lacanian psychoanalysis, since Lacan identifies certain discontinuities of experience with subjectivity itself. Thus Slavoj Zlizek presents his reading of Lacan as an extension of classical thought. This orientation appears clearly in Zlizek's recent conversation with Judith Butler: to Butler's assertion that subjectivity begins in the coerced attachment of a child to adults-"passionate attachment"-Zlizek replies that the subject consists in a "primordial abyss of dis-attachment" that precedes attachment: "the need for `passionate attachment' to provide for a minimum of being implies that the subject qua `abstract negativity'-the primordial gesture of dis-attachment from its environment-is already there." Zlizek discovers the subject as a neo-Kantian structure; subjectivity is read out of the experience of disattachment that makes it seem as though a subject were there to be disattached. Poststructuralist and Lacanian theorists thus interpret self-difference in mutually exclusive ways: the regress that, for poststructuralist theorists, impedes the closure of subjectivity just is what Zlizek calls subjectivity. In a 1991 interview, Derrida slips away from the disagreement: "Some might say: but what we call `subject' is not the absolute origin, pure will, identity to self, or presence to self of consciousness but precisely this noncoincidence with self," he notes. "This is a riposte to which we'll have to return. By what right do we call this `subject'? ... By what right, conversely, can we be forbidden from calling this `subject'? Perhaps we'll pick this up again later on." I agree with Thomas Keenan that questions such as "who speaks, reads, acts, takes responsibility or claims rights, if not me?" have "again and again" been answered: "no one," and that "`no one' is not a new name or placeholder for what used to be called the `subject." It is true, however, that self-difference is a crossroads where the merits of subjectivity can be debated without anachronism.
Of the subtheses in this study, two are worth mentioning now. First, the relatively uncontroversial observation that expression is the dominant trope of thought about emotion. The ideology of emotion diagrams emotion as something lifted from a depth to a surface. "The term `emotion,"' James R. Averill points out, "stems from the Latin, e + movere, which originally meant `to move out,' `to migrate,' or `to transport an object.' It is so conventional to think at once of "expression and feelings or emotions," as Jameson puts it, that attacks on expression look like attacks on emotion. One might wonder whether it's really necessary to criticize expression; as an aesthetic doctrine, it seems rather outdated. Although people rarely advocate expression as such, however, current discussions of emotion are ubiquitously expressive. The purpose of expression tropes is to extrapolate a human subject circularly from the phenomenon of emotion. The claim that emotion requires a subject-thus we can see we're subjects, since we have emotions-creates the illusion of subjectivity rather than showing evidence of it. This sleight of mind, in which "expression" serves as the distracting handkerchief, strikes me as self-serving. It is this relatively large complex of circularity, naturalization, and inversion to which I refer as the expressive hypothesis. To object to the expressive hypothesis or any other mechanism of the ideology of emotion is not to discredit emotion, but to extricate it from expedient mythologies.
Mikel Dufrenne's Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience, cited sympathetically by Deleuze in Cinema 1, is a veritable encyclopedia of the ideologies of emotion to which poststructuralism reacts. In Dufrenne subjectivity's reliance on emotional expression is perfectly bare:
It is through what we have said of expression that we can gain an idea of the
primordial reality of affective quality, wherein that part belonging to the
subject and that belonging to the object are still indistinguishable. In fact,
expression is that which reveals affective quality as total and
undifferentiated. Expression exists prior to the distinction between body and
soul, exterior and interior. The container and the contained are not yet
differentiated within expression. Thus a certain melody is tenderness, without
our having to effect a rapprochement between notes taken as a musical reality
and tenderness as an emotional reality. As a word has a sense before being
grasped as a phonetic reality and prior to the distinction between phoneme and
semanteme, so the aesthetic object has a sense before it appears as a material
object or as a signifying object. Affective quality is precisely this sense as
immediately given through the sign. But to be prior to the distinction between
interior and exterior is also to be prior to the distinction between subject and
object, for the interior refers to a subject and the exterior to an object.
Tenderness is at once a quality of Mozart and of a Mozartian melody, as
tenderness is also a quality of the soul and countenance of the mother who
smiles at her baby. Therefore, the creator appears immanent in the work only
because there is a primary state of expression.... Feeling is as deeply
embedded in the object as it is in the subject, and the spectator experiences
feeling because affective quality belongs to the object.
