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Authenticity, Deepness and Intensities

Authenticity, Deepness and Intensities

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Authenticity, Deepness and Intensities

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  1. Authenticity, Deepness and Intensities Dina Mendonça Instituto Filosofia Linguagem, UNL Conference Moral Emotions and Intuitions   Hague May 25-27th, 2011

  2. The paper argues for the necessity of the concept of authenticity, deepness and intensities to fully understand the role of emotions in the ethical domain. Outline: 1. Possibility of unconscious emotions 2. Impact of unconscious emotions in intuitions and moral emotions 3. What is Authenticity and why it is important 4. Understanding Authenticity properly requires integrating deepness and intensities 5. Emotional education as the key element for authenticity

  3. Are there Unconscious Emotions? No Yes The definition of emotion per se People are not always true to demands consciousness what they feel Lack of report does not mean People undergo therapy to face unconscious their emotions Duplicates de world of emotion Our technical words: emotions, unnecessarily and if there are consciousness… unconscious emotional processes need further theoretical they must be given a different name attunements widely accepted that cognitive processes and states can be unconscious (bellow awareness) or implicit (without attention or intention)

  4. For the purposes here we do not have to decide who is right: simply the suspicion that there is this possibility of unconscious emotions. The suspicion is raised because The argument of definition may be just a matter of lack of accuracy of our definition The argument about lack of report points out that other tools of inquiry must establish occurrence of emotional processes The argument of unnecessary duplication is insufficient And….

  5. And…. Pugmire writes: “Choice will center on emotions that promise advantage of power (e.g. pity), moral advantage (e.g. forgiveness, and above all, righteous anger) or that reassuringly affirm desirable personal qualities (e.g. compassion, remorse) … The trapping of one emotion can serve to mask another: righteous indignation rather than envy or spite; zealous commitment to a cause that offers a feeling of belonging or of transcendence of the commonplace and the compromised; pity instead of disdain; solicitous concern as opposed to prurient fascination. Notice that the masking emotions tend at once to resemble and to deny the masked emotions.” (Pugmire 1994, 114)

  6. Let’s take an example given by De Sousa’s: “Suppose you are a homosexual coming out to your best friend. Her reaction is spontaneous and violent. She expresses disgust, disappointment, and anger and finally walks away in shock. The next evening she calls you up. She apologizes for her unreasonable, unkind, and prejudiced reaction. She realizes, she says that sexual choice is a matter that needn’t affect your friendship, and she expresses great regret at having behaved in such a way as to suggest otherwise. You have, I submit, a dilemma. Your friend has offered two reactions. The first spontaneous, was hostile. The other, considered, was friendly and sympathetic. Which was the more authentic? On which should you base your best judgment as to what kind of person she really is?” (De Sousa 1987, 12) Authenticity is different from sincerity or genuineness When we talk of sincerity we refer to the person’s ability to be honest to others (that this friend is sincere in both occasions) and when we consider genuineness we want to make others emotional statements and displays as truthful to be able to continue to deal with them (we want her regret to be genuine as opposed to false in order to integrate the change of emotional attitude)

  7. Authenticity is an important ideal of emotional life and yet it is not completely obvious what is meant by an authentic emotion (Salema 2005, 209) And perhaps the most visible aspect of authenticity is the experience of “emotions that we experience in spite of our contrary beliefs or appraisals of the eliciting situations” (Salema 2005, 212) But the dilemma De Sousa gives us may be misconstrued…. In fact, there is often an ambiguity with the term authenticity in emotion theory. Authenticity can refer to the nature of emotion (as above) or refer to an attitude towards emotions “Authenticity is a matter of striving toward a more steady, coherent, and committed self from the multifaceted resources of uninhibited spontaneity (Williams 2002). Accordingly, authentic emotions are congruent with, or integral to one’s self, not just passing episodes that occur in one’s body and mind (see also Roberts 2003)” (Salema 2005, 217)

  8. Maybe we are looking for authenticity in the wrong place…. My suggestion is that when we consider authenticity in emotional life we should focus on it in terms of the attitude towards emotions. That is, the goal is not to distinguish certain emotions as authentic and others as non authentic, but to distinguish when our attitude towards them is authentic from when it is not authentic. The example of De Sousa helps us to make the distinction: One can say the friend is being sincere in both occasions (if she is) but she will not be genuine if she denies/masks/diminishes the fact that she had the first reaction. And the trouble with authenticity is that it is not always so easy to establish what authenticity will look like. “The host of the token emotion sincerely believes he is sincere. He is not just giving the appearance of it. He, so to speak, believes in the emotion, regards it as the real article. Where this happens a person is deluded about what his relations are to the relevant parts of the world and about what kind of person he is.” (Pugmire 1994, 108)

  9. Take the example of Pugmire of emotions masking others: righteous indignation rather than envy. Envy of someone else’s car: “I can’t believe people can by such expensive cars when there is so much poverty in the world” Envy of someone’s intellectual abilities: “I can’t believe that person is always showing off what they know” Envy of someone’s upbringing: “These kind of people were raised this way they don’t even realise how privileged they are” The fact that one emotion masks another may not be a good enough reason to label ourselves as not authentic …. Ant it is also hard to say how one can be sure that one is being authentic in such a situation, which raises the question: How can we know if we are being authentic?

