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Uncomfortable SituationsEmotion between Science and the Humanities$
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Daniel M. Gross

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226485034

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226485171.001.0001

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Defending the Humanities with Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

Defending the Humanities with Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

Chapter:
(p.28) 1 Defending the Humanities with Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
Source:
Uncomfortable Situations
Author(s):

Daniel M. Gross

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226485171.003.0002

Chapter 1 argues that Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals can serve as a foundational text for a humanities approach to emotion, but only if it is first disentangled from its heavy-handed editor Paul Ekman and his basic emotions program, which has done Darwin a profound disservice. So liberated, the chapter then argues, Darwin's science of emotion provides a reference point for scholars in the humanities now trying to make their literary criticism speak to natural science. The photograph, illustration, and story-filled Expression is both rhetorical and inseparable from its science that we sometimes imagine transcending its bookish material. This chapter recalls how Darwin's Expression foregrounds the inherent rhetoricity of emotion, thereby outstripping Ekman's science of emotion that claims to follow in its wake, and which has recently found some advocates in the new subfield of Cognitive Approaches to Literature. Instead, the chapter argues that Darwin's rhetoric of emotion is remarkably skeptical, which does not diminish its scientific piquancy, but rather aligns it with our situated theories in the science of cognition mobilized, among other places, by the philosopher of biology Alva Noë.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, Paul Ekman, Alva Noë, basic emotions, Cognitive Approaches to Literature

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