What Is Emotion?

There is internal war in man between reason and the passions. If he had only reason without passions . . . If he had only passions without reason . . . But having both, he cannot be without strife, being unable to be at peace with the one without being at war with the other. Thus he is always divided against and opposed to himself.

- Blaise Pascal, Pensées, II, 106

Podcast of the Day

What is an emotion? Is an emotion the same as a mood? What part should the emotions play in our life and in our understanding of what it is to be human? Sabine Döring discusses these questions with Nigel Warburton in this episode of Philosophy Bites.

Listen to Sabine Döring on Emotion

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

Emotional intelligence can mean the difference between behaving in a socially acceptable way and being considered to be way out of line. While most people will have heard of emotional intelligence, not many people really know how to spot it – in themselves or in others.

Emotional intelligence is essentially the way you perceive, understand, express, and manage emotions. And it’s important because the more you understand these aspects of yourself, the better your mental health and social behaviour will be.

It might be these are things you do without even really thinking – which can be the case for a lot of people. Or it might be that these are skills you know you need to work on.

Either way, improved emotional intelligence can be very useful in all sorts of circumstances – be it in work, at home, in school, or even when you’re just socialising with your friends...

Continue reading Mestre & Barchard's article: Four signs you have high emotional intelligence

Further Reading

No aspect of our mental life is more important to the quality and meaning of our existence than emotions. They are what make life worth living, or sometimes ending. So it is not surprising that most of the great classical philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume—had recognizable theories of emotion, conceived as responses to certain sorts of events of concern to a subject, triggering bodily changes and typically motivating characteristic behavior. What is surprising is that in much of the twentieth-century philosophers of mind and psychologists tended to neglect them—perhaps because the sheer variety of phenomena covered by the word “emotion” and its closest neighbors tends to discourage tidy theory. In recent years, however, emotions have once again become the focus of vigorous interest in philosophy, as well as in other branches of cognitive science. In view of the proliferation of increasingly fruitful exchanges between researchers of different stripes, it is no longer useful to speak of the philosophy of emotion in isolation from the approaches of other disciplines, particularly psychology, neurology, evolutionary biology, and even economics...

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Emotion by Ronald de Sosa

Bonus Webcomic

Related Topics

 AngerConfidenceCourageCuriosityDesireEmpathyEthics | GreedGuiltHateHuman NaturePsychology

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