It is through what we have said of expression that we can gain an idea of the primordial reality of affective quality, wherein that part belonging to the subject and that belonging to the object are still indistinguishable. In fact, expression is that which reveals affective quality as total and undifferentiated. Expression exists prior to the distinction between body and soul, exterior and interior. The container and the contained are not yet differentiated within expression. Thus a certain melody is tenderness, without our having to effect a rapprochement between notes taken as a musical reality and tenderness as an emotional reality. As a word has a sense before being grasped as a phonetic reality and prior to the distinction between phoneme and semanteme, so the aesthetic object has a sense before it appears as a material object or as a signifying object. Affective quality is precisely this sense as immediately given through the sign. But to be prior to the distinction between interior and exterior is also to be prior to the distinction between subject and object, for the interior refers to a subject and the exterior to an object. Tenderness is at once a quality of Mozart and of a Mozartian melody, as tenderness is also a quality of the soul and countenance of the mother who smiles at her baby. Therefore, the creator appears immanent in the work only because there is a primary state of expression.... Feeling is as deeply embedded in the object as it is in the subject, and the spectator experiences feeling because affective quality belongs to the object.
Like much of the ideology of emotion, Dufrenne's approach is transcendental. He contends that when we think we feel the "affective quality" of an object, we're not fantasizing; our feeling corroborates the existence of a "primordial reality" of expressiveness. Expression shapes interiority and exteriority "prior to the distinction between subject and object"-which explains circularly why everything fits together in this world. It is the special mission of feelings to identify correspondences, phenomenalizing the unity between subjects and objects. The semantic token of unity is the abstract noun ("tenderness," "quality"). Dufrenne closes with the most rapturous image of emotional connection, the smile exchanged between mother and child. As de Man remarks of similar ideas in Rilke, this kind of "perfect adjustment can take place only because the totality [is] established beforehand"
To make the transmission of emotion maximally efficient, or in Dufrenne's words, to present "affective quality . . . as immediately given through the sign," voice and face become superconductors; the mother's countenance expresses her tender soul. In the case of elite media like the voice or music, de Man suggests, "the analogy between outer event and inner feeling" can be "so close that the figural distance between [outer event] and speech or even music almost vanishes." 28 Vocal and facial diaphaneity expedite the expressive hypothesis and the subject to which they bear illusionistic witness. For complementary reasons, poststructuralist theory's attention to voice and face should be seen as part of its study of emotion. Derrida's deconstruction of phenomenological voice, de Man's theory of prosopopoeia-the figure by which we perceive something as a face-and Deleuze's reflections on "faciality" and the cinematic close-up are episodes in poststructuralism's engagement with emotional experience.
Second, I will refer often to the economy of pathos, the recirculating infinity of feeling living on. In the discourse of emotion, specific emotions appear and disappear, carrying peculiar rationales with them, but there is no such thing as the absence of emotion. Emotions arise from others' subsidence, from reflection on emotions, and from the very absence of any particular thing to feel. While there are differences between individual emotions, second-order emotion is not less emotional as such than first-order emotion. When we're aware of the second-order nature of emotion we call it "pathos" and act as though it were something other than emotion. What is disturbing in the idea of second-order states is not finally position in sequence but supplementarity. Jameson brushes near this point in his meditation on Warhol's "Diamond Dust Shoes." Warhol's print, based on a photographic negative, uses an emotional rhetoric; Jameson notes that it exudes "a strange, compensatory, decorative exhilaration". Ghostly negativity imparts to the shoes a "deathly quality ... that would seem to have nothing to do with death". Objects that seem to have no substance nonetheless seem to have characteristics; objects that seem never to have lived do seem to have died. Jameson contrasts Warholian exhilaration with the depth-effect and "immediacy" of Van Gogh's shoe paintings. Thus he associates pathos with mediation in images-with the realization that images are being produced in series. The image seems off-present, either too early or too late, a pre- or after-image. Parallel to this experience in the image-world is pathos in the emotion-world. Many questions surface here: Why should images that appear to possess a deathly quality invite less emotion than images that appear to possess a lively quality? Can we frame an emotionless moment for which compensatory exhilaration compensates? Is there, in real time, a sequence of reimbursement here, or is that only a way to narrate a complex simultaneity? How do we locate temporally an event that counts as an emotion? Is there anything to do other than feel? Even if the observer does not pity Warhol's shoes as though they were animate, she can still, with equal anthropomorphism, feel sorry for their inability to inspire sorrow. Any apparent ebbing of pathos makes more as well as less pathos: the less pathetic the end of pathos is, the more pathetic it is that it isn't pathetic any more. This regress typifies the structure of emotion (and I do mean emotion)-it describes diamond dust selves.
