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A Tear Is an Intellectual Thing: The Meanings of Emotion - download pdf or read online

By Jerome Neu

ISBN-10: 0195160290

ISBN-13: 9780195160291

Is jealousy eliminable? if that is so, at what expense? What are the connections among delight the sin and the satisfaction insisted on by means of id politics? How can one query an individual's knowing in their personal happiness or override a society's account of its personal rituals? What makes a sexual hope "perverse," or specific sexual family members (such as incestuous ones) bad or perhaps unthinkable? those and different questions on what sustains and threatens our identification are pursued utilizing the assets of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and different disciplines. The dialogue all through is expert and inspired via the Spinozist wish that realizing our lives might help switch them, can assist make us extra loose.

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Extra resources for A Tear Is an Intellectual Thing: The Meanings of Emotion

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We cry when we feel moved, or touched, or vulnerable, and the associated thoughts are what give the tears their particular emotional characters. Thoughts enter at two points at least: in interpreting the situation and in interpreting our (physiological) response. While James said we are sad because we cry, we have seen that in some contexts (and cultures), we may equally well be said to be angry or ashamed or something else because we cry. Physiology alone is not enough to settle the matter. When (as in certain aesthetic cases and in many sexual ones) perception leads (apparently directly) to a physical reaction, we think of the experience as by its nature psychosomatic.

Of course things develop and become more complex as time goes on, but now we can see another kind of truth in James's approach, a developmental truth. It is not quite the case that we are sad because we cry, but we do come to learn the meaning of sadness in a context where the expression of the emotion provides the first link to the vocabulary for describing the emotion. As Hampshire has put it, "In our classifications we move, as it were, inwards from expressive behavior to inner feeling" (1972c, 155).

Children do it all the time. Most interesting, however, in the midst of multiplying functions, is the reductive psychoanalytic claim that "there are no tears of joy, only tears of sorrow" The claim appears in an article by Sandor Feldman about "Crying at the Happy Ending" (1956, 485). The argument is based on the analysis of individual cases where a happy event is found to be merely the occasion of other thoughts that in turn provoke the tears. Feldman notes a person may indeed be happy and full of joy, but "the question is whether he cried because he was happy or for some other reason which was stirred up at the occasion of the happy ending" (478).

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A Tear Is an Intellectual Thing: The Meanings of Emotion by Jerome Neu


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