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Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion

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  • Keith Seddon
    ... As Thomas says, quoting Diogenes Laertius, the only emotion open to a Stoic who has made a correct judgement and who is aware that they have done so, is
    Message 1 of 15 , Apr 22, 2000
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      Steve asks:

      > What I would like to know is what kind of emotion arises from a true
      > judgement.

      As Thomas says, quoting Diogenes Laertius, the only emotion open to a Stoic
      who has made a correct judgement and who is aware that they have done so, is
      the 'good feeling', joy. Tho, exactly why anyone would have a sense a joy at
      noticing accurately how something is, I can't imagine. Maybe this works like
      solving a puzzle, where you can get a distinct buzz when the answer suddenly
      dawns on you.

      Maybe in more complex cases, where arriving at a correct judgement is in
      some sense demanding, one may have a sense (a 'feeling') of one's own
      accomplishment that is beyond, or extra to, merely knowing that one has done
      this. Might we propose an analogy with an eating example? You might know
      that you have put something in your mouth, and you might have a sensation
      THAT something is in the mouth, but these two knowings are distinct from the
      taste of currey, say, that you get.

      Live with honour,

      Keith
    • bertr@diac.com
      ... From: Keith Seddon To: Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2000 3:20 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred
      Message 2 of 15 , Apr 22, 2000
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Keith Seddon <K.H.S@...>
        To: <stoics@egroups.com>
        Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2000 3:20 AM
        Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


        > Steve asks:
        >
        > > What I would like to know is what kind of emotion arises from a true
        > > judgement.
        >
        > As Thomas says, quoting Diogenes Laertius, the only emotion open to a
        Stoic
        > who has made a correct judgement and who is aware that they have done so,
        is
        > the 'good feeling', joy. Tho, exactly why anyone would have a sense a joy
        at
        > noticing accurately how something is, I can't imagine. Maybe this works
        like
        > solving a puzzle, where you can get a distinct buzz when the answer
        suddenly
        > dawns on you.
        >
        > Maybe in more complex cases, where arriving at a correct judgement is in
        > some sense demanding, one may have a sense (a 'feeling') of one's own
        > accomplishment that is beyond, or extra to, merely knowing that one has
        done
        > this. Might we propose an analogy with an eating example? You might know
        > that you have put something in your mouth, and you might have a sensation
        > THAT something is in the mouth, but these two knowings are distinct from
        the
        > taste of currey, say, that you get.
        >

        Do we assume that everyone agrees on the definition of
        "feeling?" In spite of working with people and their feelings, the
        definition was difficult. I finally decided that a "feeling" defines when
        the body has changed in some way. There is a list of feelings, but I cannot
        remember them all. Tim?

        Bert
      • KRS
        Dear Fellow Stoics, Keith writes ... Aristotle, somewhere, says _manthanein hedone estin_ ( learning is a pleasure ). I take the Stoic _chara_ (gaudium, joy)
        Message 3 of 15 , Apr 23, 2000
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          Dear Fellow Stoics,

          Keith writes

          >Tho, exactly why anyone would have a sense a joy at
          >noticing accurately how something is, I can't imagine.
          >Maybe this works like solving a puzzle, where you can
          >get a distinct buzz when the answer suddenly dawns on you.


          Aristotle, somewhere, says _manthanein hedone estin_ ("learning is a
          pleasure"). I take the Stoic _chara_ (gaudium, joy) partly in that sense.

          There is also something else. I do not think the Stoic joy derives solely
          from correct judgments (Steve's original question). I think it also is an
          after effect of doing one's duty.

          Consider the hedonistic paradox: The person who pursues his own pleasure
          will not find it. Active pursuit of pleasure--in my life, at least--often
          has unfortunate results. There are unpleasant consequences of neglecting
          obligations. There are also dangers from heightening my expectations of
          what ought to remain preferred indifferents. On the other hand, the after
          glow of a day spent in accomplishing my duties is sublime.

          None of this is meant to suggest that joy does not also derive in part from
          high quality leisure (see my earlier postings about _otium_ vs.
          _negotium_). Indeed, I am incapable of the leisure-free devotion to duty
          that I imagine a sage could manage. However, there is a real feeling of
          quiet accomplishment when one has done what one ought. That may be the
          genuine article, the Stoic joy.

          Bear and forbear,

          Kenneth

          Very truly yours,

          Kenneth R. Sibley
          aurelius@...
        • KRS
          Dear Fellow Stoics, Keith writes ... Aristotle, somewhere, says _manthanein hedone estin_ ( learning is a pleasure ). I take the Stoic _chara_ (gaudium, joy)
          Message 4 of 15 , Apr 23, 2000
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            Dear Fellow Stoics,

            Keith writes

            >Tho, exactly why anyone would have a sense a joy at
            >noticing accurately how something is, I can't imagine.
            >Maybe this works like solving a puzzle, where you can
            >get a distinct buzz when the answer suddenly dawns on you.


