Interpreting the Personal: Expression and the Formation of Feelings

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Cornell University Press, 1997 - Psychology - 204 pages
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Sue Campbell reinstates the personal as an important dimension in analytic philosophy of mind. She argues that the category of feelings has a unique role in psychological explanation: the expression of feelings is the attempt to communicate personal significance. To develop a model for affective meaning, the author moves attention away from the classic emotions to feelings that are more personal, inchoate, and idiosyncratic. Drawing examples from such sources as Audre Lorde, Miriam Tlali, essayist Rick Bass, and Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, Campbell argues, from a feminist perspective, that what we feel can be individuated through expression to sympathetic interpreters, or it can be distorted and constricted in unsympathetic or oppressive interpretive communities. She examines the complex role of public interpretation in the formation of personal experience, and the political use of such criticisms as "bitter, " "sentimental, " and "overemotional." Her work makes the political dimension of emotional expression explicit.
 

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Contents

I
13
II
47
III
75
IV
103
V
135
VI
165
Appendix
189
Index
199
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About the author (1997)

Campbell is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.

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