Q. Is there a place for emotion in philosophy or is it rejected as being not rational? If so what should people do with their powerful emotions?
A. Let’s address the second question first. Philosophers try to understand things. So a philosopher will try to understand emotions; but it isn’t at all clear that a philosophical understanding of emotions will tell you what to do with them. Of course philosophers do try to understand emotions: what they are and how they feed into the ways we act. Emotions themselves need not be rational in order for us to have a rational understanding of their nature and function. But I sense a question lurking in the background: how should we appraise emotions, if we don’t appraise them as rational or as non-rational? My suggestion: we appraise them as being fitting or appropriate. Is it appropriate to react with terror to the appearance of a small harmless spider? Is it appropriate to love someone who is so clearly damaging to your own self-esteem? Professor Bernhard Weiss, Dept of Philosophy University of Cape Town.