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Summary Most philosophers agree that emotions are directed at objects. Depending on the theory, these objects may be particulars, as in Jacob's anger at the bank teller, or propositions, as in Sophia's relief that there is milk in the fridge. Many claim that emotions additionally have formal objects which constrain the types of particular objects that an emotion may have, such as danger in the case of fear. The papers in this category discuss topics such as the correct characterization of emotional objects, whether all or even any emotions do have objects, and how to account for the intentionality of emotions given their purported embodied nature.
Key works Kenny 1963 introduced the influential view that emotions have formal objects. Solomon 1984 and Nussbaum 2001 are major statements of the cognitivist theory of emotions, which identifies emotions as judgments on the basis of their contents, while others reject that view, such as Prinz 2003, which develops an embodied theory of emotional content. Many of the papers address emotions with objects that are distinctive or difficult to characterize, such as Robinson 2008 on musical emotions, and D'Arms & Jacobson 2000 on moral emotions.
Introductions de Sousa 2007 Blackman 2013 Deonna & Scherer 2010
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  1. C. Adam, A. Herzig & D. Longin (2009). A Logical Formalization of the Occ Theory of Emotions. Synthese 168 (2):201 - 248.
    In this paper, we provide a logical formalization of the emotion triggering process and of its relationship with mental attitudes, as described in Ortony, Clore, and Collins’s theory. We argue that modal logics are particularly adapted to represent agents’ mental attitudes and to reason about them, and use a specific modal logic that we call Logic of Emotions in order to provide logical definitions of all but two of their 22 emotions. While these definitions may be subject to debate, we (...)
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  2. Lilli K. Alanen (2003). What Are Emotions About? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):311-354.
    This paper discusses the interrelations between three aspects of human emotions: their intentionality, their expressivity and their moral significance. It distinguishes three kinds of philosophical views of emotions: the cognitivist (classically held by the Stoics), the emotivist which reduces emotions to non-intentional bodily sensations and physiological states, and the moral phenomenologist, the latter being held by Annette Baier, whose work is the focus of the discussion. Her view, which represents an original development of ideas found in Descartes and Hume, avoids (...)
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  3. Richard E. Aquila (1975). Causes and Constituents of Occurrent Emotion. Philosophical Quarterly 25 (October):346-349.
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  4. Richard E. Aquila (1974). Emotions, Objects, and Causal Relations. Philosophical Studies 26 (November):279-285.
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  5. Annette C. Baier (1990). What Emotions Are About. Philosophical Perspectives 4:1-29.
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  6. Luca Barlassina & Albert Newen (2014). The Role of Bodily Perception in Emotion: In Defense of an Impure Somatic Theory. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):637-678.
    In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz's pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz's theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural correlates (...)
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  7. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev (2002). Intentionality and Feelings in Theories of Emotions: Comment. Consciousness and Emotion 3 (2):263-271.
  8. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev (2000). 'I Only Have Eyes for You': The Partiality of Positive Emotions. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (3):341–351.
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  9. Reid D. Blackman (2013). Intentionality and Compound Accounts of the Emotions. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):67-90.
    Most philosophers of emotion endorse a compound account of the emotions: emotions are wholes made of parts; or, as I prefer to put it, emotions are mental states that supervene on other (mental) states. The goal of this paper is to ascertain how the intentionality of these subvening members relates to the intentionality of the emotions. Towards this end, I proceed as follows. First, I discuss the problems with the account Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson offer of the intentionality of (...)
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  10. Tim Bloser (2007). The Content of Emotional Thoughts. Philosophical Papers 36 (2):219-243.
    In this paper I examine Peter Goldie's theory of emotional thoughts and feelings, offered in his recent book The Emotions and subsequent articles. Goldie argues that emotional thoughts cannot be assimilated to belief or judgment, together with some added-on phenomenological component, and on this point I agree with him. However, he also argues that emotionally-laden thoughts, thoughts had, as he puts it, ‘with feeling,' in part differ from unemotional thoughts in their content. The thought ‘the gorilla is dangerous' when thought (...)
