I think we all can agree on the statement that “feelings are subjective.”

 We don’t always have good reasons to feel one way or another about any given situation, or person; in that way, feelings are sometimes irrational, which I think is the reason why people can at times find themselves thinking: why do I feel this way? Know that I mean?

I’m not talking about romantic feelings here, but any kind of feeling: Joy over the birth of a relative or a friend’s baby, empathy over an acquaintance’s illness, sadness over someone’s death, and so on. I would understand if people questioned a woman’s love for a beater husband, that kind of love would be questionable, to some extent, even though psychologists have explained this kind of behavior extensively.

Being people’s feelings always subjective, to what extent can a feeling be questionable?

Also, I really don't think this could be true, but is a belief a form of feeling?

I originally posted this question on Google Plus, here is the link if you want to read the comments, but I think you guys might have a better insight on this subject.

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I agree with you, Doug -- wholeheartedly.

Well said, Craig. I concur.

i don't think people have any right to judge how people react to situations.  for one thing, nobody can control what their reactions will be to anything.


so if somebody calls your mother a whore, you may be pissed, you may take little notice, and you may attack them.  and the feeling that resonates in you is as plucked out of the ether as the next thought that you will have, completely out of your control.  


now your actions, that you can control.  your initial reaction or feeling will just spring into your brain.

Have you ever thought about the word "passion" and its relationship to "passive"? Passionate feelings render us passive, they take us over, we can't control them.


Actually, Ludwig Wittgenstein, arguably one of the top if not, in some minds, THE top philosopher of the 20th century, was all about this subject. If interested, check out his Philosophical Investigations. How do we even know that someone else has feelings like the ones we have? We can't jump into their skin and feel their feelings for them. We seem to argue from analogy. We see other people behaving as we would under similar circumstances, so we assume they are feeling the same thing. However, that is no proof.


These sorts of issues would need to be solved before we could judge someone else's feelings.


I wouldn't hold my breath.

There is a brilliant Star Trek (original) with Kirk telling Saric (?) that he didn't want his feelings to be taken away because that is what makes him who he is. Only a true savant or a machine can be logical and objective to the point that it has meaning.

Emotions and feelings has always been vilified in society. Women bear the brunt as it has been scientifically proven that women tend to have a greater depth and range - all to do with brain structure and hormones, not because they are better or worse. And yes, emotions always colour a perception, at times irrationally and at times subjectively - both seen as evils in our society.

Ironically, without this subjectivity there would be no leaps in logic, no lateral thinking, no art, no imagination and as humans we would simply be existing.

I'm with Kirk.


Not all feelings are subjective, some are objective, such as feeling sleepy or hungry or cold. Such feelings, those rooted in physical causes, can even be measured objectively and therefore easily questioned.

The feelings based on emotions, such as feeling sad or angry or let down, can and should also be open to being questioned. If people are unable or unwilling to rummage around their own emotional states to find the root cause of these feelings, they cannot expect other people to take their feelings seriously. 

I prefer to have a stoic and cynical outlook upon my own and others feelings, though stopping well short of nihilism and absurdism. This means that feelings are not only open to being questioned, they indeed should be questioned frequently and with fervor.

Beliefs are connected with the quality and abundance of evidence. The only way I would add feelings to it would be to question what level of evidence an observer feels is sufficient to base a belief based conclusion on. As most conclusions are based on beliefs - we usually haven't experienced it for ourselves - the observer's epistemological choice must be questioned.

In my experience, some religious people (correct me if i'm wrong) do consider belief a feeling. For example in some christian denominations they "feel the holy spirit". 

Biologically-speaking "feeling", even emotionally, is a physical action that starts in the brain. We cry because certain things have conditioned our brains to set off the cells that make us feel sadness. To question a feeling itself may not be effective, for example: Why does that abused woman feel love for that man abusing her? Who knows without picking her brain apart? So, it may be better to question what environmental conditioning caused her to feel love for this man, which i think is what psychologists have done by pinpointing the reason being that either she was abused as a child and its all she knows, or she had a series of bad relationships throughout life and thinks this is as good as it gets, ect...

in my opinion, belief itself may not be a feeling but what we BELIEVE makes us FEEL. Being a person who prefers a more logical approach, my opinion is that those who believe in God, for example, describe whatever joy or motivation they feel from that belief as feeling the belief itself. 

thats just my humble opinion anyway, take it with a grain of salt. its just what ive come across from mine and others' experience

I have a feeling they should be questioned. The person doing the questioning may not be you but can still generalize and through questioning can hopefully come somewhere close to understanding your feeling and possibly helping you understand it as well. I personally suspect that belief, that is the religious variety, and feelings are related, the former being the somewhat unfortunate offspring of a feeling.

"...Maybe you meet somebody, and they seem nice and everything, but yet over time you begin to really dislike them. You feel uncomfortable when they're around, you don't like seeing them, there's just something about them you don't like. You can't explain the feeling though, it's just something you have. Can you question this feeling?"

Asher, you described well the sequence of responses normal people might have upon meeting and remaining in contact with sociopaths. If you feel uncomfortable quickly (and get away) you might avoid a lot of grief.

I think that a person can influence their feelings, but never choose them.  The feelings that I feel are not feelings that I have chosen.  But feelings that more seemingly have chosen me.  I can influence how I react to my emotions, but I cannot control them.  I cannot stop loving my children simply by choosing not to.  Feelings will always happen whether or not they have your permission.  You do not have a right to choose the emotion you would like at any given time, but you can influence the situation and your surroundings, thereby influencing yourself to be in a good mood.  So.....to answer your question....

Because a thief may go out and choose to rob a bank, he is influencing the onset of a certain set of emotions.  Does he have a choice which emotions he feels when his brain tells his body to be nervous and sweaty?  No.  He will feel that way whether he likes it or not because he allowed himself to be in a situation that presented the proper influences toward those emotions.  But why did he choose this scenario, knowing it would cause these emotions?  Other emotions.  What emotions?  Maybe a feeling of despair of being poor, or anger because he worked at the bank and got fired.  Can you choose your emotions when you are fired or too poor to feed your children?  Probably not, though you might try.  But what if you didn't feel those things?  What if your kids went hungry because you didn't care?  You got fired from your job at the bank and only feel apathy, because you didn't care about the job or your family.  So can you make yourself care?  And if not, is it your fault that you can't make yourself care?  Feelings are only questionable to the extent that we may question their origination and whether or not they are the actual feelings being felt (is the person in question displaying feelings other than the ones that are actually present?)  Your mentality decides your emotions.  Feelings may be questionable in that it is your responsibility to take well enough care of yourself and your responsibilities that your feelings are positively influenced.  I may have to question your feelings if you are angry for being thrown in jail over robbing a bank.  Though you didn't choose the emotion, you didn't choose a scenario that rules out that emotion as an option.  And that is the extent of the subjective nature of feelings.

I always tell my kids that no matter how they feel, it is not wrong. In that, I hope I'm getting across that feelings are NOT questionable. How you deal with what you feel is what matters.


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