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Doyle, Jennifer, , . Thinking Feeling: Criticism and Emotion
2013, In: Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art. Durham: Duke University Press. 69-89.
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Added by: Rossen Ventzislavov, Contributed by:

Summary: Doyle investigates the emotional dimensions of aesthetic experience in the context of controversial performance art practices. She focuses on sentimentality because it sits at the extreme end not only of the emotional spectrum but also, as a negative, on the art critical radar. Critics’ charge against the sentimental is twofold – it enables vicarious experience at the expense of its direct counterpart and it gives a platform to the inauthentic. Furthermore, the overwhelming critical consensus is that the personal itself, manifested in sentimentality or otherwise, is inherently suspect. Emotion is thus framed as detrimental to “serious” art. It is also, and even more damagingly, feminized and drained of its political charge. To counter these assumptions, Doyle uses specific art-historical examples which reveal the richness and importance of emotional interest in the way art is made and experienced.

Comment: This text can be used in discussions of emotion and affectivity. While much of its focus is on art, it can be used in more general classes on emotions as well.

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Jaggar, Alison M., , . Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology
1989, Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 32 (2):151 – 176.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Wayne Riggs

Abstract: This paper argues that, by construing emotion as epistemologically subversive, the Western tradition has tended to obscure the vital role of emotion in the construction of knowledge. The paper begins with an account of emotion that stresses its active, voluntary, and socially constructed aspects, and indicates how emotion is involved in evaluation and observation. It then moves on to show how the myth of dispassionate investigation has functioned historically to undermine the epistemic authority of women as well as other social groups associated culturally with emotion. Finally, the paper sketches some ways in which the emotions ofunderclass groups, especially women, may contribute to the development of a critical social theory.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Nussbaum, Martha, , . Emotions as Judgments of Value and Importance
2004, In Robert C. Solomon (ed.), Thinking About Feeling: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions. Oxford University Press
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by:

Abstract: Nussbaum argues for a cognitivist theory of emotions, whereby an emotion is similar to a judgement. An emotion has an intentional object which is being evaluated as e.g. bad for one. On her view, our emotional reactions to different situations are connected to the idea of eudaimonia, and emotions could be seen as a guide to a flourishing life. As such, Nussbaum aims to explain how certain emotions feel like they’re tearing us apart (e.g. grieving a dead family member), since they are literally bad for us. She thus departs from the Jamsian tradition whereby the psychological component of an emotion is emphasised (or emotions are sometimes reduced to physiological responses), and argues instead that the physiological response is not a necessary component of an emotion.

Comment: This paper offers a good introduction into the cognitivist theories of emotions and their basic claims. It would be good to pair with non-cognitivist theories such as William James’s or Jesse Prinz’s.

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Scrutton, Tasia, , . Divine Passibility: God and Emotion
2013, Philosophy Compass 8(9): 866-874.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: While the impassibility debate has traditionally been construed in terms of whether God suffers, recent philosophy of religion has interpreted it in terms of whether God has emotions more generally. This article surveys the philosophical literature on divine im/passibility over the last 25 years, outlining major arguments for and against the idea that God has emotions. It argues that questions about the nature and value of emotions are at the heart of the im/passibility debate. More specifically, it suggests that presuppositions about the dichotomy between emotions and reason (or the ‘heart and the head’) have negatively impacted the debate. It contends that the debate can only move forward in response to serious reflection on our affects as we experience them, aided by historical and anthropological as well as contemporary philosophical perspectives

Comment: A great paper to use when teaching non-classical conceptions of God. Could follow a lecture on the ‘omni’ God who is immutable, impassible, etc. It could also be interesting as a gateway to feminist Philosophy of Religion – i.e. the classical conceptions of God are typically ‘masculine’

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Sherman, Nancy, , . Taking Responsibility for our Emotions
1999, Social Philosophy and Policy 16(2): 294.
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Added by: John Baldari, Contributed by:

Abstract: We often hold people morally responsible for their emotions. We praise individuals for their compassion, think less of them for their ingratitude or hatred, reproach self-righteousness and unjust anger. In the cases I have in mind, the ascriptions of responsibility are not simply for offensive behaviors or actions which may accompany the emotions, but for the emotions themselves as motives or states of mind. We praise and blame people for what they feel and not just for how they act. In cases where people may subtly mask their hatred or ingratitude through more kindly actions, we still may find fault with the attitude we see leaking through the disguise.

Comment: Use this text as a recommended reading to compliment the earlier work on The Fabric of Character.
[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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