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RE: [xmca] about emotions
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: RE: [xmca] about emotions
- From: Achilles Delari Junior <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 07:42:43 +0000
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I did not write the word "reaction"... this is what you said.
Human neuro-physiology is very beyond simple reactions...
I was talking about functional systems and inter-functional
relations, and I did not deny distinction between lower
and Higher mental functions, Vygotsky did not do this
undifferentiation, but he said that something lower
can turns higher and vice-verse, of course in genetic
terms... This was quoted before. Note that Vygotsky and
Chabrier are refusing "peripheric hyposis"... Well, if emotions
are not only "peripheric" as believed James/Lange, then
it must be "central" too (i.e. related to the properly human
neuro-functional systems and cortical areas...) - this is
confirmed by Damasio. Maybe the subtle difference could
stay in the discussion about relations between lower and
higher... The systemic approach, the difficult to establishes
very strict classifications between what is cultural and what
is organic, for instance...
See what say Vygotsky himself:
Little attention has been given to this aspect of the problem because the problem
of man did not at all arise before contemporary psychology. But from the very
beginning, even the authors of the theory and their critics understood that in the
visceral hypothesis, they were speaking in essence of the animal nature of human
emotions. We will cite Chabrier, who advanced this idea in the most complete form.
Chabrier says that with this problem, we penetrate into the heart of the problem
and touch on the major objection that rises against the peripheral theory. When
we are speaking about instincts, we have before us an absolutely and invariably
established mechanism, which is activated automatically as soon as an appropriate
stimulation appears. It is possible that this is true also with respect to the primitive
emotions of the child, but it cannot be the same with respect to the usual emotions
of adults. (Vygotsky, 1999, p. 206)
Chabrier completely justifiably refers to the fact that a feeling of hunger, usually
considered in the group of lower bodily feelings in civilized man, is already a
fine feeling from the point of view of the nomenclature of James, that the simple
need of food can acquire a religious sense when it leads to the appearance of a
symbolic rite of mystical communication between man and God. And conversely,
a religious feeling, usually considered as a purely spiritual emotion, in pious cannibals
bringing human sacrifices to the gods, can scarcely he referred to the group
of higher emotions. Consequently, there is no emotion that by nature would be
independent of the body and not connected with it. James' book, The VrJrieties of
Religious Experience, shows incontrovertibly the extent to which higher feelings are
closely connected with all the fibers of our body. (Vygotsky, 1999, p. 207)
Separating emotions from the development of a system of ideas and establishing
their dependence exclusively on organic structures, James inevitably comes
to the fatalistic conception of emotions which encompasses animals and man
equally. The serious differences that human emotions display depending on the
era, the degree of civilization, the difference between mystical adoration of a knight
for his lady and the noble gallantry of the seventeenth century, remain unexplained
from the point of view of this theory. Chabrier says, if we imagine the infinitely
rich nature of the poorest emotion, if we pay less attention to the imaginary psychology
of single-celled organisms than to the remarkable analysis of novelists and
writers, if we simply make use of valuable data supplied by observations of people
around us, we cannot but admit the complete failure of the peripheral theory. Actually,
it is impossible to admit that simple perception of a female silhouette automatically
evoked an endless series of organic reactions of which could be born love
such as the love of Dante for Beatrice if we do not previously assume the whole
ensemble of theological, political, esthetic, and scientific ideas that comprised the
consciousness of the genius, AJighieri. (Vygosky, 1999, p. 207)
> Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 17:56:10 +1100
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [xmca] about emotions
> But you still need a distinction between a physiological
> reaction and a cognitive disposition, don't you, Achilles?
> What is the specific problem you are trying to solve?
> Achilles Delari Junior wrote:
> > Jay,
> > Thank you very much.
> > Something near to this distinction between feelings and emotions
> > was posed by William James too, according Vygotsky, but James
> > saw this distinction in terms that these social dimension of affective
> > world, the higher feelings, have almost nothing related to biological,
> > physiological, material, body, conditions. And Vygotsky criticizes
> > this like a way of dualistic thinking - this dualism can be understood
> > as based in ideological motivations too: "the human is not an animal,
> > nor a material been, but a divine been, in his higher, superior feelings..."
