Requena, Carmen  c.requena@unileon.es
 Incorporated contributions
Requena (12/2009)
 Usage domain
psicology, evolution
 German Emotion

“Do we cry because we are sad, or rather are we sad because we cry?”  W. James

Before answering please consider the following simple experiment. In any moment you do feel sad, take a pencil and bite ir for a couple of minutes. You eventually find yourself then smiling and finishing your sad state. Now answer the previous question.

Emotion is the affective tone with which organisms respond to their circumstances. Three research lines are to be highlighted in the study of emotion, with respective antecedents in Charles Darwin,  William James  and Sigmund Freud. 

Emotions arise from filogenetically selected behaviours. It may happen that obsolete conducts remain, even if they are no longer fit to present demands. For example, many people are still afraid of snakes, while it is so unprobable to find any wild snake in daily life. It would be more adequate for us to be afraid of plugs, hobs or lifts, since they really endanger our lifes.

Even if it is common to undistinctively talk about emotion and feeling, there are differences between them, particularly as to their duration. Emotion takes about miliseconds, while feelings are more durable and a later result in the phylogeny of our brain. Emotions are located in the limbical system while feelings in the orbito ventral area.

  • BLANCHARD-FIELDS, F. (2005). Introduction to the Special Section on Emotion-Cognition Interactions and the Aging Mind. Psychology and Aging (vol. 20, núm. 4, págs. 539-541).
  • CHARLES, S.T. & CARSTENSEN, L.L. (2010). Social and emotional aging. In S. Fiske and S. Taylor (Eds). Annual Review of Psychology. Vol. 61., 383-409. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100448 
  • DARWIN, Ch. (1984). La expresión de las emociones en los animales y en el hombre. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.
  • EKMAN, P.; FRIESEN, W.V. (1975). Unmasking the Face. A Guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs.
  • EKMAN, P.; FRIESEN, W.V.; HAGER, J.C. (2002). The new Facial Action Coding System (FACS).
  • JAMES W. 1884. What is an emotion? Mind 9: 188-205.
  • ZACKS, R.T.; HASHER, L.; LI, K.Z.H. (2000). Human memory. In: T. A. Salthouse; F.I.M. Craik (eds.). Handbook of aging and cognition (2nd ed., pp. 293–357). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
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Incorporated entries
Carmen Requena (dec/2009)
[It correspond with the article directly edited by the editor/author in the left column]

Entries under work
Vekić Marko (Dec 2019, contribution elaborated within the Seminar "A Journey through Philosophy and Information" facilitated by J.M.Díaz at the Hochschule München) 

[NOTE OF THE FACILITATOR (using the same convection as before): 
(1) The comments of the facilitator will be edited using this style, brackets, 8 pt, color change to violet. These will be introduced in between your own text to discuss and further co-elaborate the content. Whenever the authors consider to have addressed the issue, they can simply remove the comment
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(1) The variety of accounts on emotion and feeling are not considered. It is worth broadening the entry in this respects. I recommend to review: Scarantino, Andrea and de Sousa, Ronald, "Emotion", in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [online].
(2) The paper does not state a clear difference between feelings and emotions, using for the latter 2 different accounts: as mental representation first, later as physical manifestation.
(3) The consideration of knowledge is abruptly introduced, with not connection to what was stated before. There's actually a way to address it referring to the "thinking creatures" in the definition of Manstead et al. But this needs to be properly introduced.
(4) The example provided relies basically on the role of knowledge and previous experience. However it is important to recall that even when it affects the emotion, and the feelings, it does not determine it. The sense itself, including objective components as harmony or rhythm and subjective components as the capacity to trigger other feelings, cognitive states or behaviours, play also an important role. Actually there is contrasted relation between positive feelings an unexpectancy (if the outcome can be previewed the feeling intensity is decreased. This provides an additional relation between information (in the sense of Shannon) and feeling.
(5) The references do not properly follow the APA style, because of the format (for instances, last names come first) and lack of information (the reference of Schröder is incomplete)] I did see that it is not complete, but when I go under cite this article nothing is coming up so I don't have access to it. Since it is a open article I added Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland, but I m not sure if
it is complete.

Abstract: This essay of emotions presents a brief introduction to its different dimensions and tries to explain the connection to other complex words like feelings and knowledge. 

"In the simplest and most general wording possible, emotions are bio regulatory reactions that aim at promoting directly or indirectly the sort of physiological states that secure not just survival but survival regulated into the range that we, conscious and thinking creatures, identify with well-being." (Manstead, Frijda & Fischer, 2004, p. 50) 

There are a variety of accounts to be considered when speaking of emotions. In the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy emotions are distinguished in many dimensions. Those dimensions are occurrences (e.g., panic), and others are dispositions (e.g., hostility); some are short-lived (e.g., anger) and others are long-lived (e.g., grief); some involve primitive cognitive processing (e.g., fear of a suddenly looming object), and others involve sophisticated cognitive processing (e.g., fear of losing a chess match); some are conscious (e.g., disgust about an insect in the mouth) and others are unconscious (e.g., unconscious fear of failing in life); some have prototypical facial expressions (e.g., surprise) and others lack them (e.g., regret). Some involve strong motivations to act (e.g., rage) and others do not (e.g., sadness). Some are present across species (e.g., fear) and others are exclusively human (e.g., schadenfreude). That are just some examples which were mentioned in the article about emotions, but nevertheless they introduce us to the many aspects that need to be kept in mind when discussing emotions.Furthermore we can differ between three different studys of emotion that play a key role. The first one is Emotions as feelings, the second one Evaluations and the last Motivations. The Feeling Tradition takes the way emotions feel to be their most essential characteristic, and defines emotions as distinctive conscious experiences. The Evaluative Tradition regards the way emotions construe the world as primary, and defines emotions as being (or involving) distinctive evaluations of the eliciting circumstances. The Motivational Tradition defines emotions as distinctive motivational states. Since many theories differ in their opinions, at least those are the three aspects on which theorists can agree on. (Scarantino, A. and de Sousa, R., 2018)

From an  evolutionary perspective "Emotions" could be described easily as a phenomenon which was adapted to the genetics of a human being, in the process of evolution, just to express their feelings about a certain situation. But what connection do  feelings and emotions have? 