            Aristotle, somewhere, says _manthanein hedone estin_ ("learning is a
            pleasure"). I take the Stoic _chara_ (gaudium, joy) partly in that sense.

            There is also something else. I do not think the Stoic joy derives solely
            from correct judgments (Steve's original question). I think it also is an
            after effect of doing one's duty.

            Consider the hedonistic paradox: The person who pursues his own pleasure
            will not find it. Active pursuit of pleasure--in my life, at least--often
            has unfortunate results. There are unpleasant consequences of neglecting
            obligations. There are also dangers from heightening my expectations of
            what ought to remain preferred indifferents. On the other hand, the after
            glow of a day spent in accomplishing my duties is sublime.

            None of this is meant to suggest that joy does not also derive in part from
            high quality leisure (see my earlier postings about _otium_ vs.
            _negotium_). Indeed, I am incapable of the leisure-free devotion to duty
            that I imagine a sage could manage. However, there is a real feeling of
            quiet accomplishment when one has done what one ought. That may be the
            genuine article, the Stoic joy.

            Bear and forbear,

            Kenneth

            Very truly yours,

            Kenneth R. Sibley
            aurelius@...
          • bertr@diac.com
            ... From: Steve Marquis To: Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2000 6:43 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred
            Message 5 of 15 , Apr 25, 2000
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              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Steve Marquis <smarquis@...>
              To: <stoics@egroups.com>
              Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2000 6:43 AM
              Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


              > Thanks to everyone for their reposes to my questions on the preferred
              > emotions.
              >
              > Thomas gave us the names of the three: joy (chara); caution (eulabeia);
              > and wishing (boulesis).
              >
              > I have used feelings and emotions interchangeably and perhaps that is a
              > little sloppy. Maybe it is more correct to talk about emotion as that
              > which motivates. In other words, that which causes a change of state in
              > the person following a particular thought. If the change of state
              requires
              > physical activity, then there are physiological changes within the body to
              > get ready for that activity. And those physical manifestations of a
              > particular emotional state are feelings. Bert, correct me if I'm in error
              > here.

              May I offer a similar, but different way of understanding. Keep in
              mind that these issues will probably never be resolved - I try for the
              simplest way of understanding. First, I detect no difference between
              emotion and feeling. In common language they are used interchangeably and I
              see no reason to try to find differences. I strongly agree that a thought
              can arouse the body to action, and it is the arousal that we call the
              feeling. Some thoughts scream "flee" at us and our bodies mobilize to run.
              Most often in our civilization we do not run, but the awareness of the
              body's mobilization we call fear. Similarly with anger, love, etc. (Of
              note, research suggests that the different physical states are the same, but
              we call them by different names.) I suggest that the feelings are consonant
              with the thought, that the thought is the motivator. I think I mentioned
              that feelings can be out of consciousness. Biofeedback devices can detect
              them even though the person cannot.
              >
              > Without emotion then, thoughts are strictly neutral. Thoughts are just
              > conclusions gleaned from perceptual facts, and potential harm or benefit
              to
              > the thinker has not generated any special response.
              >
              Consider the difference in reaction to snakes by me and by snake
              handlers. I will accept one to handle, but have a sense of anxiety (the
              physiological response to the thought, run). My judgment is that snakes are
              dangerous, counterbalanced by my awareness that most are safe to handle.
              The snake handler knows that snakes are safe, does not shout run at herself
              and has no fear.

              > We know that passionless is not emotionless, but rather ridding oneself of
              > excessive emotion. The purpose of apatheia is not to divest oneself of
              all
              > emotion (which may not be possible, anyway), but rather emotional
              > efficiency. That is, we should allocate just enough emotional energy to
              > take care of the task at hand and no more. This conservation of energy
              > sounds in awful lot like the conservation of Chi in Taoism.
              >
              Yes. General observation tells us that too much emotion leads to
              incompetence, but the general public argues that humans should be
              overwhelmed by fear in specific kinds of situations. I was once called
              psychotic because I did not have the emotional reaction (to being fired)
              that others assumed was part of a normal response.


              > Even fear, when used at the appropriate time and in the appropriate
              amount,
              > has a proper purpose. In that case we call it caution. This gives us the
              > adrenaline rush necessary to run just al little faster to get away from
              the
              > Grizzly or whichever is the better course of action to promote things in
              > accordance with nature, which in this case is our personal survival.
              >
              Obviously, there are times to run like hell. I prefer not to call
              this fear but appropriate arousal in a dangerous situation.

