The principal problem in understanding emotions is to see how their affective aspect – the way they make us feel and react physically – fits together with their cognitive aspect: the way they present us with a particular view of the world. On the one hand, physical reactions and sensations may seem to have nothing to do with representing the world in a certain way; on the other, no way of representing the world may seem essentially to require such reactions and sensations. Yet, somehow, in emotion, both are inextricably involved. Sartre makes the connection by regarding emotional reactions as a substitute for purposive behaviour when the world is too ‘difficult’ for that to be effective. But these ‘difficulties’ are not grasped unemotionally and, as a consequence of this, reacted to non-rationally. Heidegger, who influenced Sartre in many other respects, takes the view that purposive activity, as well as passionately emotional behaviour, is made possible only because our engagement with the world is pervaded by moods which come over us involuntarily.
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