Concluding remarks

This book focused on three major philosophical questions about human emotions: what emotions really or truly are; what does it mean for an emotion to be true to the self; and what does it mean for an emotion to be true to the world?. I started from the first question, which is fundamental regarding the other two. It does not make much sense to ask whether or how emotions can be true to the self if they have a life of their own at another level of information processing than a person's beliefs, desires, and values that we also take to be central to the self. In a like manner, the question about the truth of emotions to the world presupposes that emotions have a representational content that presents the world as being in some way.

Foundational questions about the nature of emotions - itself one key issue in interdisciplinary emotion research - were dealt with in Chapters 2 and 3 of this book. There I studied the role of cognition in the structure and dynamics of emotion at the functional and algorithmic levels of analysis, using some evidence from the implementational level to support my argumentation at the other two levels of analysis. At the functional level of analysis, all emotions of human and higher animals were found to involve cognition as they include mental representations that mediate between perceptions of emotion-eliciting stimuli and emotional responses. However, this conclusion was uninformative given differences between human and (other) animal emotions and between human emotions of a dissimilar kind - biologically hard-wired, pathological, and ordinary non-pathological. Therefore, I also discussed cognition in emotion at the algorithmic level of processes and types of representation, dividing emotional content into conceptual and nonconceptual, with subdoxastic, logical, and phenomenological subtypes of the latter. Each type of representation was found to fit some human emotions, but none of them was capable of accommodating all or even most human emotions. Moreover, instances of pure types were found to be rare as most human emotions have contents that mix properties of conceptual and nonconceptual content, being more or less conceptual or nonconceptual on a continuum from strongly conceptual to more nonconceptual.

This conclusion calls into question the applicability of dual process models of information processing to human emotions. Many dual-process theorists in cognitive psychology such as Slovic et al. (2004) and Kahneman (2011) agree with the neurophysiologist Damasio (1994, 1999) in associating emotion categorically with fast heuristics that operates on somatic gut feelings with certain valence and intensity rather than on conscious, semantic judgments. Most emotion theorists disagree, suggesting instead that human emotions involve processes of different types, both implicit, associative, and automatic Type 1 processes with nonconceptual content, and explicit, rule-based, and flexible Type 2 processes with conceptual content. These theorists are correct in claiming that both types of processes and representations are involved in ordinary human emotions. However, this does not mean that human emotions can be divided into two radically different kinds as Griffiths (2004) suggests. This is because different types of processes and representations normally operate together in appraising the relevance of the eliciting situation and producing an adaptive emotional response to it. Dual-process theories call such models "default-interventionist". I have preferred this model to the other, parallel-competitive model of dual processing that fits human emotions even worse. However, the default-interventionist model does not fully characterize the nature of interaction between levels of processing in ordinary human emotions either.

Default-interventionist models place the two levels of processing into a certain causal order. A fast intuitive Type 1 processing always precedes a slower analytic Type 2 processing that has at least some opportunity to approve or modify the results of the fast processing. In some cases, such as pre-linguistic infant human emotions; biologically hard-wired adult human emotions like fear of heights; and some pathological human emotions (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder but not for instance depression and anxiety disorders as these involve distorted cognitions as well), lower level processing is capable of producing full-fledged emotional responses on its own. Yet in ordinary adult human emotions, the appraisal process only begins at the lower level and is completed at the higher level, as both process-oriented appraisal theories and psychological constructionists maintain. Or it begins from a higher level appraisal of the relevance of sensory or conceptual information which recruits the lower level only later, as in Robinson's example of fright over an economic loss. The fact that appraisals of this kind can become automatic and implicit upon learning does not change the role of conceptual cognition in these emotions because the content of the emotion is still cognitive. These considerations indicate that the two levels of processing cooperate in the production of ordinary human emotions to the extent that even the default-interventionist view on the relation of two levels remains overly schematic.