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  11. Michael S. Brady (2009). The Irrationality of Recalcitrant Emotions. Philosophical Studies 145 (3):413 - 430.
    A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend my (...)
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  12. Bill Brewer (2002). Emotion and Other Minds. In Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals. Brookfield: Ashgate.
    What is the relation between emotional experience and its behavioural expression? As very preliminary clarification, I mean by ‘emotional experience’ such things as the subjective feeling of being afraid of something, or of being angry at someone. On the side of behavioural expression, I focus on such things as cowering in fear, or shaking a fist or thumping the table in anger. Very crudely, this is behaviour intermediate between the bodily changes which just happen in emotional arousal, such as sweating (...)
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  13. Robert Brown (1987). Analyzing Love. Cambridge University Press.
    Analyzing Love is concerned with four basic and neglected problems concerning love. The first is identifying its relevant features: distinguishing it from liking and benevolence and from sexual desire; describing the objects that can be loved and the judgments and aims required by love. The second question is how we recognize the presence of love and what grounds we may have for thinking it present in any particular case. The third is that of relating it to other emotions such as (...)
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  14. Louis C. Charland (1997). Reconciling Cognitive and Perceptual Theories of Emotion: A Representational Proposal. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):555-579.
    The distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is entrenched in the literature on emotion and is openly used by individual emotion theorists when classifying their own theories and those of others. In this paper, I argue that the distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is more pernicious than it is helpful, while at the same time insisting that there are nonetheless important perceptual and cognitive factors in emotion that need to be distinguished. A general representational metatheoretical (...)
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  15. Roderick M. Chisholm (1986). Brentano and Intrinsic Value. Cambridge University Press.
    Franz Brentano developed an original theory of intrinsic value which he attempted to base on his philosophical psychology. Roderick Chisholm presents here a critical exposition of this theory and its place in Brentano's general philosophical system. He gives a detailed account of Brentano's ontology, showing how Brentano tried to secure objectivity for ethics not through a theory of practical reason, but through his theory of the intentional objects of emotions and desires. Professor Chisholm goes on to develop certain suggestions about (...)
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  16. Jinhee Choi (2003). All the Right Responses: Fiction Films and Warranted Emotions. British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (3):308-321.
    Cognitive theories of emotions have provided us with explanations of how we emotionally engage with fiction, when we are aware that what is depicted is fictional. However, these theories left an important question unanswered: namely, what kinds of emotional responses to fiction are warranted responses. The main focus of this paper is how our emotional responses to fiction can be aesthetically warranted—that is, how emotions directed to fiction can be warranted given the fact that its object is an artwork. I (...)
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  17. Rachel Cohon & David Owen (1997). Hume on Representation, Reason and Motivation. Manuscrito 20:47-76.
  18. Florian Cova & Julien Deonna (2013). Being Moved. Philosophical Studies (3):1-20.
    In this paper, we argue that, barring a few important exceptions, the phenomenon we refer to using the expression “being moved” is a distinct type of emotion. In this paper’s first section, we motivate this hypothesis by reflecting on our linguistic use of this expression. In section two, pursuing a methodology that is both conceptual and empirical, we try to show that the phenomenon satisfies the five most commonly used criteria in philosophy and psychology for thinking that some affective episode (...)
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  19. Tim Crane (2006). Intentionality and Emotion: Comment on Hutto. In Richard Menary (ed.), Radical Enactivism: Intentionality, Phenomenology and Narrative: Focus on the Philosophy of Daniel D. Hutto. John Benjamins Publishing Company. 107-119.
    I am very sympathetic to Dan Hutto’s view that in our experience of the emotions of others “we do not neutrally observe the outward behaviour of another and infer coldly, but on less than certain grounds, that they are in such and such an inner state, as justified by analogy with our own case. Rather we react and feel as we do because it is natural for us to see and be moved by specific expressions of emotion in others” (Hutto (...)
