Andrius Kulikauskas

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Shorten abstract to 150-200 words:

Subjectively, we experience moods in seemingly thousands of different shades. Currently, we have no model for describing their variety. I sketch a research program of our personal moods to identify, reproduce, contrast, transform, interpret and appreciate them so that we might understand and share them just as we do any language.

I introduce several new ideas which are essential if we are to think of our emotional life as a language that we can understand ourselves and share with others. We need to think of an emotional manifold in which each emotion or mood is a location which is defined relative to all of the others. Each emotion or mood expresses a content that does not depend on how it is physiologically expressed, and indeed, some emotions or moods, such as peace or suspense, may never be physiologically expressed.

We experience our emotional life as a language because it arises from a set of basic emotional responses - contentment, sadness, surprise, excitement, fright, disgust, suspense and peace - which are symptoms of our expectations, and which we further transform as we manipulate the boundary between our self and the world. Unhealthy emotions - hate, anger, relief, depression, perversion, derangement, anxiety - arise when our expectations are counter to our wishes. I study the basic emotional responses by imagining the simplest way of evoking them in our minds, as with the Alphabet Block Model. I study more sophisticated moods by analyzing short lyric poems which evoke them, paying special attention to the boundaries which the poems establish between our self and the world. I propose that an analysis of several hundred poems would be very fruitful in establishing a taxonomy of moods.

Add key words:

Find references:

  • Indeed, there are scientists who think that moods are relics of evolution - unnecessary, annoying and maladaptive.
  • However, phenomenology offers some insights which are compatible with recent work in neuroscience. [Rewrite to make it a personal statement.]
  • Some researchers believe that there is a set of basic emotions.
  • Other researchers deny any such set and instead posit a core affect by which emotion is variously interpreted when disparate physiological systems are aroused.
  • What most researchers seem to share is a focus on physiology, an interest in what it must mean if our hearts are racing, or our palms are sweaty, or we are frowning or smiling.
  • In the spirit of Husserl, we explore how we can evoke emotional responses which are as pure and distinct as possible by exercising our imagination in ways that are as abstract but well defined as possible.

Accept fix:

  • Our ultimate goal is to explain the moods which we experience in every day life.

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