Keats affords a glimpse into a similar infinity in his poem "Drear Nighted December." Keats's poetic narrator seems to wish he could stop feeling. "Ah! would 'twere," he sighs,
But were there ever any
Writh'd not of passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.
The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration by Peter Goldie (Oxford University Press) is a philosophical essay about emotion. However, in some respects it is, I suppose, not typical of a philosophical monograph. I do not put forward a single, central claim and then seek to defend it against opposing positions. The book proceeds, rather, on a more extended front. It does so in two senses. First, it aims to deepen our everyday commonsense discourse about the phenomena, drawing where relevant both on literature and the empirical sciences. Secondly, it takes as the phenomena not just the emotions, but looks more widely to related phenomena such as consciousness, thought, feeling, imagination, interpretation of action out of emotion and of expression of emotion, moods, and traits of character; emotion cannot be considered in isolation from these other topics. What I hope, therefore, is that someone who has read this book will come away, not so much persuaded of a single, central claim, but rather with a deeper and broader overall understanding of the phenomena, perhaps thinking of them in new and somewhat enlightened ways.
Although, as I say, this book is not centered on a single claim, there are plenty of assertions to be found, and arguments to support them, as well as criticisms of other, opposing views. But, because of the somewhat unusual approach, it may not be clear to the reader right from the beginning just what the book's structural framework is as a whole. So what I would like to do in this chapter is briefly to introduce a number of interlocking themes which run through the book, and which, so to speak, hold together the overall structure and detailed argument. There are five of them.
First, there is the idea of a personal perspective or point of view the point of view of a conscious person, capable of thoughts and feelings, and able to engage in theoretical and practical reasoning. A point of view in this sense can be reported on both first‑personally and third‑personally. Thinking or talking of oneself or of others in this way is thus to be contrasted with the impersonal stance of the empirical sciences, which has no place for a point of view as Such. In the latter stance, human beings are objects of scientific study in just; the same way as the planets are objects of study, things that behave according to the impersonal laws of nature. A number of writers s talk. of the stance of the sciences as being `third‑personal' or `objective', equating these terms with `impersonal'. But `third‑personal' and `objective' are, I think, misleading here, and they are misleading for different reasons. `Third‑personal' is misleading because one cart think and talk of another third‑personally without being impersonal‑without losing sight of the fact that the other person has a point of view; indeed, his having a point of view is presupposed in this way of thinking and talking. And `objective' is, or at least cars be misleading because it is possible to be, from a personal point of view, more or less objective; the notion of objectivity admits of degrees, but the notion of a point of view does not. Therefore, I prefer to talk of the stance of the sciences just as `impersonal', to emphasize the idea that the personal point of view‑and indeed the person‑is lost from this stance. I will be trying to show that our ordinary everyday thought and talk about the emotions and emotional experience is essentially from the personal point of view, and, according to this way of thinking and talking, there is no equivocation in meaning between the first‑personal and the third‑personal; when, for example, I say that I am afraid or that I feel fear, there is no equivocation between this report and my stating that you are afraid or that you feel fear. As a quite general idea, when I think or taut about other people, I can do so third‑personally, without losing sight of the fact that these other people have a point of view, just as I do,
This leads me to the second theme. It is from the personal point of view that reasons, as such, come into sight, both when we are ourselves thinking, feeling, and acting, and when we are trying to understand, explain, and predict others' thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is, at least in part, the point of view of rationality, the point of view from which we interpret ourselves and others. Now, it is a familiar enough notion in philosophy that rationality is essentially normative. The very idea of there being a reason to think or to do something implies, according to this notion, that there is something that you ought to think or to do‑and this `ought' is not used impersonally in the sense we intend when we say that a planet ought to behave according to certain laws of planetary motion.
