Emotion: The Science of Sentiment

by Dylan Evans | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 019285433x Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 7/8/2011
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Friday, July 08, 2011
Bought in September 2010 at a local second-hand bookshop. In the first place, it was the bright pink cover that grabbed my attention before the topic piqued my intrigue. The blurb raised some interesting questions: Was love invented by European poets in the Middle Ages or is it part of human nature? Will winning the lottery really make you happy? Is it possible to build robots that have feelings?, and leafing through the pages made me feel that the book (for a mere 1€, too) would be a more than worthwhile investment.

I finally got around to reading it last weekend (over the course of which, after two months of barely picking up a book, I read three non-fiction books all dealing with different areas of psychology. Suffice to say, it was a supremely enlightening weekend).
While I really enjoyed the read, I still haven't decided whether I want to keep the book for another while (though it's not a keeper in the long-run) or to pass it along at the next meet-up. On the one hand, I found the topic extremely interesting and Evans manages the feat of writing both comprehensible and suspenseful; on the other hand, he doesn't go into a lot of depth and several issues had already been covered in other books I've read or some of the many popular science newspaper articles that keep fascinating me.

As a programmer, the part I liked best was the one about artificial intelligence and the idea of sensitive robots. The distinction between (long-term) moods and (short-term) emotions probably was the most contentious aspect for me, but that's mostly a linguistic detail. It did leave me wondering why it's so much easier for me to formulate thoughts about my emotions when I'm talking, writing or thinking in English, whereas I find it hard to come up with German vocabulary to describe the very same feelings. Is it because of the distance a second language affords me, allowing me to bypass a mental barrier, or because the books I've most felt with when reading them happened to be written in English, or possibly because the former is simply the richer language? Maybe German (or any given mothertongue?) is better suited to express things rationally. Interesting theory, in any case.

Journal Entry 2 by wingUrfinwing at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Monday, October 10, 2011
Picked this up at tonights meet-up.

Hi erinacea :o) reading your above JE, I was especially intrigued by the last paragraph of your JE, as I had a similar feeling about German vs. English and also gave it some thought. This is some years ago but anyway, it maybe interesting or even enligthening for us to discuss this next time face to face :o)

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