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  20. Suzanne Cunningham (1997). Two Faces of Intentionality. Philosophy of Science 64 (3):445-460.
    Theories of intentionality need to account for non-cognitive states like emotions as well as cognitive states like beliefs. When certain non-cognitive states are included, one can formulate a feasible physicalist account of intentionality that highlights its evolutionary roots. I argue that recent experimental data support just such a move.
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  21. Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson (2000). The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65--90.
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  22. Tim Dalgleish (1997). An Anti-Anti-Essentialist View of the Emotions: A Reply to Kupperman. Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):85-90.
    Kupperman (1995) advances an anti-essentialist view of emotions in which he suggests that there can be emotion without feeling or affect, emotion without corresponding motivation, and emotion without an intentional relation to an object such that the emotion is about that object in some way. In this reply to Kupperman's essay, I suggest a number of problems with his rejection of the essentialist position. I argue that in his discussion of feelings Kupperman is crucially not clear about the distinction between (...)
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  23. Ronald de Sousa, Emotion. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  24. Ronald de Sousa (2002). Emotional Truth: Ronald de Sousa. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):247–263.
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  25. Dorothea Debus (2007). Being Emotional About the Past: On the Nature and Role of Past-Directed Emotions. Noûs 41 (4):758-779.
    We sometimes experience emotions which are directed at past events (or situations) which we witnessed at the time when they occurred (or obtained). The present paper explores the role which such "autobiographically past-directed emotions" (or "APD-emotions") play in a subject's mental life. A defender of the "Memory-Claim" holds that an APD-emotion is a memory, namely a memory of the emotion which the subject experienced at the time when the event originally occurred (or the situation obtained) towards which the APD-emotion is (...)
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  26. John Deigh (2008). Emotions, Values, and the Law. Oxford University Press.
    Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...)
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  27. John Deigh (1994). Cognitivism in the Theory of Emotions. Ethics 104 (4):824-54.
  28. María del Rosario Hernández Borges & Tamara Ojeda Arceo (2008). Emotion, self-deception and conceptual/nonconceptual content. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 42:223-231.
    First the rationalist tradition and then the cognitive revolution put limits on the philosophy and social sciences with regard to the analysis of emotion, of irrationality in mental events and actions, to the reduction of our representations to conceptual elements, and so on. This fact caused an increasing interest in these topics. In this paper, we intend to claim the significant relations among these three issues: emotion, selfdeception and non-conceptual content, with two aims: i) to analyse the relation between non-conceptual (...)
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  29. Craig DeLancey (2001). Passionate Engines: What Emotions Reveal About the Mind and Artificial Intelligence. Oxford University Press.
    The emotions have been one of the most fertile areas of study in psychology, neuroscience, and other cognitive disciplines. Yet as influential as the work in those fields is, it has not yet made its way to the desks of philosophers who study the nature of mind. Passionate Engines unites the two for the first time, providing both a survey of what emotions can tell us about the mind, and an argument for how work in the cognitive disciplines can help (...)
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  30. Craig DeLancey (2000). Affect Programs, Intentionality, and Consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):197-198.
    I express two concerns with the theory of emotion that Rolls provides: (1) rewards and punishers alone fail to explain the basic emotions; (2) Rolls needs to clarify his notion of the intentionality of emotions. I also criticize his theory of consciousness, arguing that it fails to explain qualia, and that ironically it is emotions which make this most evident.
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  31. Craig Stephen Delancey (2006). Basic Moods. Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):527-538.
    The hypothesis that some moods are emotions has been rejected in philosophy, and is an unpopular alternative in psychology. This is because there is wide agreement that moods have a number of features distinguishing them from emotions. These include: lack of an intentional object and the related notion of lack of a goal; being of long duration; having pervasive or widespread effects; and having causes rather than reasons. Leading theories of mood have tried to explain these purported features by describing (...)
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  32. Julien A. Deonna (2007). The Structure of Empathy. Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):99-116.
