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WAYS OF KNOWING. THE EMOTIONS. Knowledge Issues. Knowledge of emotions Characterising the emotions. Describe what it is like to be: In love Angry Jealous Excited. What is an emotion?.

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ways of knowing



knowledge of emotions characterising the emotions
Knowledge of emotions Characterising the emotions
  • Describe what it is like to be:

In love




what is an emotion
What is an emotion?
  • William James suggested that an emotion is the awareness of a bodily change. Typically there is an environmental feature which provokes a physiological change, which a person perceives. Imagine that you could take away the physical process and all one is left with is ‘the cold neural state of intellectual perception’.
  • Do you think there is more to having an emotion than awareness of a physical state? Why?
getting it right
Getting it right…

Consider situations in which it is appropriate and inappropriate to display the emotion.

Does it make sense to judge that a person – perhaps oneself – is in an inappropriate emotional state? Using an example(s) explain your answer.

emotion knowledge and reason
Emotion, Knowledge and Reason
  • How can emotions inform or contribute to my knowledge of the world?
  • What role do the emotions play in the acquisition of facts? In interpretation? In expression?
  • Of what to do?
practical wisdom
Practical Wisdom
  • Knowing what to do in this situation
  • Emotional engagement or attunement to my context.
  • Aristotle and the virtues. Ethics centrally interested in virtues (and vices) - a virtue (arete) is a disposition of character which has the right pattern of motivation. Virtues include courage, temperance, generosity, magnanimity, truthfulness, justice.
  • Significance of the emotions and their development. Being disposed to act in the appropriate way linked to my character – role of emotions in calibrating my understanding of a situation.
  • Educating the emotions.
further reading
Further reading

Alchin ch. 14

Blackboard – Notes on Aristotle, Crisp in RJP Issue 1

To see some very good art visit virtually (and if you’re ever in Tokyo actually go to):


For an advanced view on the nature of the emotions you can try (the Introduction):

  • Peter Goldie, The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.