Although there are important and deep dissimilarities between theoretical and practical reasoning, in both sorts of reasoning, I, the person who is deliberating, have to determine which of the various considerations that might bear on the issue is to count as a reason, and what importance is to be attached to these reasons in reaching my decision as to what to think or what to do; my decision cannot be arrived at deductively or mechanistically. Equally, when I am wondering what you will decide to do, I can wonder what you ought to do, and the `ought' here can have the same sense as it has when I wonder what I ought to do. In other words, it is personal and normative, just as it is for me.
There is, however‑and this is my third theme‑a question of how much work any single notion of rationality can do so far as the emotions are concerned. There are other notions that are also important in understanding, explaining, and predicting what we think, feel, and do in emotional experience: notions such as intelligibility, appropriateness, and proportionality. It is, for example, often perfectly intelligible and entirely human to experience an emotion in certain circumstances (for example, when seeing a low‑flying bat on a moonlit night) where we would not want to say that having this emotional experience was either rational or irrational. Much philosophical work on the emotions tends to over‑intellectualize emotional thought, feeling, and action, seeking to force them into the mould of a rationalizing explanation when often the best one can hope for is an explanation which makes them intelligible. So far as appropriateness and proportionality are concerned, these notions have ethical dimensions which go beyond mere questions of rationality, and which allow for considerable cultural variation through the education of the emotions. Furthermore, all of these notions, intelligibility included, need to be supplemented to allow for individual variations in character: without that, there is no way adequately to distinguish one point of view from another. The idea of making sense of someone thus extends beyond giving a rationalizing explanation of what they think or do, and indeed beyond any other single explanatory notion that might replace that of rationality.
This leads me to my fourth theme, which is also related to the tendency to over‑intellectualize the emotions. I have in mind the tendency either to fail to find a place for feelings in an account of the emotions, or, perhaps equally egregious, to misplace feelings. From the outset, I endorse the view, held at least since the time of Aristotle, that the emotions are intentional‑they are directed towards an object: if I feel fear, then there is something, some object, which is the object of my fear. It is often claimed, however, that this intentionality can be fully captured without reference to feelings, and, further, that this intentionality is sufficient to explain action out of emotion. But then feelings, and a point of view, are left out of the picture. This would, for example, virtually be forced on someone who thought that reasons‑beliefs, desires, and so forth‑can be characterized impersonally and thus from no particular point of view, say in terms of their causal role, in a way which will enable them fully to explain action out of emotion (also characterized impersonally). But then, because it is glaringly obvious that feelings are, to say the least, relevant to emotional experience and cannot be left out of the picture, they then have to be added on, at the end of the story so to speak, for example as comprising awareness of one's bodily condition. My fourth theme is an extended attack on this view‑what I call the add‑on view‑combined with an attempt to find the right place for feelings in emotional experience by introducing the notion of feeling towards. Feeling towards is, I say, an essentially intentional psychological phenomenon with a special sort of emotionally laden content, and it is also one which essentially involves feeling. So my position can be seen as retaining what is right about the traditional view that intentionality is essential to emotion, but bringing in feeling in the right place, as an ineliminable part of the intentionality of emotional experience, as directed towards the world from a point of view, not merely as an afterthought.
The fifth theme is that of narrative structure. It is really a very simple idea. Our lives have a narrative structure‑roughly speaking; they comprise an unfolding, structured sequence of actions, events, thoughts, and feelings, related from the individual's point of view. A narrative, of course, can be recounted in vastly varying degrees of detail: I can summarize my whole life in ten minutes; or I can take an hour to tell you what happened to me in the last twenty-four hours. But, however much detail is provided; to be faithful to the narrative of my life I must show how its parts fit together in a structured way‑making sense from my point of view as part of the whole. (This, as we all know, is often a difficult and painful thing to do.) Similarly, with emotional experience, it is the notion of narrative structure which ties together and makes sense of the individual elements of emotional experience‑thought, feeling, bodily change, expression, and so forth‑as parts of a structured episode; and in turn it underpins the way that individual emotional episodes relate to the emotion of which the episode is a part, and this emotion to mood, to character trait and to character, and to the person's
life seen as a whole. To make sense of one's emotional life, including its surprises, it is thus necessary to see it as part of a larger unfolding narrative, not merely as a series of discrete episodes taken out of, and considered in abstraction from, the narrative in which they are embedded. A true narrative, as I understand it, is not simply an interpretive framework, placed, so to speak, over a person's life; it is, rather, what that life is.
