The Rationality of Emotion
In this urbane and witty book, Ronald de Sousa disputes the widespread notion that reason and emotion are natural antagonists. He argues that emotions are a kind of perception, that their roots in the paradigm scenarios in which they are learned give them an essentially dramatic structure, and that they have a crucial role to-play in rational beliefs, desires, and decisions by breaking the deadlocks of pure reason.The book's twelve chapters take up the following topics: alternative models of mind and emotion; the relation between evolutionary, physiological, and social factors in emotions; a taxonomy of objects of emotions; assessments of emotions for correctness and rationality; the regulation by emotions of logical and practical reasoning; emotion and time; the mechanism of emotional self-deception; the ethics of laughter; and the roles of emotions in the conduct of life. There is also an illustrative interlude, in the form of a lively dialogue about the ideology of love, jealousy, and sexual exclusiveness.
A Bradford Book.
HardcoverOut of Print ISBN: 9780262040921 400 pp. | 9 in x 6 in
Paperback$35.00 X | £27.00 ISBN: 9780262540575 400 pp. | 9 in x 6 in
De Sousa builds his case in a highly informed and readable way. He is in complete control of the literature on the emotions (historical, philosophical, physiological, and psychological). He also manages to bring in an extraordinary range of references from surprising places - Erica Jong, André Gide, Dorothy Dinnerstein. This sort of humane ease and wide-ranging vision makes for fun and often funny reading, but always, happily, in the service of the main argument. One of the virtues of de Sousa's book is that it offers an analysis of the emotions that will be congenial to many philosophers working in the cognitivist tradition.
De Sousa demolishes just about all the reasons there could be for thinking that there is anything intrinsically irrational or anti-rational about any interestingly wide class of emotions, and makes a good case for the claim that we are capable of rationality - thought, reasoned decision and social coordination - largely because we are the creatures with the emotions we have. This is an interesting and important claim.
Times Higher Education Supplement
One of the virtues of de Sousa's book is that it offers an analysis of the emotions that will be congenial to many philosophers working in the cognitivist tradition.