Empathy and the Emotions: Unexpressed Emotions are Incomplete…

Join me today for a conversation that engages the issue of how unexpressed emotions are incomplete. The emotions constitute information processing that operates in parallel with cognition (intelligence). Translation between these two differing systems occurs frequently, but emotions are not reducible to propositional (cognitive) attitudes. On background, the overall approach to the emotions of the position in this post is that emotions are not a natural kind: There is nothing necessarily in common between basic emotions, social pretenses, and irruptive motivational reactions (“moral sentiments”).  Of course, the reader will recognize tha Paul Griffiths has explored this approach, which is hereby acknowledged. With this background in place, the argument of this post is that unexpressed emotions are incomplete across all the different kinds. Empathy, as form of receptivity to the expression of emotion, implies an invitation to unexpressed emotions to attain completeness. This position is recommended to escape from the paradox that an unexpressed emotion does not exist. The occurrent but unexpressed emotion with its inchoate, emerging affective (felt) component – not a mere disposition – exists in interesting and important ways that are engaged. This position also escapes from the paradox that emotions, expressed or unexpressed, must have an affective (felt) component.  Many emotions have a readily identifiable affective (felt) component, but by no means all. Three paradigm cases (and subcases) are explored in detail in the attached unpublished paper [actually an unpublished book chapter not included in Empathy in the Context of Philosophy (Palgrave, 2010) ] and used to drive the argument. The lack of expression is just as significant, though less obvious, than that of expression and arouses an empathic receptivity. The point is that the observation of small details, including empathic receptivity to micro expressions, informs the interpretive activity of empathic understanding providing as it were the means of a raid on the inarticulate. Additional consequences and the resulting dynamics of this discovery—unexpressed emotions are incomplete – for empathy are explored in this  attachment:    CH04EmpathyandEmotionsUnbound20090112  Please give the benefit of your feedback.

Categories: Emotions, Empathy, Hermeneutics, psychotherapy, talk therapy

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