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3.4 Cognitive and non-cognitive states

At several points in the Reading, James draws a sharp contrast between emotions and what he terms ‘cognitions’. The distinction between cognitive and non-cognitive states will crop up fairly regularly from now on, so I shall pause at this point to make it clear how I am going to understand this distinction. Unfortunately, different philosophers understand the distinction in different ways; I shall introduce two possible interpretations of the distinction.

On one interpretation, the
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3.3 Emotion, motivation and action

Perhaps one of the most striking features of James's theory is his account of the relationship between emotions and actions. As James points out, this is one aspect of his theory that runs directly counter to our ordinary conception of emotion. Ordinarily, we assume that emotions motivate actions: for example, if someone asked why Larry kicked Bella's bin, we might say that he was motivated by anger – that he did it because he was angry. On James's account, the order of explanation is rever
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3.2 Understanding James's account

James's thesis is striking, but there are some issues that need to be clarified. Before going on to assess James's argument for his thesis, I will explore his position by raising three questions about his account.

First, what kinds of bodily changes are required for an emotion to take place? James mentions three kinds of change:

  • (a) internal changes (increase in heart rate)

  • (b) involuntary expressive behaviour (weeping)

  • <
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3.1 William James

In 1890, the philosopher and psychologist William James published his influential work The Principles of Psychology. The book included a chapter on the emotions, in which James advanced a bold new thesis about the nature of the emotions. James's thesis has had an enormous influence on subsequent debate.

Reading 1 is a short extract from James's chapter on the emotions. In the passage that precedes this extract, James castigates earlier psychologists who have written on the subjec
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2.4 Components, causes and effects

In this section, I shall say a little more about the shape that we might expect an answer to the ‘What is…?’ question to take. In particular, I would like consider some different claims about the way in which an emotional occurrence is related to other types of occurrence.

Here is a story.

Larry is told by his manager, Bella, that the project that he has been working on for months has been shelved: all his hard work has been wasted. Larry hears Bella telling him the news as
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2.3 Essential properties and central cases

What should we expect a finished answer to the ‘What is…?’ question to look like? It might be suggested that we should answer this question by identifying a set of features that are shared by all uncontroversial cases of emotion – for example, cases of anger or fear – and that are not shared by psychological occurrences of other kinds – for example, hunger or cowardice. Once we have identified these features, we will be able to refer to them to decide any controversial cases. An a
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2.2 Identifying emotions

The question ‘What is an emotion?’ is a question about emotions in general. But it is impossible to address this question without being aware that there appear to be many different types of emotion. One way to start is to consider a range of states and to identify which states we would naturally classify as emotions, and which we would naturally classify as states of some other kind. This will put us in a better position to see whether there are any common features that link different typ
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2.1 Philosophy and science

We will consider some different attempts to answer the question ‘What is an emotion?’. Because we shall often need to refer to this question in what follows, I shall call it the ‘What is…?’ question. Before we investigate some of the ways in which philosophers have attempted to answer it, we should consider what an answer might look like.

What might a scientific answer to the ‘What is…?’ question tell us about emotion, for example, those offered by neurophysiologi
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2.2.2 Model 2: African + Roman= African traits continue to dominate and Roman traits fail to become

This model is more or less the opposite of the first, and the political domination of Rome has little or no effect upon the African people and their culture. Here we might expect to find evidence for politico-military control but little or no evidence for Roman culture or the acceptance of a Roman identity. This is perhaps the model we might expect to encounter in frontier zones at the limits of the Roman empire. It might also prevail in a scenario where a traditional society chose to reinfor
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1 Thugga

The ancient city of Thugga is often known by its modern name, Dougga. In this course we will be using the ancient name, Thugga. We are going to start by watching a video sequence, taking occasional notes: it should form about an hour of study time. The next section follows on from the video and introduces further evidence from Thugga.

As you watch, think about how the city compares with other cities you have encountered. Look out for how the buildings and streets are arranged, for build
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2.5.1 The reductionist perspective

Although theology had been thought of as ultimate knowledge, in post-Enlightenment thought, religion came to be seen by many in the West as a hindrance to progress and the advancement of human knowledge. Some came to believe that a rational and scientific way of looking at the world, unconstrained by religious belief and ‘superstition’, would lead to religion becoming redundant.

In the nineteenth century, this idea was boosted by Darwinian theories of evolution. Charles Darwin’s <
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1.8 Religion and spirituality

A good example of polysemy can be found in the different ways in which people regard the terms ‘religion’ and ‘spirituality’, and this is the subject of the first exercise below.

Exercise

Give some though
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1.6 Sources of authority

A very useful way of gaining insight into a religion and seeing how it works is to examine its sources of authority: for example, whether authority is vested in scriptures, in religious specialists, in tradition, in personal experience or a combination of these. Even in traditions where there is some agreement on what counts as an authoritative text, there are still contested issues of how that text is to be interpreted, by whom, with what degree of literalness and in what context. Similarly,
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3.1.1 Background information

Gamelan is the name given to a number of related musical ensembles in Indonesia. These ensembles comprise various types of instruments, the majority made of metal and most struck with beaters. There are several gamelan traditions, of which three are particularly well-known. These three are, moving from east to west, the Balinese, Javanese and Sundanese gamelans. (The term Javanese gamelan normally refers to the tradition developed in central Java; the Sundanese, who occupy the western part of
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2.2 Notation

The next thing to consider is the role of notation in this tradition. At one point on the video you saw Veena Sahasrabuddhe singing from a printed notation, from a collection first published in the first quarter of the twentieth century by the famous Indian musicologist Pt V.N. Bhatkhande (originally in the Marathi language, this is now best know in its Hindi translation in volume 5 of Bhatkhande, 1987). Actually, she did this at our request – she would not normally sing from notation, but
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1.4 Models and building blocks

When any musicians perform they refer to something pre-existent, something we might call a ‘model’ or ‘referent’. For musicians performing written music, the most important of these (although not necessarily the only one) is the score or part from which they perform. Depending on the particular genre and period in question, the performer may have freedom to choose or alter certain parameters (tempo, dynamics, phrasing, in some cases the notes themselves), but the score will indicate,
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1.2 Different perspectives on the creation of music

If a simple division into composition and improvisation is not going to be adequate, particularly when considering music beyond the Western art tradition, then what can we usefully say about the different ways in which music is created? A starting point might be to remind ourselves of the similarities between composition and improvisation. Both the improviser and the composer create music. Both of them, in doing so, draw on a range of skills and experience: their musical training and k
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Imagery and metaphor
How do you address problematic issues at work? This album reveals more creative ways to solve problems, other than relying on rational techniques such as brainstorming and lateral thinking. Employees at a small software company are shown how to access their unconscious minds using the power of imagery, associative thinking and metaphor, to find solutions and creative approaches to their work. Meanwhile at a Neuro-linguistic Programming seminar, participants learn to use metaphor on a deeper lev
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Social marketing
Have you ever wondered how marketing techniques have been used to promote positive social change? In a series of lively interviews, Professor Gerard Hastings of the Institute of Social Marketing, faces questions from members of ISM-Open (the Institute of Social Marketing at The Open University Business School) on issues such as the ethics of social marketing, branding and advertising, and the morality of shocking or scaring people into changing their behaviour for the better. This material fo
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Management: Perspectives and Practice
HR, Marketing, Finance, Operations and Project Management are all key functions of an organisation. These short audio perspectives give an insight into the roles in these areas and how they interact with the rest of the organisation, with examples of common problems, challenges and difficulties that are faced. This material forms part of The Open University course B716 MBA stage 1: Management: Perspectives and Practice.Author(s): The OpenLearn team

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