Psychology, Emotion, and the Human Sciences

April 20, 2012 - April 21, 2012
University of Windsor


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In Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions (Cambridge, 1999), Jon Elster argues that "with an important subset of the emotions (for example, regret, relief, envy, malice, pity, indignation, ...) we can learn more from moralists, novelists, and playwrights than from the cumulative findings of scientific psychology."  Elster then explores the work of both ancient and early modern moral philosophers in order to substantiate his argument.  

This symposium will explore Elster's assertions: what can contemporary 'scientific psychology,' barely 150 years old, teach us about the emotions that early modern literary and philosophical inquiry cannot? Does psychology [of various sorts] deserve its status as the discipline of feeling? What can contemporary philosophical work teach us about feeling and emotion? Are there viable ways of bringing historical and contemporary emotional inquiry into contact?  What insight can various forms of inquiry bring to the increasingly prominent issue of affective education (the education of emotions, dispositions, and values)?  What is the status of emotional inquiry across disciplines?

For more information, contact Stephen Pender, [email protected].

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