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Bitter Joys and Sweet Sorrows

Published in Tappolet, C. ; Teroni, F. & Konzelmann Ziv, A. Shadows of the Soul: Routledge. 2018
Abstract We sometimes experience pleasures and displeasures simultaneously: whenever we eat sfogliatelle while having a headache, whenever we feel pain fading away, whenever we feel guilty pleasure while enjoying listening to Barbara Streisand, whenever we are savouring a particularly hot curry, whenever we enjoy physical endurance in sport, whenever we are touched upon receiving a hideous gift, whenever we are proud of withstanding acute pain, etc. These are examples of what we call " mixed feelings ". Mixed feelings are cases in which one and the same person experiences pleasure and displeasure at the same time. Mixed feelings raise two questions: (1) If pleasure and displeasure are contraries, how can mixed feelings be possible? (2) Does the excess of pleasure (or displeasure) that we feel when experiencing mixed feelings itself constitute a new feeling, that results from the co-occurrence of the first two? I will argue (1) that mixed feelings are possible and that their existence does not threaten the contrariety of pleasure and displeasure, and (2) that there are no resultant feelings: having a lot of pleasure and a little displeasure does not result in having additional mild pleasure. Finally, I will suggest (3) that although both false, scepticism towards the existence of mixed feelings, as well as the idea according to which resultant feelings exist, are inspired from a single and correct idea: that pleasure and displeasure do fuse in some cases.
Keywords Philosophy of MindPleasurePhilosophy of EmotionPain and PleasureMixed FeelingsHedonic Balance
ISBN: 9781138689695
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Book chapter (Accepted version) (146 Kb) - document accessible for UNIGE members only Limited access to UNIGE
Research groups Thumos
Affective sciences
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MASSIN, Olivier. Bitter Joys and Sweet Sorrows. In: Tappolet, C. ; Teroni, F. & Konzelmann Ziv, A. (Ed.). Shadows of the Soul. [s.l.] : Routledge, 2018. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:102187

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Deposited on : 2018-02-15

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