Mosch, Isadora Dillan
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In my dissertation, I aim to bring emotion into philosophy. I explore how to philosophically understand emotions better, and simultaneously, how to emotionally understand philosophy better. To begin, I argue that philosophy, as an intellectual endeavor, cannot be separated from the emotions. This argument deepens into the claim that we are in no position to even begin to understand what it would mean for philosophy, or any intellectual, rationalized thinking, to be truly separate from our emotions. However, although we are, at our core, emotional beings, we often try to separate our “thinking” self from our “feeling” self. I explore how we can be in the right contextual position to reintegrate our emotions with articulated thought. A paradigm example in which we oftentimes unite our feeling and thinking is in the grieving process. One of the best ways to explore emotion in general, and grief in particular, I argue, is through popular culture narratives. Narratives bring emotion into philosophy by connecting a personal, even empathetic dimension to an otherwise impersonal philosophical theme. Popular culture narratives are an especially privileged place for this bridge between thinking and feeling to occur because it reports on, but also constitutes, the present condition of our culture—in much the same way that emotion reports on, and also constitutes the present condition of the individual. These narratives are a safe stand-in for real-life experience; we can explore a particular emotional feeling without actually suffering any of the consequences of the event itself. Throughout this project, I hoped to weave through these questions about emotion and philosophy in a way that would reveal answers to questions we hadn’t even thought of asking—and in that way, truly use both philosophy and emotion to unearth even more about how we may understand the world.