The emotions pose many philosophical questions. We don't choose them; they come over us spontaneously. Sometimes emotions seem to get it wrong: we experience wrongdoing but do not feel anger, feel fear but recognise there is no danger. Yet often we expect emotions to be reasonable, intelligible and appropriate responses to certain situations. How do we explain these apparent contradictions?
Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason presents a bold new picture of the emotions that challenges prevailing philosophical orthodoxy. Talia Morag argues that too much emphasis has been placed on the "reasonableness" of emotions and far too little on two neglected areas: the imagination and the unconscious. She uses these to propose a new philosophical and psychoanalytic conception of the emotions that challenges the perceived rationality of emotions; views the emotions as fundamental to determining one's self-image; and bases therapy on the ability to "listen" to one’s emotional episode as it occurs.
Emotion, Imagination, and the Limits of Reason is one of the first books to connect philosophical research on the emotions to psychoanalysis. It will be essential reading for those studying ethics, the emotions, moral psychology and philosophy of psychology as well as those interested in psychoanalysis.
Table of Contents
1. Emotions as judgments or as modes of "seeing-as": The explanatory challenges toward a causal account for emotional episodes
2. The sub-personalist accounts
3. The "primal scene" accounts: developmental etiologies
4. The primal memory accounts: the narrative approach
5. An associative account of emotions
6. The associative method of inquiry into one’s emotional patterns
Talia Morag is a postdoctoral research fellow at Deakin University, Australia. She is the director of Psyche + Society, which brings discussions about social psychology to the wider public.
'This is a remarkable book that anyone interested in the theory of emotions must read. With a refreshingly new way of talking about and approaching emotions, it elevates the discussion with real-life examples and situations to a complexity that, finally, does justice to the reality of emotional life. This is ground-breaking work.' - Russell Grigg, Deakin University, Australia
'Morag's lucid and trenchant critique will help overturn anti-psychoanalytic prejudice in philosophy of mind. Her humanistic conception of the emotions, drawing on both Analytic and Continental traditions, is salutary. Through ingenious dialectical strategies, she challenges rationalistic conceptions - both those affirmed as such, and those held unwittingly - doing justice, finally, to the complex causal and normative phenomena of our emotional lives.' - Andy Hamilton, Durham University, UK
'Talia Morag’s aim is to integrate the philosophical discussions of the nature of the emotions, the interpretation and assessment of Freudian theory, and the character of practical reason. Each of these areas has its own extensive and specialized literature, and there has been no fully systematic attempt to bring them together in a unified account. Morag’s project, then, is an extremely ambitious one and one that she carries off with very striking success. Moreover, her discussions of iconic representations, associative networks, and figurative speech have implications for an even broader range of topics, including some of the most important current issues in philosophy of mind and the theory of content.' – Stephen L. White, Tufts University, USA