By Richard Wollheim
Unusual thinker Richard Wollheim's wealthy and thought-provoking account of the feelings considers what feelings are, how they come up in our lives, and the way average and "moral" feelings fluctuate. Drawing on insights from literature, psychoanalysis, and philosophy, Wollheim argues that feelings shape a special mental classification, to not be assimilated with both ideals or wants.
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Additional resources for On the Emotions
But a grave oversight? I think not. And this is because the differences between these two kinds of philosophy are surely only quantitative. Anyone setting out to write on the emotions is certain to want more assurance than seems forthcoming that there is something, that there is some one thing, there to be studied. Assurance here means prior assurance: prior assurance is to be contrasted with posterior assurance, and it is on posterior assurance that the student of the emotions has to depend. Why is this?
According to this thesis, there is a oneone correspondence between the linguistic forms that we use to ascribe mental phenomena and the ways in which such phenomena ought to be classified. There is, for instance, a correspondence between forms of ascription of desire and kinds of desire. I see no obvious reason to believe that this linguistic thesis is true, either in general or in the particular case. 32 However, rather than argue against the linguistic thesis, I shall prefer a more positive approach.
If belief maps the world, desire targets it. And, just as belief presupposes some measure of experience, Page 14 desire presupposes a certain minimal mobility, or at least the expectation of it. Another way of formulating the role of desire is to say that desire furnishes the creature with reasons for doing something: and, not just reasons for doing something rather nothing, but reasons for doing this rather than that. 25 Under the urgings of desire, the creature has reason reason and cause to bestir itself.