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[Beijing Forum 2014] Reason and Emotion in Philosophy: Tradition, Reality and Future

DEC . 05 2014

Peking University, Nov. 8, 2014: The second Philosophy Panel session of Beijing Forum 2014 was held at the Starlight Hall, Yingjie Exchange Center of Peking University on the morning of Nov.8. Scholars from around the globe attended the meeting and make profound discussions about the topic of “The Nature of Emotion”.


Prof. Chan Lee of Hallym University gave the first speech on “Rethinking of the Relationship between Reason and Emotion in Zhu Xi’s Philosophy”. He focused on the correlative understanding of emotions with Markedness Theory. He introduced some basic theory of Zhu Xi’s Philosophy concerning emotion and reason. Then he argued that emotion stems from man’s need to handle different feelings, for example pains. He also claimed that in a sense, emotion and reason are not exclusive as they can be just viewed as referring to different layers. By explaining the difference between the cognitivism and non-cognitivism, Prof. Chan Lee reminded us to reconsider the relationship of the two methodologies as a combined one.


Martin Pickave, Professor from the University of Toronto talked about Peter Strawson and Peter John Olivi on emotions, reactive attitudes and determinism. By quoting Strawson’s paper “Freedom and Resentment”, Prof. Pickave concluded that Strawson discussed the question of freedom will through the lens of reactive attitudes. Then he talked about some arguments of Olivi, a medieval philosopher and member of the Franciscan Order, who alluded to reactive attitudes in his discussion of human free choice. He further showed Olivi’s arguments about anger, the object and subject of friendship. By analyzing those thoughts of Olivi, he found that Olivi’s arguments are completely opposite to Strawson’s. For Olivi, our reactive attitudes in fact indicate that determinism must be wrong.


Prof. Richard Cross, from the University of Notre Dame, centered his topic on Duns Scotus on the Nature and Causal Origin of Emotions. The speech began with a question–Where is pain coming from. Prof. Richard Cross explained that pain is produced by damage and the feeling of pain is a kind of animal emotion, which can be shared among animals besides man. Through an example of touching the fire, he illustrated the origin of emotion including three steps: cause of bodily changes, apprehension of the effect and the perception or response to the environment stimulant. Then he argued that sometimes, without physical changes, the intentional change alone is efficient for causing emotions.


In the following part of the meeting, another three scholars also gave excellent reports concerning the topic “The Nature of Emotion”.


Reported by: Wang Qian

Edited by: Jin Panzhu