These five themes, then, run through this book. I do not expect them to be persuasive just as they have been put here, briefly and without argument, but I hope their persuasiveness will be cumulative as I progress. Here now is the structure and argument of the book.
In Chapter 2, `What emotions are, and their place in psychological explanation', I introduce the theme of narrative structure in the claim that emotions are complex, episodic, dynamic, and structured. I then go on to discuss the intentionality of emotion; here I consider how conceptual analysis can reveal certain relations between an emotion and the sorts of thoughts that are involved. But it is important straight away to appreciate that someone might have thoughts of the sort that can be part of an emotion, and yet not be experiencing any emotion. At this point I introduce the notion of feeling towards: without having certain feelings towards something, there would be no emotion. Then I consider the important claim that the emotions can be educated: we can be taught, as part of the same education, recognition and emotional response to recognize things as, for example, dangerous, and to respond, appropriately and proportionately, with fear. I discuss in some detail the exact nature of the relation between recognition and response: Is it a conceptual relation or is it merely contingent and psychological? Finally, I consider certain over‑intellectualizing ways of explaining emotion and action out of emotion, showing how these can be faulted for not finding the right place for feelings, and for placing too much emphasis on rationality, as opposed to intelligibility. In particular, I put forward the idea that certain thoughts, including certain desires, paradigmatically involved in emotional experience are primitively intelligible: no further reason (in the personal, normative sense of that term) can be given for these thoughts beyond appeal to the emotion of which the thought is a part.
Chapter 3, 'Emotion and feelings', sets out to find the right place for feelings in emotional experience. I argue for an approach which puts the intentionality of feelings at center‑stage, in the form of feelings towards the object of the emotion, in contrast to those add‑on accounts which merely include feelings‑perhaps feelings of one's bodily condition‑as an afterthought, and not as an essential part of the intentionality of emotion. I make two important distinctions. The first is between bodily feelings and feelings towards. I argue that bodily feelings, such as the feeling of pain in the heart when you are jealous, can have what I call a borrowed intentionality: the pain in your heart can come to be about the object of your emotion. Feeling towards, I argue, is not a psychological phenomenon which can be understood as, or reduced to, any particular sort of attitude or attitudes, such as belief, or desire, or belief and desire; rather, what is peculiar to feeling towards is its special sort of content—content which would not be what it is if the emotion were not being experienced. The second distinction is between reflective and unreflective consciousness: one can be, as I put it, unreflectively emotionally engaged with the world, having feelings towards some object in the world, and yet at that moment not be reflectively aware of having those feelings. I show how the notion of feeling towards can be deployed to explain, amongst other phenomena, how we can, without being irrational in the sense of having conflicting beliefs, feel afraid of something and yet, at the same time, believe that thing not to be dangerous; intuitively, it is perfectly intelligible to be in this condition, and it is important to make sense of it.
Chapter 4, 'Culture, evolution, and the emotions', considers the place of culture and evolution in the development of our emotional capabilities. Intuitively, we want to find a place for both, but conceptually this is no easy task. My approach is first to consider how our capabilities for emotional experience could have been shaped by evolution, and then to see how this can fit in with the idea, introduced in Chapter 1, that an individual's emotional capabilities can be educated. In finding the right place for evolution and culture, I resist in particular what I call the avocado pear conception of the emotions‑the view that our emotional behavior comprises an inner core of `hard‑wired' reaction, and an outer element that is open to cultural influence. This conception is, I think, exemplified in recent versions of the age‑old idea that there are 'basic' emotions which can be identified in commonsense psychology. I put forward an alternative conception according to which our capabilities for emotional experience are plastic or developmentally open. In the process of putting forward this conception, I show why an evolutionary account of the emotions need not be seen as a threat to our everyday commonsense explanations; what such an account should aim to do is to explain those of our emotional desires that are primitively intelligible. But I try to do more than that by drawing on evolutionary theory to give a deeper explanation of certain sorts of weakness of the will or akrasia: when we are in the grip of an emotion we often, as it is sometimes put, get out of control, and act against our own best interests in a way which we later regret‑we 'unthinkingly' lash out in anger, for example. The idea of being in the grip of an emotion‑of being out of control‑lies behind the thought that the emotions are passions for which, unlike actions, we are not responsible. l resist this bald conclusion, arguing instead that we can be responsible for our emotional capabilities, if not for a particular response at a particular time.
