Edited by Aaron Ben Ze'ev, Angelika Krebs

Philosophy of Emotion

Emotions punctuate almost all significant events in our lives, but their nature, causes, and consequences are among the least well understood aspects of human experience. It is easier to express emotions than to describe them and even harder to analyse and explain them.

Despite their apparent familiarity, emotions are an extremely subtle and complex topic. Unfortunately, the topic was neglected by philosophers and scientists in the past. In recent decades, however, interest in the emotions has grown considerably among scholars and students from many disciplines, as well as among the public at large. If there is to be any progress in this theoretically and practically important field, not only is a broad philosophical examination of basic concepts and issues essential (drawing both on analytical philosophy and phenomenology), but also an interdisciplinary approach that combines philosophical analysis with other types of scientific research (such as psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, and brain sciences). The clarification of basic emotional concepts as well as the unification of linguistic usages across disciplines and natural languages are necessary for integrating the growing body of interdisciplinary emotional research (e.g., does the traditional German "Gefühl" correspond to "feeling" or to "emotion"? and what about "Stimmung"?). The contemporary philosophy of emotions is equipped for this integrative task. It can provide us with a better and more comprehensive picture of the nature of emotions.

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