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Goryunov, M. A. Concerning Methodology of Researches on Concepts of Affect (Spinoza, Hume and Kant)

Published in journal "Philosophy and Culture", 2014-1 in rubric "Philosophy of knowledge", pages 79-88.

Resume: The analysis of affective experience has a number of particular limitations and one of such limitations is the impossibility to provide a credible description of mental processes under the direct influence by a «strong passion». We should understand that affect is a state of mind when an observer loses his ability to see himself as others would see him. No matter how fast a researcher is, he can observe phenomena that happened «before» or «after» an event but he can never observe what is happening «during» the event. This is why researchers often refer to classical authors and philosophers. Therefore, when we compare ideas described by different observers we should always keep in mind that similarities between their theories are not so obvious and may actually turn out to be an illusion. To some extent, theories about affect deal with the internal but not external side of the process and describe the phenomenology of consciousness when the mind is «frozen» and therefore are similar to theories in literature. Of course, it is simplifying assumption and of course Kant’s and Hume’s ideas have more in common than Byron’s and Goethe’s esthetic metaphors. Nevertheless, contradictions and multiple meanings of similar terms in different philosophies puts in doubt all kinds of generalization. The author of the article makes the following conclusion: since there is a constant threat that the data for research can be unreliable, conclusions should be made based on special rules similar to those that are used in the many-valued logic. Traditional «yes’ and «no» are replaced with «maybe» stressing out a particular change of failure.

Keywords: affect, influence, passion, enlightenment, mind, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Baruch Spinoza, religion, community.

DOI: 10.7256/1999-2793.2014.1.10369

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