> > A distinction between feelings and emotions is present in Damasio too
> > in neurofunctional terms... But Vygotsky proposed the question of
> > a systemic inter-relationship in that the lower can turns higher, and
> > vice versa... I don't know what we can thing about this... In this
> > case, distinction between feelings and emotions are useful, but if
> > we want to understand the entire human been, his/her whole personality,
> > the integration and inter-functional relations between feelings and
> > emotions turns relevant too, In my point of view.
> > Best wishes.
> > Achilles.
> >> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> Subject: Re: [xmca] about emotions
> >> Date: Fri, 27 Nov 2009 19:28:26 -0800
> >> CC:
> >> I am certainly one of those people interested in emotion, or feeling,
> >> or affect, or whatever we choose to make of the phenomenon.
> >> The topic seems to have historically accumulated a lot of ideological
> >> baggage. And while its expression may be more sophisticated today than
> >> in times past, there doesn't seem to be that much less of it (as for
> >> example in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy review noted by
> >> someone earlier).
> >> Emotion tends to be seen as bad in our philosophical tradition. As the
> >> enemy of reason, the motor of self-deception, etc. It links us to the
> >> animals, to our "baser" nature, etc. A bit of this in the pagan
> >> tradition, a lot of it in christian asceticism, and tons of it in
> >> Enlightenment rationalism and its successors.
> >> Emotions are also associated with the unreliable feminine vs. the cool
> >> and collected masculine, with the passions of the mob vs. the
> >> thoughtful elite, with peasants, workers, and children, and pretty
> >> much every social category whose oppression needs some legitimation.
> >> Indeed one of the near universal legitimations of elite power is "we
> >> know what's good for you", not just because of what we know, but
> >> because you can't be trusted to see your own best interests through
> >> the haze of your emotions.
> >> Useful as this is to elite interests, it combines further with the
> >> cult of individualism to make emotions a purely individual, mental,
> >> subjective matter. Non-material, non-social, non-cultural, and
> >> universal (the easier to apply the stigma of emotionality to non-
> >> European cultures). It is rather hard to crawl out of this pit of mud.
> >> As I've been trying to do for the last year or two. There would be too
> >> much to say for a short post on this list, but here are a few basic
> >> suggestions:
> >> Feeling is a broad enough category to get back to the phenomenology of
> >> affect/emotion, whereas "emotion" is too narrowly defined within the
> >> tradition of animal-like and universal.
> >> There are a LOT of different feelings, and that is more important than
> >> efforts to identify some small number of basic emotions.
> >> Many feelings are associated with evaluative judgments and this may be
> >> a key link to re-unify affective and cognitive.
> >> Feelings do differ significantly across cultures, and are part of a
> >> larger system of meanings-and-feelings specific to a community.
> >> You can't make meanings across any longer term process of reasoning
> >> without feelings and evaluative judgments.
> >> It is likely that feelings have histories, both in cultures and in
> >> individuals.
> >> Feelings are often reliable guides to survival, to adaptive action,
> >> and to finding ways to meet our needs.
> >> Feelings are just as situated and distributed as are cognitions. And
> >> just as active and actively made and produced.
> >> In short -- pretty much everything in our dominant tradition about
> >> emotions and feelings is exactly wrong -- and for the worst possible
> >> ideological-political reasons, I believe.
> >> JAY.
> >> Jay Lemke
> >> Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
> >> Educational Studies
> >> University of Michigan
> >> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> >> www.umich.edu/~jaylemke
> >> Visiting Scholar
> >> Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
> >> University of California -- San Diego
> >> La Jolla, CA
> >> USA 92093
> >> On Nov 26, 2009, at 8:08 AM, mike cole wrote:
> >>> With so much interest in achieving an integrated understanding of
> >>> emotion,
> >>> cognition, and development, Achilles, your focus on this topic is a
> >>> helpful
> >>> reminder of its continued importance.
> >>> Seems like one of those many areas in psychological research where
> >>> we cannot
> >>> keep from murdering to dissect.
> >>> mike
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