Early in his thinking on affect, Freud described it as variable quantities of excitation: symptoms develop when affect-laden experiences are repressed. Much later Silvan Tomkins (1995) argued that affects could be sorted into fundamental and discrete categories governed by mechanisms over which the individual had little control. Building on the work of Tomkins, Paul Ekman (1993) and others identified what they believed were basic, universal, essential and innate emotions. These included surprise, happiness, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust. For Jesse Prinz (2004), a contemporary philosopher of emotion, the dichotomy between innate, basic or nonbasic emotions is unsustainable. He writes, ‘First, while there is a difference between basic emotions and nonbasic emotions, it is not a structural difference. All emotions are fundamentally alike. Second, the standard list of basic emotions, thought by many to be universal across cultures, are not basic after all. We don’t have names for the basic emotions. All emotions that we talk about are culturally informed’ (2004, p. 69).
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