Saturday, November 08, 2008

Definitions of Emotions

Definitions of Emotions
Emotions are identified with action readiness change. Different modes of action readiness correspond to different emotions and many emotions can be defined by such mode. Anger is the urge to attack or, more properly, the urge to regain freedom of action and control. Fear is the urge to separate oneself from aversive events and so forth. Many emotions can be characterized more or less unambiguously by their action tendency or activation mode; that is to say that many emotion names are names for the action readiness modes concerned. Many emotions map neatly onto action readiness modes.

Emotions that can be characterized in terms of actions readiness mode correspond to what are often called “elementary,” primary,” “basic,” or “fundamental” emotions. Emotions so considered are, in fact, distinct and elementary forms of actions readiness. One scientist indeed defined elementary emotions are those corresponding to those elementary action instigations that he called “instincts” – instincts for pugnacity, protection and so on. Others explicitly link basic emotions to distinct action tendencies or elementary behaviors modes.

Emotions not considered basic or fundamental are often considered to be mixtures or blends. The emotion called wariness can be said to consist simultaneously of interest and moderate fear. However, most important non basic emotions cannot be so defined. Jealously is not a mixture of anger and grief, as proposed. It is not a mixture at all. The emotion of jealousy consists of action readiness change – any action readiness change implying non-acceptance – elicited by a specific constellation of events, a specific “story.” That’s story defines the emotions: it is that’s someone else enjoys something have a claim to enjoyment upon and which event is felt to interfere with satisfaction of this claim.

Generally speaking, emotions may be defined either by mode of action readiness change or by the nature of the emotional object – that is, by the nature of the object or event that the relational action readiness change is relational to. There exist two differential principles of categorization. They are independent, and they may be at variance, the action readiness change of jealous may be that of hatred, and then aim at the destruction or removal of either of the participants in the enjoyment: or that of grief, and then be that of helplessness and abandonment of striving; or that or mere suffering, and then be that of mere desire for the situation to end. The simultaneously application of two emotions terms (jealously and hatred, jealousy and grief) does not refer to mixtures, but to two different levels of analysis.
Definitions of Emotions
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