Valence

If any morals do exist independent of anyone’s point of view and not merely as a product of human evolution, then it is possible that the foundation of morality might lie in the concept of valence, which is the experience that everyone has of varying degrees of positive and negative feelings. The word “feelings” has many different understandings so it is necessary to list all of these in order to clarify what is meant here. “Feeling” sometimes is used as a synonym for the sense of touch or the act of touching something. This word can also be a synonym for emotions, which are states that the brain can be in that affect how one behaves. The set of all possible emotions is very large and diverse, and it includes anger, fear, envy, elation, and curiosity, just to name a few. The use of the word “feeling” here does not refer to the sense of touch or to emotion, but to an experience that is altogether different than both of these, though this experience is affected by almost anything that happens to the body, and this certainly includes touching and nearly any possible emotion.

The experience of feeling is quite simple in that at any point in time it has a value that can be any degree of positive or negative, and it is for this reason that it is called “valence”. Valence is far simpler than any emotion, including those that are associated with positive feelings such as joy, pleasure, happiness, etc. and also those that are associated with negative feelings such as sorrow, pain, etc. Certainly all of the aforementioned emotions, along with all others, go along with a certain experience of valence, but the actual experience of positive or negative feeling is qualitatively different from the experience of the emotion itself, which falls under the category of qualia. What this means is that, for example, there is qualia associated with pain and there is also (negative) valence associated with pain. Neither of these are the same thing as what happens to the body at the physical level that causes the soul to experience qualia and also valence.

Is valence a real nonphysical phenomenon? Is valence simply an illusion that begins with people wanting to think that their emotions are somehow special? Please let your voice be heard in the forum.

The Enlightened Worldview Project

Using modern phenomenology

to make sense of consciousness,

to establish a solid foundation for morality,

to answer the question of ultimate explanation,

and other great questions of life