Why Does Sartre Say That Our Emotions Are Transformations of the World

Topics: Emotion, Psychology, Feeling Pages: 3 (882 words) Published: January 6, 2009
In this essay, I will attempt to explain why Sartre argues that emotions are transformations of the world in his book, “A sketch for the Theory of the Emotions”. According to Sartre, an emotion is a response to a situation, an interaction with the world. Emotions control the way we act under certain circumstances and in certain situations, which is our behaviour, and we feel like we have no control. However, although we blame our behaviour on our emotions (“I hit that man because I was angry”) Sartre argues that we are actively in control of our emotions. But emotions need stimuli to occur, they do not just happen. We may be control of our emotions, but an event or situation is still the reason we feel emotions. As I will show in this piece of work, Sartre argues that we control our emotions, but only to a certain extent.

As we go through life we encounter various situations that we have to deal with, and our emotions help us deal with these situations. For example, if we find a food looks disgusting, we will not eat it, and for good reason, disgust is a mechanism that stops us getting ill, as if some food appears disgusting to us, then it is probably because it is putrid or rotten, and would actually make us ill. The emotion of disgust controls our actions and a situation has been dealt with, we experience emotions to help ourselves deal with life, but we can control these emotions. Our minds alter their perception of things to better cope with a situation or event. However, Sartre argues that our emotions transform the world. Our consciousnesses will be altered by our emotions under certain situations. One example that Sartre uses is a bunch of grapes. There are some grapes that I would like to harvest, but they are out of reach. So I walk away and shrug my shoulders and tell myself that the grapes looked too green anyway, and they were sour. I tell myself this in order to make myself feel better about not being able to reach the grapes. I project onto the...
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