Sophia 59 (2):333-343 (2020)

Renxiang Liu
McGill University
In this paper, I explore the ontological implication of Sartre’s and Heidegger’s phenomenological accounts of emotion. I start by looking at Sartre’s notion of the ‘magical world’ in his booklet Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions, showing how emotion, for him, reveals the overall structure of ‘human reality’ rather than a dispensable aspect of it. Discussing experiences of the magical world allowed Sartre to ‘bracket’ what he called ‘the determinism of the world’, which predominated naturalist-representationalist psychology of emotion in his time. Then I derive from Sartre’s account of emotion an ontological implication, i.e., that the world is primarily magical. Without at once deciding whether this applies to Sartre, I exhibit how radical it can get by examining Heidegger’s more consistent account of emotion in Being and Time. There, it turns out that the determinist, neutral world championed by representationalism relies on an ‘emotionless emotion’ and thus is not fundamental. Finally, I suggest that, while textual evidences in Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions are inconsistent and allow a strong and a weak interpretation of its ontological implication, the former should be favored in consideration of Sartre’s later development.
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-020-00775-8
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Intentionality: A Fundamental Idea of Husserl's Phenomenology.Jean-Paul Sartre - 1970 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 1 (2):4-5.

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