Hi, I'm a first year philosophy student at Hull university in the UK, I've been searching for an answer to a question that has arisen as a result of a piece of work we were set on the nature of love. Most people try and quantify love, or in fact, any emotion based on the idea that it is subjective.
My problem is this, I have never seen anyone explain to me exactly WHY emotions are subjective. It seems pretty obvious, but no one ever sat me down and said, here is the logically correct reasoning behind emotions being considered subjective. In a world of hypotheticals, isn't it hypothetically possible that emotion is an objective entity, so why is it considered not so?
The best explanation I've had for this was that no one can agree on what the necessary and sufficent conditions of emotions are. But then, scientists still don't agree where the other nine tenths of the universe is hiding, does that make the rest of the universe subjective?
People mean many different things when they say that emotions are subjective. Before we can answer why people think emotions are subjective and whether they are right to do so, we first have to step back and ask what someone might mean by the claim. One thing people sometimes mean when they claim emotions are subjective is that they cannot be assessed for rationality. They just are. "That’s how I feel" is supposed to end conversation, and if you ask for reasons why someone feels that way, or suggest that perhaps they shouldn’t, you can be accused of “not respecting their feelings.” If you think of emotions as merely inner sensations, like twinges or pangs, you will be inclined to think that they are subjective in this sense. There is no generally accepted theory of what emotions are, but even theories (such as Damasio's) that claim emotions are perceptions of bodily changes should not think that they are beyond rationality assessment. We have rich practices of interpersonal affective critique and these...