EMOTIONS AS COMMENTARIES ON HUMAN CONCERNS

Theory and Research on Human Emotions

ISBN: 978-0-76231-108-8, eISBN: 978-1-84950-271-9

ISSN: 0882-6145

Publication date: 9 July 2004

Abstract

Why do emotions matter? Across the centuries the same answer has been returned; they are the salt of life without which it would lack savour. Thus, St Augustine asked rhetorically if we would not consider a general apatheia to be the worst of human and moral defects. Today, Elster repeats this refrain: “simply, emotions matter because if we did not have them nothing else would matter. Creatures without emotion would have no reason for living nor, for that matter, for committing suicide. Emotions are the stuff of life” (Elster, 1999, p. 403). However, it is a different question to ask about their purpose in relation to other things and other doings, but a necessary one because salt has to flavour something else. The answer developed here is that emotions are commentaries on our concerns. Emotions are about something and those somethings are the things we care about most or cannot but care about to some extent. As commentaries, emotions tell us how much we care and how we are doing in relation to concerns which are not reducible to our feelings about them.

Citation

Archer, M.S. (2004), "EMOTIONS AS COMMENTARIES ON HUMAN CONCERNS", Turner, J.H. (Ed.) Theory and Research on Human Emotions (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 327-356. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0882-6145(04)21013-X

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.