chapter  13
5 Pages

Emotion and the Coenesthesia

These emotional states, with pleasure and unpleasure, are customarily distinguished under the head of feeling1 from sen­ sations, which are, as we have seen, very closely dependent for their character upon their stimulus. Thus sensations are ranked together as cognitive elements, concerned, that is, with our knowledge of things rather than with our attitude or behaviour towards them, or our emotion about them. Pleasure, however, and emotion have, on our view, also a cognitive aspect. They [99] give us knowledge; in the case of pleasure, o f how our activities are going on, successfully or otherwise; in the case of emotion, knowledge primarily o f our attitudes. But emotion may give us further knowledge. It is a remarkable fact that persons with {7 6 } exceptional colour sense apparently judge most accurately whether two colours are the same, for example, or whether they

have or have not some definite harmonic relation to one anoth­ er, not by attentive optical comparison or examination, but by the general emotional or organic reaction which the colours evoke when simply glanced at. This is an indirect way of becom­ ing aware of the specific nature of the external world, but none the less a very valuable way. A similar method is probably involved in those apparently immediate judgements of the moral character o f persons met with for the first time which many people make so readily and successfully. They may be quite unable to mention any definite feature of the person upon which their judgement could be based. It is none the less often extraordinarily just and discriminating. The remarkable sensi­ tiveness to its mother’s expression which the infant shows is a striking example. The part played by this kind o f judgement in all aesthetic appreciation need not be insisted upon. It is notable that artists are often pre-eminently adepts at such judgements. The topic is usually discussed under the wide and vague head­ ing of intuition; a rubric which completely obscures and befogs the issues.