SS: Emotions

Ever notice the vast vocabulary we have in English for emotional states? All those words must indicate something. Perhaps that we are not and never can be like Dr. Spock? Emotions get us in trouble. Emotions get us out of trouble. Books exist on how to control them. Even the Bible has something to say about them: Colossians 2:8 – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Can we accurately read emotions in another? Hell, can we accurately read our own emotions?

What’s reason got to do with it?

Nautilus has a thoughtful piece on reading emotions in others here.

7 thoughts on “SS: Emotions

  1. I totally agree that labeling the emotion is necessary for its identification (well Nautilus didn’t use ‘necessary’, but I think so). I also think that the words themselves are what forge the emotion into something we can understand (truly our BEST guess), meaning that the emotions themselves AS the words we put to them don’t exist before the word. But maybe that’s another topic!


    • I think there is a close relationship between word and emotion, but I don’t think I would go as far as saying the emotion does not exist until it is named. So much depends upon a tight definition of “emotion”. A brief look at the SEP will indicate the complexity of providing a comprehensive theory!


    • “The lesson from these studies is that the experience of negative emotions can help and hurt decision-making; it all depends on the context. Considered in isolation, emotions are rather arational (neither rational nor irrational).” – from the link above (What’s reason got to do with it?)


  2. The James-Lange-Lane theory: The simplest theory of emotions, and perhaps the theory most representative of common sense, is that emotions are simply a class of feelings, differentiated from sensation and proprioceptions by their experienced quality. William James proposed a variant of this view (commonly known as the “James-Lange” theory of emotion, after James and Carl G. Lange) according to which emotions are specifically feelings caused by changes in physiological conditions relating to the autonomic and motor functions. When we perceive that we are in danger, for example, this perception sets off a collection of bodily responses, and our awareness of these responses is what constitutes fear. James thus maintained that “we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and [it is] not that we cry, strike, or tremble, because we are sorry, angry, or fearful, as the case may be” (James 1884, 190).


  3. I find this in :

    “I work with people who have limited emotional vocabulary and as a result the intensity of their negative emotions and experiences is heightened because they can’t describe their feelings (especially their negative feelings). That’s why this list is heavily focused on negative emotions/ experiences. Being able to clearly identify how we are feeling has been shown to reduce this intensity of experience because it re-engages our rational mind.”

    It re-engages our rational mind.

    Thanks! I feel reeling… but riding high!

    Liked by 1 person

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