              >
            • Thomas
              ... Well I return to Diogenes Laertius: next to the primary good feelings, the Stoics recognized secondary (derived) ones: For wishing: kindness, generosity,
              Message 6 of 15 , Apr 26, 2000
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                Steve wrote:
                > The reason I asked my questions was to see if anyone could provide a list
                > of attributes of the good emotions that we could watch for.

                Well I return to Diogenes Laertius: next to the primary good feelings, the
                Stoics recognized secondary (derived) ones:
                For wishing: kindness, generosity, warmth, affection.
                For watchfulness: respect, cleanliness [Sometimes these ancient Greeks are
                hard to understand! I don't get the point about a lack of fear leading to
                "cleanliness." Does somebody read the Greek text?]
                For joy: delight, sociability, cheerfulness.
                Hello from
                Thomas (Belgium)
              • Timothy Anstiss
                With regard to good emotions, the ideas of the stoics have been taken up, modernised, and made much more empirical by cognitive therapists. One particular
                Message 7 of 15 , Apr 27, 2000
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                  With regard to "good" emotions, the ideas of the stoics have been taken up,
                  modernised, and made much more empirical by cognitive therapists. One
                  particular school you may wish to familiarise yourself with is rational
                  emotive behaviour therapy, REBT or previously RET. There are several sites
                  on the net, and books in quality bookstores.

                  They calssify the emotions in various ways, have developed models linking
                  particular kinds of emotions to particular kinds of beliefs (which may be
                  outside of conscious awareness but capable of being brought into awareness
                  and changed) and explicitly trace their origins to the stoics.

                  Maybe the stoics did have the last word on emotional classification systems,
                  but I suspect not. I am not saying that cognitive therapy has replaced
                  stoicism - is has not and can not - but that certain stoic ideas may have
                  passed their sell-by date. As dawkins would say, better memes are spreading
                  over the planet.

                  tim



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Thomas <trs236@...>
                  To: stoics@egroups.com <stoics@egroups.com>
                  Date: 26 April 2000 13:36
                  Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                  >
                  > Steve wrote:
                  >> The reason I asked my questions was to see if anyone could provide a list
                  >> of attributes of the good emotions that we could watch for.
                  >
                  >Well I return to Diogenes Laertius: next to the primary good feelings, the
                  >Stoics recognized secondary (derived) ones:
                  >For wishing: kindness, generosity, warmth, affection.
                  >For watchfulness: respect, cleanliness [Sometimes these ancient Greeks are
                  >hard to understand! I don't get the point about a lack of fear leading to
                  >"cleanliness." Does somebody read the Greek text?]
                  >For joy: delight, sociability, cheerfulness.
                  >Hello from
                  >Thomas (Belgium)
                  >
                  >------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                • Thomas
                  About watchfulness as a positive emotion (absence of fear) leading to cleanliness according to Diogenes Laertius - which I found puzzling, I ran a word
                  Message 8 of 15 , Apr 29, 2000
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                    About "watchfulness" as a positive emotion (absence of fear) leading to
                    "cleanliness" according to Diogenes Laertius - which I found puzzling, I ran
                    a word search through Epictetes' Manual on the word "clean", and it is
                    frequent; it makes me think of the social importance of Roman public baths
                    too; obviously the Romans considered cleanliness to be very important, a
                    sign of civilization.

                    Here's an excerpt from Epictetes, that's exotic and funny:

                    "Will you not wash off the dirt from your body? Will you not
                    come clean that those with whom you keep company may have pleasure
                    in being with you? But do you go with us even into the temples in
                    such a state, where it is not permitted to spit or blow the nose,
                    being a heap of spittle and of snot?"

                    Hello from
                    Thomas (Belgium)
                  • Thomas
                    Another idea about the subject, while reading A New Stoicism by Lawrence Becker. He writes: Nothing in our fundamental doctrine opposes passion as such.
                    Message 9 of 15 , May 14, 2000
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                      Another idea about the subject, while reading "A New Stoicism" by Lawrence
                      Becker. He writes: "Nothing in our fundamental doctrine opposes passion as
                      such." and: "It may be that this point was not adequately understood among
                      our ancient brethren." (p131)
                      He argues that if passion is not infantile or destructive, it's perfectly
                      compatible with perfecting one's agency, become virtuous. And this makes
                      good sense to us moderns. Isn't a passionate start in a love relationship a
                      good foundation for a mature and lasting relationship?
                      Hello from
                      Thomas (Belgium)
                      _________________
                      Colamus humanitatem
                      Let us cultivate humanity - Seneca




