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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: Sun, 29 Nov 2009 07:10:22 +0000
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You help me a lot, Jay. Thank you very much.
I think that I understand your explanation, based
in heuristics needs - and I agree. I think a vision
that don't differentiate qualitative distinctions between
a number of process don't help us very much... My
guess is that Vygotsky's Chabrier-based hypothesis
can have a methodological contribution perhaps in
the sense of think relations between emotions, feelings
and affects in genetic and dynamic terms... But in
typological terms they are not very helpful. I understand
Vygotsky didn't conclude this project in that 1931-33
manuscripts, maybe because his focus justly was much
methodological one than strictly psychological. Maybe...
I don't know about the best interpretation too... but
seems to be interesting to think that cellos, for instance,
is not the same in different cultures... as LVS says in
the text about Psychological Systems... And the sample
of the Dante's love for Beatrice, is very interesting too,
the impossibility to reduce all to the perception of
a silhouette - the role of philosophy, theology, and other
cultural conditions in that love... Even the concerns to
the different king of love in different historical period
seems to be reasonable, if we search about "History
of emotions" for instance, including there is "History
of Fear" (Jean Delumeau, and others). Perhaps, ever perhaps,
a problem in Vygotsky text is that non-differentiation in
the use of the terms "affect", "emotion", "feeling". I
could not check word by word in Russian... but even so,
I didn't find any very explicit definitions for each term
yet. This is a problem. But I understand to be interesting,
for instance, to think that even something like "fear" have not
so definite boundaries in my consciousness, because in my personal
experience I had many kinds of fears, since the more
basic, in process of military repression to me and my
comrades from marxist social movement, until the more
subtle: fear to lost my father because his cancer... Then
we can search different definitions to this two kinds of
fear... we can give different names for the "basic fear"
(a emotion) and the "subtle fear" (a feeling), but... I don´t
know... If we try grasp the concrete historical cultural situation,
both in Class Struggle and in family affective relations, the
systemic and inter-functional relations are very singular, really...
And have any kind of cognition involved, as well as any kind
of peripheric (vasomotor, visceral) process involved too.
Can I say that the own very polissemic nature of the words
that we use to define emotions, feelings and affects, can turns
a little problem in this area too? And can exist some kinds of
ideological problems in this too? Sometimes guilt like a higher
process, sometimes like a lower process, and so on? Well, I
must to ask if a man/woman in a culture in what guilt is sawed
as lower process (guilt to be guilt?) have the same guilt
that in a culture in which the guilt is a higher process
(honor to be guilt?)?
Do you already publish something about this heuristic distinction,
that you exposes to us? Can you indicate something to me?
I appreciate your contributions.
Thank you very much.
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [xmca] about emotions
> Date: Sat, 28 Nov 2009 20:28:06 -0800
> Achilles, and friends --
> I am not sure of the best interpretation of LSV's position on these
> matters, but it seems to me to be in the spirit of his work and the
> later CHAT tradition that we imagine a culturally informed
> "development" (probably with phylogenetic antecedents) in which the
> "higher" functions develop out of the earlier ones by a progessive
> layering or refinement, specialization, and differentiation -- both
> for higher feelings as well as higher cognitions.
> Indeed I don't think we want to separate affect and cognition, or
> feeling and meaning, emotion and reason, too much. A little
> distinction is useful to give us purchase on understanding their
> integration. I would assume that in the developmental and evolutionary
> sequence, these two aspects of our adaptive operating-with-the-world,
> are initially less separable and less distinguishable, aspects of a
> single functional process. And that later in the sequence we LEARN to
> MAKE a distinction, and perhaps even to FEEL a difference between them.
> But it is their functional integration which is of the greatest
> importance, not their difference (in my opinion). So to the higher
> mental functions viewed cognitively (and it is not at all clear that
> LSV did view them ONLY cognitively in our modern sense) there must
> correspond also "higher feelings", what we might call culturally
> refined or culturally differentiated and functionally specialized
> feelings, which function as part of the whole engagement in activity
> that enables us to sometimes get a bit ahead of our semi-predictable
> environments. Insight. Intuition. A feeling for the organism. Good
> hunches. Good judgment. A nose for useful lines of research. And so on.
> Of course once we are immersed in a complex world of highly culturally
> differentiated feelings, we realize that their functions are not
> simply practical, not simply dictated by evolutionary fitness. Or at
> least not in very obvious ways. And so I have taken to making a
> heuristic distinction of my own in terminology among emotions (the
> more classical ones, triggered by environmental events, with obvious
> adaptive significance, like those listed by Darwin and borrowed by
> James, such as fear, anger, disgust, desire, etc.), affects (which I
> use to mean the "higher" feelings, the more culturally specific and
> "refined" ones, like feeling noble or feeling guilty), and feelings as
> such (the general category, of which emotions and affects are
> subclasses, and which also includes the more auto-perceptual feelings
> like feeling tired or feeling dizzy).
> Again it is not so much the distinctions here that I value
> theoretically, but getting a sense of the scope of the whole domain of
> feelings, and how to make sense of any particular feeling-type within
> it. (Distinguishing again between the uniqueness of a particular
> feeling on a particular occasion and the more generic feeling-types
> recognized or recognizable culturally across instances.)
> Whew! A lot to chew on ...
> Jay Lemke
> Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
> Educational Studies
> University of Michigan
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Visiting Scholar
> Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
> University of California -- San Diego
> La Jolla, CA
> USA 92093
> On Nov 27, 2009, at 10:45 PM, 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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