Chapter 5, 'Expression of emotion', seeks to understand and explain expression of emotion: for example, baring our teeth in anger, in grief caressing the clothes of the loved one who has just died, and jumping for joy. Expressions of emotion are, I believe, conceptually located somewhere between bodily changes and actions out of emotion. Unlike mere bodily changes, they are, at least sometimes, thins which we do; yet unlike action out of emotion, they do not seem to be adequately explicable in terms of beliefs and desires. 1 try to show that the class of expressions of emotion is heterogeneous, varying widely from things which are very close to mere bodily changes to things which are actions proper. But one factor that unites the class, I argue, is that no genuine expression of emotion is expressed as a means to some further end; to try to explain them thus is to over-intellectualize the emotions. In general, the notion of rationality can do little to explain expression of emotion; far more important are the notions of intelligibility, appropriateness, and proportionality. I discuss a fascinating subclass of expression of emotion, namely actions which are expressive of a wish, many of which can be explained as a sort of channeling of an inappropriate or disproportionate response‑albeit an intelligible one‑away from purposeful action out of emotion into expressive action.
Chapter 6, `Emotion, mood, and traits of character', considers just how closely intertwined these three phenomena are in our commonsense psychology: a person's emotion, mood, and character traits must be viewed as structured parts of a single narrative, and not discretely. I first consider the relation between emotion and mood, arguing that they are to be distinguished, broadly, by the degree of specificity of their object. However, I go on to argue that this broad distinction should not force us to lose sight of how closely they are related: mood can `focus' into emotion and emotion can blur out of focus into mood. I also consider how emotion and mood can influence, and be influenced by, action; action too is an integral part of the narrative. I then turn to character traits. Here my overall strategy is a defense of our everyday practice of giving explanations and making predictions involving reference to traits. Traits of character are (at least typically) dispositions of a certain sort, although this should not lead to the idea that character traits are like dispositions of objects, such as the solubility of a sugar cube; in our practice of trait ascription, when I wonder what you, a kind person, ought to do in these circumstances, the 'ought' is not only predictive; it is also personal and normative. I consider, and acknowledge, the importance of research in empirical psychology which shows that our practice of trait ascription is systematically prone to error (the so‑called fundamental attribution error), but I argue that this is exemplified in what I call our default use of trait terms, and that the error cannot be read across to our more considered trait ascriptions. This considered use of trait terms allows us to find a place for a vital distinction in explanation of why people do not act according to what might be predicted according to their trait: a distinction between justifications and excuses, and, within the class of excuses, a distinction between non‑rational influences on thinking and undue influences on thinking. l apply these distinctions to two well‑known experiments in empirical psychology, one concerning Samaritanism, the other Stanley Milgram's famous obedience experiments.
In Chapter 7, 'How we think of others' emotions', I have the following broad aim: to clear up a wide range of confusions about the various ways in which we can think about, and respond emotionally to, the emotions of other people. Locating my discussion in the context of a debate in the philosophy of mind between proponents of what is called the `theory theory' and proponents of the `simulation approach', I distinguish five central notions, and show how they are distinct, but related in interesting ways: understanding arid explaining someone's emotion, emotional contagion, empathy, imagining yourself in someone else's shoes, and sympathy. I go on to discuss in some detail the need to take account of a person's character when trying to understand, explain, and predict what that person thinks, feels, and does, whether this is done through empathy, through imagining yourself in the other's shoes, or by some other means. I then return to the topic of excuses, and to our failure sometimes to be able to imagine how someone, on an occasion, could act out of character. Finally, I consider sympathy, which is, I argue, quite distinct from the imaginative processes of empathy and imagining yourself in the other's shoes. It is, I think, best understood as a sort of emotion, involving thought about and feelings towards the difficulties of another, motivations to alleviate those difficulties where possible, and characteristic facial expressions and expressive actions.
