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PHIL 350
Emotions Spring 2021
Division II

Class Details

Philosophy is often described as “thinking about thinking:” variously conceived inquiries into the nature, scope and limits of human reasoning have always been at its heart. Without challenging the centrality of such projects for philosophy, this tutorial will focus on a less emphasized, but equally essential aspect of our lives: emotions. What are emotions, and how should we think about them? What is the proper ‘geography’–classification and analysis–of our emotions, and what is their relation to our somatic states, feelings, beliefs, judgments, evaluations and actions? Do we have any control over our emotions? Could we (individually and socially) educate and cultivate them? How are conscious and unconscious emotions related to a person’s action, character, and her social world? In addressing these questions, we will simultaneously consider which methodological approach–if a single one can be privileged–should we adopt for examining emotions. We will try to determine what is the scope and nature of an adequate theory of emotions, what are the desiderata for such a theory, and what should count as evidence in its favor. We will examine a variety of philosophical and scientific theories of emotion, as well as some issues concerning normative aspects of emotions: the role of emotions in a good life and the concept of emotional maturity.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 4507
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Class attendance, preparedness and participation; weekly meetings with the tutorial partner outside of the class; five lead papers (5-7 pages) and five short response papers (2-3 pages); and a 5-7 pages long final paper.
Prerequisites: two philosophy courses.
Enrollment Preferences: philosophy majors and prospective majors, then psychology majors.
Distributions: Division II

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