Emotion and Agency
Slaby, Jan; Wüschner, Philipp – 2014
This chapter develops and defends the claim that human emotions are best understood as active engagements with the world and not, as mainstream philosophy of emotion believes, as passively undergone experiences. It shows how the active nature of emotion sheds light on the way emotion relates to value. Emotional engagement is what lets value manifest and become concrete. Value, it is held, is both constituted and detected by emotional engagements—a view whose paradoxical initial appearance will be strongly mitigated by the account proposed. The argument commences from the perspective of the socially engaged person and her situated affectivity, subsequently discusses Aristotle’s notion of ‘hexis’ as an active hold a person can have over her emotions, and closes with remarks on the active-affective ‘minimal self’, whose erosion in conditions like severe depression lends phenomenological credibility to the proposed account.