The involvement cognition in ordinary human emotions at the algorithmic level of processing made it possible to distinguish between two important senses of emotional authenticity: descriptive and normative. In the descriptive sense, authenticity coincides with sincerity in emotions. A sincere emotion is a veridical expression of one's actual affective state that is not being suppressed, inflated, or modified by other means. Emotions could enjoy authenticity in this sense even if they were purely noncognitive affects and feelings. However, the other, normative, sense of authenticity is possible for emotions only insofar as they can be evaluated within a wider context of the person's identity, which is inextricably interwoven with his or her conceptions of the good. Authenticity in this sense requires that emotions have a content that is in an inferential relation to our beliefs and values, being capable of having or lacking coherence with the latter. Ordinary human emotions were found to meet this criterion.

The need to distinguish between the two senses of emotional authenticity emerges in several domains, including clinical psychology, sociology of occupations, and gender studies. In this book, I focused on emotional authenticity in occupational life, but a similar account could be given on the transformation of clients' emotions in several psychotherapies. Indeed, the robust involvement of cognition in adult human emotions explains the efficacy of cognitive-behavioural therapies in the treatment of many affective disorders. However, instead of authenticity, existing therapies rely on the terminology of "functional" and "dysfunctional" or "adaptive" and "maladaptive" in evaluating clients' emotions. Functionality and adaptiveness in turn are understood in relation to the subject's goals or needs in a certain environment. Accordingly, these criteria focus on the consequences of having a specific emotion in a particular situation.

An adaptive emotion can become maladaptive in two ways: either by a change in the subject's needs and goals, or by a change in his or her circumstances. For instance, a little boy's fear of his father is adaptive if the father is generally hostile to him and rejects the son whenever he feels insecure and seeks protection from the father. However, the emotional schema becomes maladaptive later in the child's life when he generalizes the fear to other senior male figures irrespective of their actual behaviour and thereby fails to form satisfying reciprocal relations with them. Yet the core problem with maladaptive emotions of this kind does not seem to lie in their consequences but instead in their lack of fittingness to the eliciting situation from the subject's more enlightened perspective. Indeed, in his emotion-focused therapy Leslie Greenberg maintains that the adaptiveness of an emotion depends on its coherence with the person's wants, needs, and "other conscious goals, plans, values, and realistic assessments of the situation" (Greenberg, 2002, 175). Green-berg's view is congenial to my notion of emotional authenticity in its normative sense that defines in more detail what it means for an emotion to cohere with the subject's rational epistemic and evaluative attitudes. Accordingly, I put forward the notion of emotional authenticity in both senses, as sincerity and integrity, as a viable conceptual tool for psychotherapeutic theorizing (see Salmela, 2008).

While authenticity represents the truth of an emotion to the self, the notion of emotional truth extends the problem of the fittingness of emotions to an external perspective, namely truth to the world. The evaluative content of emotions is a necessary condition for literal truth to make sense of them, but it is not sufficient because the content of emotions must also have an assertoric logical structure. Thus, I argued that to experience an emotion is to present its particular object as having the formal property of the relevant emotion type, quite in the same way as to believe that p is to present p as having the formal property of beliefs, namely truth. Moreover, I claimed contrary to de Sousa that the truth of an emotion does not depend solely on the fittingness of its evaluative content with the formal object of the emotion type. The propositional content of one's emotion must also be semantically satisfied, or the target of one's emotion must exist. For factive emotions such as joy and sadness, the standard of semantic satisfaction is the truth of the proposition, whereas an epistemic emotion such as hope and fear is semantically satisfied if the subjective probability that the emotion ascribes to the actualisation of the relevant state of affairs corresponds to the objective probability of the actualisation of that state of affairs. Finally, I suggested that the fittingness of an emotion can be understood in terms of an idealised communal warrant such as Crispin Wright's property of superassertibility. This proposal focuses on justificatory reasons for ascriptions of evaluative properties to particular objects in emotions. The criteria of justificatory reasons are communal even if the particular objects of evaluative attitudes vary between individuals, such as in the case of sadness and nostalgia. Therefore, I suggest that justifying reasons for emotional evaluations can also be specified for communities of sensibility rather than merely individually.

