By Y. Gustafsson, C. Kronqvist, M. McEachrane
This particular number of articles on emotion through Wittgensteinian philosophers presents a clean standpoint at the questions framing the present philosophical and clinical debates approximately feelings and provides major insights into the function of feelings for knowing interpersonal family and the relation among emotion and ethics.
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Additional info for Emotions and Understanding: Wittgensteinian Perspectives
This background with its filigree pattern is called ‘the bustle of life’ (RPP II, §§ 625–626). A little later, Wittgenstein speaks of ‘the whole hurly-burly’ which forms ‘the background against which we see an action’ (§ 629). And in his manuscript he says: ‘The background of life is, as it were, pointillé’ (MS 137, p. 54b). One purpose all these different formulations can be seen to serve is to render plausible that in this area our concepts have no clear boundaries. The language which we use to talk about human actions contains blurred concepts which, however, especially in virtue of their indistinctness are serviceable instruments for us human beings (cf.
Similar considerations apply to worry and grief, joy and gladness. Another problem turns up when one discusses emotions that do not last long enough, as it were, to speak of ‘genuine duration’. Examples are ‘surprise’ and ‘fright’. True, they can be said to last for a bit, but in most cases it is a matter of seconds. Good examples of genuine duration are those cases where it is appropriate to say things like ‘He was scared stiff’ or ‘He was paralysed with fright’. One reason why these are good examples is that this sort of paralysis does not tend to last very long.
But Wittgenstein goes one step further. Basically, he indicates, the content of an emotion could directly be rendered by a human face, or by a picture of a human face. The face of an angry man is a picture of anger – though not Wittgenstein on Emotion 33 a picture of his angry inner life. One could take a photograph of an angry man and use it to illustrate the meaning of ‘anger’. What Wittgenstein has in mind here is probably one of the following three possibilities, or all three of them. Emotions can be represented by means of (1) schematic images (2) a movie, or (3) an actor.
Emotions and Understanding: Wittgensteinian Perspectives by Y. Gustafsson, C. Kronqvist, M. McEachrane