The Great Courses: Understanding the Mind

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The Passions: Philosophy and the Intelligence of Emotions Description

Conventional wisdom suggests there is a sharp distinction between emotion and reason. Emotions are seen as inferior, disruptive, primitive, and even bestial forces. These 24 remarkable lectures suggest otherwise-that emotions have intelligence and provide personal strategies that are vitally important to our everyday lives of perceiving, evaluating, appraising, understanding, and acting in the world.

Take a tour of Professor Solomon's more than three-decade-long intellectual struggle to reach an understanding of emotions, which he argues are, "the key to the meaning of life." A distinguished philosopher himself, Professor Solomon's lectures unfold as a rich dialogue with other philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Adam Smith, Nietzsche, William James, Freud, Heidegger, and Sartre.

In your exploration, you'll address such questions as: how do we distinguish emotions from feelings, such as heartache? What is the meaning of our emotions, and how do they serve to enrich and guide our lives? Are there a determinable number of basic emotions that serve as building blocks for the range of emotions we experience? Is an emotion such as jealousy a genetic trait shared by all humans - or is it something learned? As you listen to these lectures, prepare to think: Think about your own emotions; think about what you observe in others; think about the enormous body of research and conjecture on this fascinating topic as Professor Solomon takes you on a challenging and stimulating journey. The more we puzzle over the nature of emotions, the deeper the mystery becomes. It is a mystery that is by no means solved, but one that repays in careful, philosophical analysis.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2006 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2006 The Great Courses
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