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.

One doesn't really totally have control of their own feelings. In many cases, people logically analyze a situation and come to the conclusion that they really shouldn't feel the way they do about it, and yet they can't help feeling that way about it. One can assess, themselves, whether it's right for them to feel that way, and yet have no control over the fact that they do.

Beliefs are not a form of feeling. They do often influence one's feelings about certain things (ie, fear of hell, worry about one's soul, delusional happiness when praying), but the belief itself is not a feeling. I believe humanity evolved, but I do not feel that humanity evolved. There is no form of feeling around it, it's just a conclusion that I came to when presented with evidence and reason.

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.

As you suggested, I think feelings are completely subjective, and are hardly ever backed by some sort of reason or rationality (however much we may inject a reason to justify a certain feeling).


I don't think people can rightfully question 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?


Well, you can question it on the basis that it may have something to do with your subjective and perhaps flustered sense of reality. It could be your own biases that form this unexplainable feeling. If you have a negative bias towards redheaded people, for example, then it's no surprise you may have a preconceived dislike for any redheaded people you meet. Is this feeling of dislike questionable? In this case yes, because it is rooted in an unreasonable bias on the individual's part.


I don't think belief is a form of feeling though, no. It may influence feelings towards certain things (in fact it almost certainly does) but they are not one and the same in my opinion.

"...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.


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