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Not Passion's SlaveEmotions and Choice$
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Robert Solomon

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195145496

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195145496.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Back to Basics: On the Very Idea of “Basic Emotions” (1993, Rev. 2001)

Back to Basics: On the Very Idea of “Basic Emotions” (1993, Rev. 2001)

(p.115) 8 Back to Basics: On the Very Idea of “Basic Emotions” (1993, Rev. 2001)
Not Passion's Slave

Robert C. Solomon

Oxford University Press

Many psychologists and philosophers now accept the idea that there are “basic emotions,” emotions whose essence is an “affect program”. I argue that in fact this idea is quite old, and that it relies on metaphors and analogies that are quite problematic. Much of the current discussion follows Paul Ekman's influential work on the facial expressions of emotion (which has been sadly neglected in philosophy), but I challenge the very idea of basic emotions as reductionist and unfaithful to the complexity and richness of emotions, even the supposed basic ones.

Keywords:   atomism, basic emotions, chemistry, Descartes, display rules, Ekman, facial expressions, folk psychology, Hobbes, ontology, periodic chart, reductivism, Spinoza

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