  10. Perhaps we should simply stick to trying to be authentic…. This ongoing try cannot have the format and constantly double guessing ourselves, our hidden emotions, grounds for them, pocking ourselves always asking if this is indignation I feel or envy, if this is anger or resentment, and so forth. Since it would drive anyone insane to check at every corner of every emotion if one is authentic or not, I want to take a suggestion Peter Goldie makes about understanding others (2002) and suggest that in order to keep trying to be genuine we look at ourselves as others similarly to how we try to understand them. This requires characterization and narrative (Goldie 2002) however, as the issue is not to understand this specific event, action, or emotional outburst, but to see ourselves better such as to aim for authenticity as much as we can, I want to add two traits we should look when we look at ourselves and make characterization and narrative: Deepness and intensities

  11. Deepness (intro) Pugmire establishes depth in terms of belief (jugment); truth of judgment and concerns at stake “A consequence of this would be that emotions can be adequate to their subjects morally. And it does not seem that an emotion can be profound unless it is morally adequate, where its subject has a moral status. Its moral adequacy can turn on the quality of the feeling ot it, which give it the specific character that may serve as an analogue to a value. Thus, for instance, sentimental emotion Strikes us both as hollow and as contemptible.” (Pugmire 2005, 63) “Depth of emotion, then, may reflect excellence of character. Through such emotion a person participates as fully as possible both in his own life and in that of the world through which he passes. By the same token, deep emotion is a reflection of the world.” (Pugmire2005, 64)

  12. Deepness of emotion • That it is bellow the surface and somehow structural (if you shake these the whole world does as well), and they come in levels such there is not just a simple shallow vs. deep. • Connected to crucial aspects of our life (e.g. people, ideas, objects) • Connected to crucial events (e.g. childhood experiences, traumatic experiences) • Connected to difficult aspects of ourselves and the world to face (e.g. that one can feel envy, one can be mistaken, that the world is indifferent to our singular existence) • Connected to emotional habits that sustain emotional life structure (e.g. righteous indignation promotes sense of self-worth necessary for daily function; being sad, miserable and pessimistic makes the events that go well feel thrilling) • Connected to excellence of character (Pugmire 2005)

  13. Intensities in emotion “Yet surprisingly, there is no more than a grain of truth to his natural idea that deep emotion is emotion strongly felt. The potential differences are striking. For a start, passion is not always profundity. An access of intense feeling, such as a tantrum, the frights, or giddy elation, may just be an excess of it.” (Pugmire 2005 34) But even thought depth is not intensity (how much) there is a sense in which intensity as to do with the flavor of an emotion in our lives. For example: frustration at work will have a certain flavor to a workaholic and a different flavor to a mother of three children. Now this flavoring does not make any pre-set scheme of priorities, but it does tell us that different people will get different flavors from emotions in different aspects of their lives and this difference makes some feel “more” (how much) than others

  14. Education The education of emotion as an idea seems to assume this search for authenticity for there is a general sense of cultivation of the search for truth in education in general. Partly because education of emotion aims to provide those growing up with a type of temporal neutrality that underlies authenticity (Brink 2003, 241). We try to do something like: feel this way (that I am telling you or showing you) truly and you will not be feeling this other emotions which you do because you happen to be four and get easily frustrated. Yet a lot of our practices ask for hiding, accommodating others before ourselves, redoing our emotional responses like when we say “don’t cry. There is no reason to cry” or “don’t be angry”, “your sad but think of how happy your sister will be because you shared your toy” It’s a bit messy for the kids and our luck is they forget how messy it is… (as we have done)

  15. Two notes on education • Education of Emotion is not just telling children to not feel what they are feeling: it is listening to stories, experiencing seeing other people live their emotions, experiencing art, and other ways certain emotions are fostered in which we are not even aware (e.g. questions & hope). • Education of emotion is not like schooling (only obligatory up to a certain level) • Concluding with De Sousa: • “Many people have remarked on the fact that when religion weakens it tends to be replaced by myths of nature--typically, by scientific myths, in which the inflexibility of nature is found as comforting as the omnipotence of God. But if we cease to think of our emotions as inevitable in just that way, we are also more likely to view them as open to modification, and to enlist them as instruments of freedom rather than tools of self-oppression.” (De Sousa 1990, 445)

  16.  Bibliography: Brink, David O. “Prudence and Authenticity: Interpersonal Conflicts of Value” The Philosophical Review, Vol. 112, No. 2, (April 2003) pp. 215-245. De Sousa, Ronald. The Rationality of Emotion, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987. . “Truth, Authenticity, and Rationality”Dialectica (2007) pp. 323-345 Goldie, Peter. “Emotion, personality and Simulation” in Understanding Emotions. Mind and Morals, edited by Peter Goldie, Aldershot/Burlington USA/ Singapore/Sidney: Ashgate, 2002, pp.97-110. Kagan, Jerome. What is Emotion? History, Measures, and Meanings, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007. Kihlstrom, J.F. “The psychological unconscious” in Handbook of Personality: Theory and Research (eds. L.A. Pervin & O.P. John) New York: Gilford Press, pp. 424-442 Mauss, Iris B. & Michael D. Robinson. “Measures of Emotion: A Review”Cognition and Emotion, 2009, 23 (2), 209-237. Mendonça, Dina. “Let’s Talk about Emotions”Thinking: The Journal of Philosophy for Children, Volume 19, Nº 2 & 3, 2009, pp. 57-63. Pugmire, David. “Real Emotion” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LIV, No. 1, March 1994, pp. 105-122 . Sound Sentiments. Integrity in the emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Salema, Mikko.”What is emotional authenticity?”Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 35:3, 209-230. Tracy, J.L. & Robins, R.W. “Self-conscious emotions: Where self and emotion meet”The self in social psychology. Fronteirs of social psychology series (Eds. Sedikides & Spence) New York: Psychology Press, 2007, pp. 187-209) Winkielman, Piotr; & Berridge, Kent C. “Unconscious Emotion”Current Directions in Psychological Science, volume 13-number 3, 2004, pp. 120-123.

  17. Authenticity, Deepness and Intensities Dina Mendonça Instituto Filosofia Linguagem, UNL Conference Moral Emotions and Intuitions   Hague May 25-27th, 2011