From René Descartes. L'homme de Rene Descartes. Paris: Charles Angot (1664)
There is something intriguing - I find at least - about the hypothetical NASA scenario I outlined in my last post. Try to come up with a time capsule explaining what we know about emotions. One of the big problems in discussing emotions scientifically is that everybody feels she is a specialist. We all have emotions, so nobody needs to explain to us what they are and how they function. Worse, if there is something that is counter intuitive it elicits strong reactions. So what if you had to explain what emotions are to somebody outside of that system. Very outside of that system. Just try to think about it for a moment.
I believe a good starting point is not to try to explain what emotions are, but what they do ...
(Comments encouraged - to be continued)
Arvid Kappas is Professor of Psychology at Jacobs University Bremen. He has been conducting research on emotions for over three decades in the US, Canada, and in several European countries.