                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: Keith Seddon <K.H.S@...>
                      To: <stoics@egroups.com>
                      Sent: Saturday, April 22, 2000 11:20 AM
                      Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                      > Steve asks:
                      >
                      > > What I would like to know is what kind of emotion arises from a true
                      > > judgement.
                      >
                      > As Thomas says, quoting Diogenes Laertius, the only emotion open to a
                      Stoic
                      > who has made a correct judgement and who is aware that they have done so,
                      is
                      > the 'good feeling', joy. Tho, exactly why anyone would have a sense a joy
                      at
                      > noticing accurately how something is, I can't imagine. Maybe this works
                      like
                      > solving a puzzle, where you can get a distinct buzz when the answer
                      suddenly
                      > dawns on you.
                      >
                      > Maybe in more complex cases, where arriving at a correct judgement is in
                      > some sense demanding, one may have a sense (a 'feeling') of one's own
                      > accomplishment that is beyond, or extra to, merely knowing that one has
                      done
                      > this. Might we propose an analogy with an eating example? You might know
                      > that you have put something in your mouth, and you might have a sensation
                      > THAT something is in the mouth, but these two knowings are distinct from
                      the
                      > taste of currey, say, that you get.
                      >
                      > Live with honour,
                      >
                      > Keith
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      > Good friends, school spirit, hair-dos you'd like to forget.
                      > Classmates.com has them all. And with 4.4 million alumni already
                      > registered, there's a good chance you'll find your friends here:
                      > http://click.egroups.com/1/2885/4/_/248059/_/956426194/
                      > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • bertr@diac.com
                      ... From: Thomas To: Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2000 9:09 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion ...
                      Message 10 of 15 , May 14, 2000
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                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: Thomas <trs236@...>
                        To: <stoics@egroups.com>
                        Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2000 9:09 AM
                        Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                        > Another idea about the subject, while reading "A New Stoicism" by Lawrence
                        > Becker. He writes: "Nothing in our fundamental doctrine opposes passion as
                        > such." and: "It may be that this point was not adequately understood among
                        > our ancient brethren." (p131)
                        > He argues that if passion is not infantile or destructive, it's perfectly
                        > compatible with perfecting one's agency, become virtuous. And this makes
                        > good sense to us moderns. Isn't a passionate start in a love relationship
                        a
                        > good foundation for a mature and lasting relationship?


                        All emotion represents a focusing on a particular object. The
                        greater the emotion, the more narrow the focus. This is true of anger,
                        fear, guilt and, of course, love (I didn't mean this list to be all
                        inclusive). This suggests that emotion disregards everything about the
                        object except the reason to have the emotion and contrary information is
                        disregarded. Persons in love have a strong tendency to ignore negative
                        things about their loved one and persons in love have a strong tendency to
                        hide their flaws. The phrase, "the honeymoon is over," has great
                        significance." I disagree that a "passionate start in a love relationship
                        [is] a good foundation for a mature and lasting relationship." More likely
                        not.

                        Bert
                      • Thomas
                        Yes, Bert, your argument against passion is perfectly consistent with ancient Stoicism. But passion is an essential value to me. It can be studying or
                        Message 11 of 15 , May 16, 2000
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                          Yes, Bert, your argument against passion is perfectly consistent with
                          ancient Stoicism. But passion is an essential value to me. It can be
                          studying or discussing philosophy with passion, loving a woman with
                          passion, or experiencing a state of foolish joy that the ancient Stoics
                          would have disapproved of too. So what I like about Lawrence Becker's
                          "New Stoicism" is that he opens the door, cautiously, responsibly, to
                          passion in a modern form of Stoicism. So maybe we can both have it our
                          way, you as a classical Stoic, and me as a Neo-stoic?
                          Hello from
                          Thomas (Belgium)
                          _________________
                          Colamus humanitatem
                          Let us cultivate humanity - Seneca
                        • bertr@diac.com
                          ... From: Thomas To: Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 10:02 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion
                          Message 12 of 15 , May 16, 2000
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: Thomas <trs236@...>
                            To: <stoics@egroups.com>
                            Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 10:02 AM
                            Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                            > Yes, Bert, your argument against passion is perfectly consistent with
                            > ancient Stoicism. But passion is an essential value to me. It can be
                            > studying or discussing philosophy with passion, loving a woman with
                            > passion, or experiencing a state of foolish joy that the ancient Stoics
                            > would have disapproved of too. So what I like about Lawrence Becker's
                            > "New Stoicism" is that he opens the door, cautiously, responsibly, to
                            > passion in a modern form of Stoicism. So maybe we can both have it our
                            > way, you as a classical Stoic, and me as a Neo-stoic?


