The source of emotion is mysterious, there seem to be a limitless number of them, and their effect is so varied in terms of nature and duration. It’s therefore important to try to get a handle on them as soon as possible. The Oxford English Dictionary says…
1 a strong feeling, such as joy or anger. 2 instinctive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge. — DERIVATIVES emotionless adjective. — ORIGIN originally denoting a public disturbance: from French, from Latin emovere ‘disturb’.
Worthy of note is the distinction between emotion and reason – the first being instinctive, the second being something with which we are consciously involved.
Questions that we need to try to address include the ones mentioned in the introduction to ways of knowing – that is, how emotions interfere with how we view the world – but there are some more basic ones we need to consider before getting that far. These include: where do emotions come from? Why do we have them? How have they evolved? How do we feel them? What constitutes an emotion? To what extent can we control them? What relationship do they have with reason? Then we will think more about how they relate to the other ways of knowing, and how they help us to construct the areas of knowledge.