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Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy

Ed. by Feger, Hans / Dikun, Xie / Ge, Wang

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Mass Emotion and Shared Feelings

A New Concept of Embodiment

Hilge Landweer
Published Online: 2018-01-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2017-0010


Are mass emotions and shared feelings two different phenomena? In this paper, I investigate two different forms of corporeal interaction; one bipolar and one unipolar. In the bipolar type, two individuals give different impulses, which are aligned with each other. In the unipolar type, the impulse derives from a thing, a task or a person. This impulse creates an identical corporeal dynamic in those involved. This synchronization of the corporeal directions leads to corporeal resonance and a reciprocal intensification. The shared experience of feelings is a part of unipolar corporeal interaction since the impulse for the corporeal dynamic of the individuals departs from one and the same feeling. According to Max Scheler’s analysis of emotional contagion, contagion comes about through imitation; it is merely a fallacy to believe the other person’s feeling is one’s own. In this paper, I argue that emotional contagion and shared feelings cannot be distinguished by virtue of this criterion of genuineness and instead belong to the same type of corporeal interaction. On the whole, I question the assumption that feelings are solely personal states. Individual and collective feelings can only be distinguished unambiguously through concepts, whereas affective phenomena are always tied to others, to norms and discourse.

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Published Online: 2018-01-20

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy, Volume 2017, Issue 2, Pages 104–117, ISSN (Online) 2196-5897, ISSN (Print) 2196-5889, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/yewph-2017-0010.

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