Manstead describes the connection between emotions and feelings by saying, that they are a mental representation of the physiologic changes that occur during an emotion. (Manstead et. al., 2004, p.52) Moreover the most representative theory says, that emotions are simply a class of feelings, differentiated by their experienced quality from other sensory experiences like tasting chocolate or proprioceptions like sensing a pain in one’s lower back. This theory has dominated the history of emotion studys from the Ancient Greece to the beginning of the twentieth century. (Scarantino, A. and de Sousa, R., 2018) 

Reading into the major players opinions like Plato, Aristotle, Dewey, James-Lange or Walter Cannon  about the bond between emotions and feelings, it gets clear that there is still no t a answer that can satisfy every party. Still a good or more appropriate statement is  "we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble, and not that we cry, strike, or tremble, because we are sorry, angry, or fearful. (James 1884: 190)". (Scarantino, A. and de Sousa, R., 2018)  

In conclusion it is hard to differ between feelings and emotions since they are in a close action chain and therefore depend on one another, but in my opinion I would say Emotions are a construct of many dimensions which help underpin our feelings. Whereas Emotions accrue physically as well as psychologically, feelings manifest themselves more on a psychological level.    

In the first Quote of this essay Manstead mantioned our species as thinking creatures. To declare us as thinking creaturs we need to have the ability to learn facts and therefore build up our knowledge. In this context knowledge must have a influence on how we express our emotions. As referred in the article Knowledge, according to the classical epistemological model, knowledge is understood from the notions of belief, truth value and justification (or argument). In this sense, a person A knows that P if and only if it fulfills the following three conditions: (a) A believes that P, (b) P is true and (c) is justified in believing that P.” Therefore to speak of knowledge an individual needs to fulfil (a) & (b) & (c).

When we speak of Knowledge, a connection to information needs to be considered. The cybernetician Gregory Bateson stated that from his point of view Information is best described as: "Information is a difference that makes a difference". This specific point of view is from such a great value, because it is the most popular one, even tough it leaves room for different interpretations. That was not something new for Batson. His work tried to remain at the level of common sense concepts, but always formulated his description open-ended so it would leave room open for discussions. His work was motivated by the interest in structural aspects of information and does not include actual structural analysis of information. He same as MacKay recognized the importance of structural characteristics of information. From my point of view Bateson definition wants to indicate, that Information itself can cause a chain of reactions that can change the entire point of view to something. So an specific information can change the outcome of a single emotion and how we show it on a physiological level. So, what is the relationship of those four terms emotion, feelings, information and knowledge? They are co-dependent on each other and cannot exist without one another. In order to show your emotions on a certain aspect you must gather information. This information must be converted into knowledge and then emotions can come into play. Emotions can be shown then in a positive or negative way which is depending on the relation the individual has with the information gathered before and the knowledge gained. To repeat Mansteads definition of feelings, they are a physical manifestation of the physiological changes that occur during an emotion. 

The following example was chosen by the author because it is a matter that concerns every individual and can give a hint on the verity of emotions how individuals can react on a certain matter. Music has always been in our everyday lives and has different types from classic, rock, hip-hop or funk. With different types always come varying preferences and therefore various opinions 

Let us take the “Beatles” that would be considered nowadays as old for the young generation. The older generation, which have been young in the time that the Beatles started their carrier mostly liked to listen to their songs. So, if they hear a song today, they would probably react with positive emotions listing to them. They would show their emotions with laughter, happiness or maybe a simple smile which shows to the other people surrounding them that they have a positive feeling about this matter. If an individual from a younger generation listens to the same song from the Beatles at the exact same time, he might react differently to it. The youth person could either react with antipathy which would show with anger or maybe discomfort, or he/she could react with positive emotions too. The significant knowledge about the old times when the Beatles started their carrier and where considered great artist is missing for the young person. That is way he tries to compare to different knowledge than the older person. That does not necessarily mean that the young person will not like it. If the young person is more into recent days hip-hop with Travis Scoot, Kane West or Jay Z chances are that this person could not like this type of genre, but if the person is into classics and loves the way people used to live that includes the old music also, chances are high that this young person will also react with joy. 

In conclusion, the music from the Beatles is an information that is not positiv or negativ at the beginning. It is simply converted into knowledge which is at that point not good or not bad. The human brain starts comparing old knowledge and feelings to process that now information. After this new information was converted into good or bad knowledge, emotions of positiv or negativ natur can take place and feelings are shown on a physiological level.  


Antony S.R. Manstead, N. Frijda and A. Fischer (2004) Feelings and Emotions. The Amsterdam Symposium. Cambridge University Press. 

Bolisani, E., and Bratianu, C. (2018). The elusive definition of knowledge. In Bolisani, E. and Bratianu, C. (2018). Emergent knowledge strategies: Strategic thinking in knowledge management (pp. 1-22). Cham: Springer International Publishing. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-60656_1

M, J. Schroeder (2017) The Difference that Makes a Difference for the Conceptualization of Information. Akita: Japan. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.  

Scarantino, Andrea and de Sousa, Ronald, "Emotion", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2018/entries/emotion/>.