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Education of the Emotions: The Rationality of Feeling
Oxford Review of Education
Vol. 14, No. 2 (1988), pp. 239-249
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1050459
Page Count: 11
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This paper argues that it may well be the prevalent oversimple conceptions of emotional feelings and reason which explain what, on the face of it, is the extraordinary neglect of the education of the emotions. At first sight it would seem that this area is one of the most important in education. Yet it is rarely mentioned or considered, despite the only-too-obvious, numerous and disturbing explosions of distorted and frustrated emotional feeling in society generally. But is education of the emotions even a coherent possibility? On the common subjectivist conception, an emotion is a discrete inner feeling, independent of any external circumstance. On such a view the most that could be claimed is that emotions can be induced, certainly not educated. On the other hand, even if a more adequate conception of the emotions be provided, would not 'education' inevitably consist in, in effect, conditioning children and students into what to feel and what not to feel? I shall argue that much of the confusion derives from the still very common myth of the separate and opposed faculties of feeling and reason, often reflected in misguided curriculum practice. A more adequate account of feeling shows how education of emotions is a crucially important possibility, and that so far from imposing norms, it requires individual authenticity.
Oxford Review of Education © 1988 Taylor & Francis, Ltd.