Philosophical interest in and intellectual debate about emotions appears to be somewhat cyclical and has certainly waxed and waned regularly over the course of European history: some eras seem to be boundlessly fascinated by the “passions” (e.g., large parts of the 17th century), while other epochs appear to neglect or even reject them. In the period after 1945, large parts of European thinking were almost entirely focused on the mind and the intellect. In the past few decades, we have witnessed—and been part of—the latest turn towards emotions. In my talk I will reflect on some of the historical, social, and theoretical conditions for periods of heightened interest in emotions. How and why do they begin and end? And if there are patterns: is there anything we can learn from the 17th century about the Twitter age?
Catherine Newmark earned her Ph.D. in philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin in 2007 and was as a research assistant there until 2013. Since 2013 she has worked mainly as a journalist with a focus on the humanities and philosophy; among other things she presents a philosophy program (“Sein und Streit”) at Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Selected publications: Warum auf Autoritäten hören? (2020); Passion – Affekt – Gefühl: Philosophische Theorien der Emotionen zwischen Aristoteles und Kant (2008); Wie männlich ist Autorität? Feministische Kritik und Aneignung (co-editor, 2018); Viel zu lernen du noch hast: Star Wars und die Philosophie (editor, 2016); and Philosophie und die Potenziale der Gender Studies: Peripherie und Zentrum im Feld der Theorie (co-editor, 2012).