                            Thomas, my general position comes from Albert Ellis, Ph. D., and
                            eminent psychologist. It argues that certain emotions are desirable, and
                            others not, but in all cases to be swept away by passion leaves one
                            vulnerable. Still, it is not accurate to call me a classical Stoic - I
                            think we are closer than some of the others on the list.

                            Bert
                          • Timothy Anstiss
                            I have yet to read beckers book, but it seems to me that albert ellis s emotional nosology is superior to that of the stoics in some respects, but that REBT
                            Message 13 of 15 , May 17, 2000
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                              I have yet to read beckers book, but it seems to me that albert ellis's
                              emotional nosology is superior to that of the stoics in some respects, but
                              that REBT lacks much of what neo-stoicism must contain. I imagine that many
                              on the list have still to familiarise themselve with, let alone get a deep
                              understanding of, how cognitive therapists theorists and practitioners.

                              We can then really begin to get going on establishing a modern science of
                              the soul based on the best of the past and empirical knowledge about human
                              beings actually function, think and choose.

                              I have always found it interesting how many philosophy students learn models
                              of emotions that are 100's or 1,000 years old, and don't learn about
                              psychiatry, DSM-VI, congitive neuro-science, evolutionary psychology or
                              cognitive therapy. Don't they want better models, which approximate to the
                              way the world is, based on reproducible, "disprovable" knowledge?

                              tim



                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: bertr@... <bertr@...>
                              To: stoics@egroups.com <stoics@egroups.com>
                              Date: 16 May 2000 13:30
                              Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                              >
                              >----- Original Message -----
                              >From: Thomas <trs236@...>
                              >To: <stoics@egroups.com>
                              >Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 10:02 AM
                              >Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion
                              >
                              >
                              >> Yes, Bert, your argument against passion is perfectly consistent with
                              >> ancient Stoicism. But passion is an essential value to me. It can be
                              >> studying or discussing philosophy with passion, loving a woman with
                              >> passion, or experiencing a state of foolish joy that the ancient Stoics
                              >> would have disapproved of too. So what I like about Lawrence Becker's
                              >> "New Stoicism" is that he opens the door, cautiously, responsibly, to
                              >> passion in a modern form of Stoicism. So maybe we can both have it our
                              >> way, you as a classical Stoic, and me as a Neo-stoic?
                              >
                              >
                              > Thomas, my general position comes from Albert Ellis, Ph. D.,
                              and
                              >eminent psychologist. It argues that certain emotions are desirable, and
                              >others not, but in all cases to be swept away by passion leaves one
                              >vulnerable. Still, it is not accurate to call me a classical Stoic - I
                              >think we are closer than some of the others on the list.
                              >
                              >Bert
                              >
                              >
                              >------------------------------------------------------------------------
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                              >http://click.egroups.com/1/3019/6/_/248059/_/958499720/
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                              >
                              >
                              >
                            • bertr@diac.com
                              ... From: Timothy Anstiss To: Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2000 9:28 AM Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and
                              Message 14 of 15 , May 18, 2000
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                From: Timothy Anstiss <Anstiss.Shl@...>
                                To: <stoics@egroups.com>
                                Sent: Wednesday, May 17, 2000 9:28 AM
                                Subject: Re: [stoics] preferred and dispreferred emotion


                                > I have yet to read beckers book, but it seems to me that albert ellis's
                                > emotional nosology is superior to that of the stoics in some respects, but
                                > that REBT lacks much of what neo-stoicism must contain. I imagine that
                                many
                                > on the list have still to familiarise themselve with, let alone get a deep
                                > understanding of, how cognitive therapists theorists and practitioners.
                                >
                                > We can then really begin to get going on establishing a modern science of
                                > the soul based on the best of the past and empirical knowledge about human
                                > beings actually function, think and choose.
                                >
                                There hs been a great amount of research around REBT tenets,
                                most of which works out. It is complicated to do such research so there are
                                usually problems, but at least some is better than none.


                                > I have always found it interesting how many philosophy students learn
                                models
                                > of emotions that are 100's or 1,000 years old, and don't learn about
                                > psychiatry, DSM-VI, congitive neuro-science, evolutionary psychology or
                                > cognitive therapy. Don't they want better models, which approximate to the
                                > way the world is, based on reproducible, "disprovable" knowledge?

                                Tim, my general impression is that some philosophy lags behind
                                science. Part of the problem is that once it becomes experimental,
                                philosophy = science.

                                Bert
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