Finally, Chapter 8, 'Jealousy', is not really dialectically structured; what I try to do is to draw together the themes and arguments of the book into a discussion of a single emotion‑one which is, in many respects, philosophically interesting. Jealousy is especially complex in the thoughts and feelings involved, and in its epistemology; it is almost paradigmatically a passion, and gets us into all sorts of trouble; thoughts about its aetiology can seem to undermine the idea that out feelings of sexual jealousy can be well grounded; and these thoughts can lead in turn to the idea that jealousy is a vice. I argue that this last conclusion is mistaken: a person's disposition to be jealous should be viewed as part of his overall character, and, in certain cases, it can even be a valued trait.
This, then, is the structure and argument of the book, held together by the five interlocking themes which I have outlined: the idea of the personal perspective; the normativity of reasons; the importance, in addition to rationality, of notions of intelligibility, appropriateness, and proportionality; the central place of feelings in emotion, and especially of feelings towards the object of the emotion; and the idea of a narrative that makes sense of a person's life, from that person's point of view. This book too has a narrative structure, and it too seeks to make sense of our lives, not just from my point of view, or just frorn your point of view, but from each of our points of view.
Until quite recently, it would have been fair to say that the emotions have been pretty much neglected in AngloSaxon philosophy of mired (perhaps unsurprisingly, bearing in mind its often determinedly impersonal stance), albeit less so in ethics. This is now beginning quite suddenly to change, although the subject is still not accorded the attention that it merits. Given this fairly recent and sudden increase in interest, it can prove difficult for someone coming new to the subject from a philosophical perspective to orient themselves adequately within the available literature. So what I thought it would be helpful to do is to provide suggestions far further reading which bear on the topic of each chapter, and which can be used as a guide into the subject in conjunction with the full bibliography at the end of the book.
The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis, Gender, and Culture by Nancy J. Chodorow (Yale University Press) In this path breaking book a leading contemporary thinker brings together psychoanalysis, anthropology, and gender analysis to create an original theory about the ways in which we look at ourselves. The "power of feelings"—the individual subjective meanings we bring to our experiences—are at least as important as their cultural and social meanings. The Power of Feelings also presents a major revision of her earlier suppositions about gender identity. Although Chodorow herself emphasizes points of continuity, many readers will be surprised by her accommodation to the difference between psychoanalysis as a universalizing theory and psychoanalysis as therapeutic practice.
Excerpt: In The Power of Feelings two major concerns, and one overarching theoretical stance, weave through the text. First, arguing that meaning as we experience it comes always both from without and from within, I elaborate a theory of meaning. Meaning is an inextricable mixture of the sociocultural and historically contextualized on the one hand and the personally psychodynamic and psycho-biographically contextualized on the other. I argue further, drawing from particular psychoanalytic approaches and from an appeal to the clinical encounter in general, that experienced meaning, as this overlaps and combines the individually idiosyncratic and the cultural, is situated and emergent in particular encounters and particular psychic moments for the individual. Some constructions of meaning may be more likely than others, but neither the intrapsychic nor the interpersonal past, on the one hand, nor the culturally given, on the other, fully determines meaning and experience in the immediacy of the present.Second, a focus on psychoanalysis as a theory about the creation of personal meaning in the immediate present leads me to be concerned, in a thematic rather than direct way, with a tension that confronts case method in general and clinical method in particular. I investigate how we can reconcile an apparently incompatible method and theory: on the one hand, a clinical method that is directed to unraveling, and that documents incontrovertibly, the particularistic uniqueness of each individual psyche and life history and each analytic pair in the unfolding of the treatment and, on the other, a theory that purports to explain and describe how the psycho functions in all humans. In other words, all theories about human functioning, including psychodynamic theories, but also sociocultural theories, by definition make generalizing or universalizing claims, or claims about what is essential to being human. Many but not all of these theories also investigate the particular case, whether this case is historical, ethnographic, biographical, or clinical. That such a tension also resides within psychoanalysis leads to problematic theorizing and has been the focus of just criticism of psychoanalysis from without, even as some of these critics face similar, and similarly unacknowledged, problems in their own fields. Here, I try to develop a theoretical understanding that can both recognize individual clinical uniqueness and make general claims about psychological life and the relations between psyche and culture.
Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions by Jaak
(Series in Affective Science: Oxford University Press) Some investigators have
argued that emotions, especially animal emotions, are illusory concepts outside
the realm of scientific inquiry. In
Jaak Panksepp argues that emotional systems in humans, as well as other animals,
are necessarily combinations of innate and learned tendencies. The book will
appeal to researchers and professors in the field of emotion.
Some investigators have argued that emotions, especially
animal emotions, are illusory concepts outside the realm of scientific inquiry.
With advances in neurobiology and neuroscience, however, researchers are proving
this position wrong while moving closer to understanding the biology and
psychology of emotion. In this text, Jaak Panksepp argues that emotional systems
in humans, as well as other animals, are necessarily combinations of innate and
learned tendencies and that there are no routine and credible ways to really
separate the influences of nature and nurture in the control of behavior. The
book shows how to move toward a new understanding by taking a psychobiological
approach to the subject, examining how the neurobiology and neurochemistry of
the mammalian brain shape the psychological experience of emotion. It includes
chapters on: sleep and arousal; pleasure and pain systems; the sources of rage
and anger; and the neural control of sexuality. The book should appeal to
researchers and professors in the field of emotion.
Emotion is one of those left-aside topics in neuroscience
and cognitive science. Research are facinated by memory, learning, attention,
consciousness even, but until lately, emotion was only discussed in passing.
This book tries to change all that, but maybe seems to take it to far at times,
placing emotion as the fundamental aspect of cognition. Now, there is no
question that emotion is not just another "quale", or a "coloring" of
experience, but a dynamic, multifaceted, evolutionary ancient and complex
system. But I doubt it will turn out to be the key to explaining all of
cognitive abilities, lower, or higher. Obviously emotion was there before higher
executive control, but this does not mean the latter can be reduced to the
former (not that Panksepp explicitly claims this). IT is very interesting
however, to see that emotion may play a big part in the phenomenon of
consicousness (see for example Damasios books, or Douglas Watts work).
Panksepp mainly argues for a subcortical, hypothalamic and
midbrain, and neurochemical substrate of emotion. The amygdala (set as the seat
of emotion in LeDouxs "the emotional brain") regulates the expression of
emotion, but the real players are lower systems, in midbriain mainly. The same
goes to putative cingulate cortex theories of emotion. For Panksepp, the
midbrain is the essential structure for the creation of emotion. These issues
are taken up on the first section on the book But the grander picture in all of
this is that it is clear that there must be an integration between cognition and
The second section of the book deals with emotional
primitives, and vigilance and regulatory states. The emotional primitives and
the value that is attached to emotional states, again, depend on midbrain
structures, and are very sensitive to neuromodulation. Pnaksepp deals with
emotional primitives like playfulness, fear, sexual behavior, bonding etc.. and
gives their neuroanatomical and neurochemical correlates. The last section has a
similar outline, but deals with the social emotions. This is all presented in
textbook form, which is good for clarity. However, it seems that at times there
is way too much speculation, and that emotion seems to play a part of everything
else in the brain. For example, Panksepp speculates that emotion somehow places
the organizing framework for consciousness, and that some kind of representation
of self is needed for the experience of emotion. This is very interesting, but
highly speculative. Panksepp also argues for regulatory and midbrain structures
in the creation of a primitive sense of self (strikingly similar to Damasios
In closing, Panksepps book is essetnial reading for anyone
interested in cognition. Emotion should not, and cannot be left out if one wants
to understand cognition. IT covers a lot of ground in emotion neuroscience but
also speculates in its role in a global integrated model of cognition, the self
and even consicousness. This is actually all warranted and welcome speculation,
but not clearly prudent. I think that emotion should be placed in its rightful
place in the cognitive hierarchy, but I do not think that it is at the top.
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