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Alexander, F. (1935). The Logic of Emotions and its Dynamic Background. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 16:399-413.

(1935). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 16:399-413

The Logic of Emotions and its Dynamic Background Related Papers

Franz Alexander


Our understanding of psychological connections is based on the tacit recognition of certain causal relationships which we know from our everyday experience and the validity of which we accept as self-evident. We understand anger and aggressive behaviour as a reaction to an attack; fear and guilt as results of aggressiveness; envy as an outgrowth of the feeling of weakness and inadequacy. Such self-evident emotional connections as 'I hate him, because he attacks me', I shall call emotional syllogisms. Just as logical thinking is based on intellectual syllogisms, the 'logic of emotions' consists of a series of emotional syllogisms. The feeling of the self-evident validity of these emotional connections is derived from our daily introspective experience as we witness these emotional sequences in ourselves, probably from the first moment after birth until death. Just as the logic of intellectual thinking is based on repeated and accumulated experiences of relations in the external world, the logic of emotions is based on accumulated experiences of our own international emotional reactions. The logic of intellectual thinking is the crystallized product of external, the logic of emotions is crystallized in the same way out of internal, experiences. As such, the logic of emotions is more ancient than logical thinking, which probably explains its ability to overpower intellectual processes.

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