Nevertheless, one may wonder, what is the relation between emotional authenticity and truth? If authenticity is presented as an ideal for an individual's emotions, what is the relevance of truth from this perspective? Can and should one aim at truth in one's emotions, in addition to aiming at their authenticity? Or is truth in the world-related sense a plausible standard for emotions in the first place. After all, emotions are so personal and intimately related to the self that truth in this literal sense may not seem to make much sense even if the theoretical question can be formulated and debated. I take this objection seriously as I believe that theoretical notions should have practical relevance for our actual emotional lives.

The relation between emotional authenticity and truth is more harmonious than the first impression may suggest. The notions are cast in somewhat dissimilar terms: authenticity as coherence among one's cognitive and evaluative attitudes, including emotions, and truth in terms of idealised communal warrant by reference to justifying reasons that remain undefeated no matter how much our information is or will be enlarged or improved. However, the distinction between internal and external justification does not mean that in aiming at the former, authenticity, the subject could not simultaneously aim at the latter, truth, from his or her particular point of view. Rather, this is the default mode. This can be seen when we understand authenticity and truth as two complementary perspectives on the situational fittingness or appropriateness of emotions. The normative notion of emotional authenticity views the fittingness of emotions from an individual's epistemic and evaluative perspective in which coherence is a plausible ideal, whereas the notion of emotional truth focuses on the problem of fittingness from a wider, communal perspective in which most careful, informed, imaginative, and sympathetic reflection of the matter and the situation provides a procedural standard of warrant. Indeed, the distinction between authenticity and truth can be framed in terms of the amount and quality of evidence that the subject possesses to evaluate the warrant of an emotion. An emotion is authentic if it is internally justified by the total body of evidence that is conceivably available to the subject even though the emotion may not be justified in a more global sense that is associated with the notion of emotional truth. The ideally enlightened communal warrant that is associated with emotional truth is external to both individual persons and actual human communities but not to human sensitivities as such.

In the final two chapters, I argued that the notions of emotional authenticity and emotional truth can be applied to other debates where these notions can help us to make headway in solving important problems concerning the authenticity of occupational emotions and the constitution of sentimental values, respectively. In the former context, I argued that my distinction between two senses of authenticity allows us to remove the paradox of authenticity from emotions experienced in a work role. I also explicated some conditions, both internal and external, on which occupational emotions may qualify as authentic in the normative sense. In the latter, metaethical context I suggested that the notion of emotional truth best captures the sentimentalist idea of fitting emotions that are based on reasons of the right kind. Unlike many other proposals, mine does not present reasons of any privileged type as the right kind of reasons. Instead, it allows reasons of several types, with the exception of strategic and instrumental reasons, to qualify as fitting in particular situations. The notion of emotional truth provides a procedural standard for specifying the reasons which come out as fitting at the end of the day, i.e. after an ideally critical, conscientious, imaginative, and sympathetic reflection and discussion. This proposal may seem as formal as the ones I rejected for their emptiness. However, I believe that it does better justice to our actual justificatory practices in relation to judgments about values that ontologically depend on human sensibilities.

"True emotion" is then an ambiguous notion and indeed a nexus of several core problems in the philosophy of emotions. I hope that this book has been able to illuminate and refine these problems, some of which have been discussed under different headings in other contexts. My main aim has been to show how these problems relate to each other and together form a plausible area of research. If the volume succeeds in bringing these questions closer to the forefront in philosophical and interdisciplinary emotion research, it has served its purpose. Together with introducing three problems of "true emotions", I have sketched my own solutions to these problems. The jury is out on their plausibility within the community of critical, conscientious, imaginative and - hopefully also - sympathetic emotion researchers.

 
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