More immediate to facilitating her metamorphosis than the house itself is the room she is in and the characteristics of that room, the most important being the yellow wall-paper which also plays a double role: it has the ability to trap her in with its intricacy of pattern that leads her to no satisfying end, bars that hold in and separate the woman in the wall-paper from her.
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If the view that emotions are a kind of perception can be sustained,then the connection between emotion and cognition will have beensecured. But there is yet another way of establishing this connection,compatible with the perceptual model. This is to draw attention to therole of emotions as providing the framework for cognitions of the moreconventional kind. de Sousa (1987) and Amélie Rorty (1980)propose this sort of account, according to which emotions are not somuch perceptions as they are ways of seeing—species ofdeterminate patterns of salience among objects of attention, lines ofinquiry, and inferential strategies (see also Roberts 2003). Emotionsmake certain features of situations or arguments more prominent,giving them a weight in our experience that they would have lacked inthe absence of emotion. Consider how Iago proceeds to make Othellojealous. He directs Othello's attention, suggests questions to ask,and insinuates that there are inferences to be drawn withoutspecifying them himself. Once Othello's attention turns to his wife'sfriendship with Cassio and the lost handkerchief, inferences which onthe same evidence would not even have been thought of before are nowexperienced as compelling: “Farewell, the tranquilmind….”
One important view of this sort is that defended by Edward Craig(1990). Craig’s entry-point into the analysis of knowledge wasnot intuitions about cases, but rather a focus on the role that theconcept of knowledge plays for humans. In particular, Craig suggestedthat the point of using the category of knowledge was for people toflag reliable informants—to help people know whom to trust inmatters epistemic. Craig defends an account of knowledge that isdesigned to fill this role, even though it is susceptible to intuitivecounterexamples. The plausibility of such accounts, with a lessintuitive extension but with a different kind of theoreticaljustification, is a matter of controversy.
A view ascribing to emotions a true mind-to-world direction of fit,inspired by the model of perception, would involve a criterion ofsuccess that depended on correctness with respect to some objectiveproperty. To take this approach is to give a particular answer to aquestion posed long ago in Plato's Euthyphro (the question, asoriginally put forward, concerned the nature of piety, but it extendsto values in general): Do we love X—mutatis mutandisfor the other emotions—because X is lovable, or do we declare Xto be lovable merely because we love it? The first alternative is theobjectivist one, encouraged by the analogy of perception. It requiresthat we define clearly the relevant sense of‘objectivity’. Specifically it promises a valid analogybetween some of the ways in which we can speak of perception asaspiring to objectivity and ways in which we can say the same ofemotion.
Pragmatic encroachment on knowledge is deeply controversial. PatrickRysiew (2001), Jessica Brown (2006), and Mikkel Gerken (forthcoming) haveargued that traditional views about the nature of knowledge aresufficient to account for the data mentioned above. MichaelBlome-Tillmann (2009a) argues that it has unacceptablycounterintuitive results, like the truth of such claims as knows that , but if it were more important, shewouldn’t know, or knew that until thequestion became important. Stanley (2005) offers strategies foraccepting such consequences. Other, more theoretical arguments againstencroachment have also been advanced; see for example Ichikawa,Jarvis, and Rubin (2012), who argue that pragmatic encroachment is atodds with important tenets of belief-desire psychology.
The view that emotions are irrational was eloquently defended by theEpicureans and Stoics. For this reason, these Hellenistic schools posea particularly interesting challenge for the rest of the Westerntradition. The Stoics adapted and made their own the Socratichypothesis that virtue is nothing else than knowledge, adding the ideathat emotions are essentially irrational beliefs. All vice and allsuffering is then irrational, and the good life requires the rootingout of all desires and attachments. (As for the third of the majorHellenistic schools, the Skeptics, their view was that it is beliefsas such that were responsible for pain. Hence they recommend therepudiation of opinions of any sort.) All three schools stressed theoverarching value of “ataraxia”, the absence ofdisturbance in the soul. Philosophy can then be viewed as therapy, thefunction of which is to purge emotions from the soul (Nussbaum1994). In support of this, the Stoics advanced the plausible claimthat it is psychologically impossible to keep only nice emotions andgive up the nasty ones. For all attachment and all desire, howeverworthy their objects might seem, entail the capacity for wrenching anddestructive negative emotions. Erotic love can bring with it themurderous jealousy of a Medea, and even a commitment to the idea ofjustice may foster a capacity for destructive anger which is nothingbut “furor brevis”— temporary insanity, in Seneca'sarresting phrase. Moreover, the usual objects of our attachment areclearly unworthy of a free human being, since they diminish ratherthan enhance the autonomy of those that endure them.
Sosa identifies knowledge with apt belief, so understood. Knowledge entails both truth (accuracy) and justification(adroitness), on this view, but they are not merely independentcomponents out of which knowledge is truth-functionally composed. Itrequires that the skill explain the success. This is in some respectssimilar to the anti-luck condition we have examined above, in that itlegislates that the relation between justification and truth be nomere coincidence. However, insofar as Sosa’s “AAA”model is generally applicable in a way going beyond epistemology,there are perhaps better prospects for understanding the relevantnotion of aptness in a way independent of understanding knowledgeitself than we found for the notion of epistemic luck.
These suggestions about the relevance of emotion to ethics must besharply distinguished from “Emotivism”—the claimthat emotions can be used to elucidate the concept of evaluationitself. Such elucidation would only be plausible if we understood theexplicans more clearly than the explicandum. But the variety andcomplexity of emotions makes them poor candidates for the role ofexplicans. The view in question must also be distinguished from thesociobiological hypothesis—which had early precursors in Menciusand Hume—that certain motives of benevolence are part of thegenetic equipment which makes ethical behavior possible. Thatplausible view has attracted surprisingly energetic opposition inrecent years. One objection against it is one directed against allforms of ethical naturalism: namely that the biological origins of asentiment have no obvious bearing on its ethical value. Nevertheless,studies of social interaction among other primates strongly supportthe hypothesis that our moral intuitions have been shaped byevolution. And although analogies between primate behaviour and humanmorality are still resisted with desperate energy, it seems hard todeny that we can recognize a surprising range of familiar “moralemotions” in our nearest non-human cousins (de Waal 2006). Suchnaturalistic studies do promise to explain, at least, both theexistence of some of our more benevolent emotions and attitudes, andthe way in which their scope often seems so dangerously limited to themembers of some restricted in-group.
One problem with this theory is that it is unable to give an adequateaccount of the differences between emotions. This objection was firstvoiced by Walter Cannon (1929). According to James, what distinguishesemotions is the fact that each involves the perception of a unique setof bodily changes. Cannon claimed, however, that the visceralreactions characteristic of distinct emotions such as fear and angerare identical, and so these reactions cannot be what allow us to tellemotions apart. The same conclusion is usually drawn from an oft-citedexperiment performed by Stanley Schacter and Jerome Singer(1962). Subjects in their study were injected with epinephrine, astimulant of the sympathetic system. Schacter and Singer found thatthese subjects tended to interpret the arousal they experienced eitheras anger or as euphoria, depending on the type of situation they foundthemselves in. Some were placed in a room where an actor wasbehaving angrily; others were placed in a room where an actor wasacting silly and euphoric. In both cases the subjects' mood tended tofollow that of the actor. The conclusion most frequently drawn isthat, although some forms of general arousal are easily labeled interms of some emotional state, there is no hope of finding inphysiological states any principle of distinction between specificemotions. The differentiae of specific emotions are not physiological,but cognitive or something else.