Nature of Emotions recitation paper Matt Schultz 9 27 09

Nature of Emotions recitation paper Matt Schultz 9 27 09 -...

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Matt Schultz Nature of Emotions Recitation Paper #1 9/27/09 William James was a philosopher and psychologist who developed a feeling theory regarding emotions. In the beginning of the passage, James makes a point to say that his theory only applies to emotions with distinct bodily changes, such as fear. His theory says that changes in a person’s body cause certain emotions. In the passage from the text, James describes the feeling of sadness, “We do not cry because we feel sad, but we feel sad because we cry” (65). In this way, a person’s emotions represent his or her bodily changes. Another important part of James’ theory is that emotions are essentially conscious feelings, and that feelings are perceptions of bodily changes. James also describes the importance of a person feeling a change when an emotion occurs, and the fact that this change cannot be imitated.
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Unformatted text preview: To argue against James’ theory, one can point out that there are a plethora of emotions that do not have notable bodily changes associated with them. Because of this, his theory cannot be used universally to look at emotions. Walter Cannon developed two main arguments against James’ theory; the lack of specificity argument and the time course of body changes argument. Cannon’s objections show physiological evidence that goes against James’ feeling theory. To take James’ side of the argument, he clearly states that his theory doesn’t apply to all emotions and he doesn’t bother to give an explanation or claim to know anything about these other emotions. The theories of James and Descartes agree on some concepts as well. Both theories say that emotions are essentially conscious feelings, and both assimilate emotions to perceptions....
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