    If Sam empathizes with Maria, then it is true of Sam that (1) Sam is aware of Maria's emotion, and (2) Sam ‘feels in tune’ with Maria. On what I call the transparency conception of how they interact when instantiated, I argue that these two conditions are collectively necessary and sufficient for empathy. I first clarify the ‘awareness’ and ‘feeling in tune’ conditions, and go on to examine different candidate models that explain the manner in which these two conditions might (...)
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  33. Julien A. Deonna & Klaus R. Scherer (2010). The Case of the Disappearing Intentional Object: Constraints on a Definition of Emotion. Emotion Review 2 (1):44-52.
    Taking our lead from Solomon’s emphasis on the importance of the intentional object of emotion, we review the history of repeated attempts to make this object disappear. We adduce evidence suggesting that in the case of James and Schachter, the intentional object got lost unintentionally. By contrast, modern constructivists (in particular Barrett) seem quite determined to deny the centrality of the intentional object in accounting for the occurrence of emotions. Griffiths, however, downplays the role objects have in emotion noting that (...)
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  34. Randall R. Dipert, The Nature and Structure of Emotions.
    Philosophers have almost always said something about emotions and passions whenever they have discussed human mental life. Many have asserted that it is some emotions or, more broadly, passions, that are to be primarily valued and sought. These valued passionate states of mind might include emotions, moods, desires, belief-like feelings of conviction and commitment, and romantic or erotic love, which are typically scarcely distinguished. Not only are these states of mind lumped together, but the reasons why they are valued may (...)
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  35. Keith S. Donnellan (1970). Causes, Objects, and Producers of the Emotions. Journal of Philosophy 67 (November):947-950.
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  36. Sabine A. Döring (2003). Explaining Action by Emotion. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):214-230.
    I discuss two ways in which emotions explain actions: in the first, the explanation is expressive; in the second, the action is not only explained but also rationalized by the emotion's intentional content. The belief-desire model cannot satisfactorily account for either of these cases. My main purpose is to show that the emotions constitute an irreducible category in the explanation of action, to be understood by analogy with perception. Emotions are affective perceptions. Their affect gives them motivational force, and they (...)
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  37. Andreas Dorschel (2012). Furcht Und Angst. In Dietmar Goltschnigg (ed.), Angst. Lähmender Stillstand und Motor des Fortschritts. Stauffenburg. 49-54.
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  38. Andreas Dorschel (1993). Furcht und Angst. Il Cannocchiale. Rivista di Studi Filosofici (3):53-72.
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  39. Mark P. Drost (1991). Intentionality in Aquinas's Theory of Emotions. International Philosophical Quarterly 31 (4):449-460.
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  40. John J. Drummond (2004). 'Cognitive Impenetrability' and the Complex Intentionality of the Emotions. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (10-11):109-126.
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  41. C. Z. Elgin (2008). Emotion and Understanding. In G. Brun, U. Dogluoglu & D. Kuenzle (eds.), Epistemology and Emotions.
  42. A. J. Ellis (1970). Causes and Objects of Emotions. Analysis 30 (6):201 - 205.
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  43. Ralph D. Ellis (2005). Curious Emotions: Roots of Consciousness and Personality in Motivated Action. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    Emotion drives all cognitive processes, largely determining their qualitative feel, their structure, and in part even their content.
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  44. Eva-Maria Engelen (2009). Anger, Shame and Justice: The Regulative Function of Emotions in the Ancient and Modern World. In Birgitt Röttger-Rössler & Hans Markowitsch (eds.), Emotions as Bio-cultural Processes. Springer. 395-413.
    Analyzing the ancient Greek point of view concerning anger, shame and justice and a very modern one, one can see, that anger has a regulative function, but shame does as well. Anger puts the other in his place, thereby regulating hierarchies. Shame regulates the social relations of recognition. And both emotions also have an evaluative function, because anger evaluates a situation with regard to a humiliation; shame, with regard to a misdemeanor. In addition, attention has to be paid to the (...)
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  45. Eva-Maria Engelen, Hans J. Markowitsch, Christian Scheve, Birgitt Roettger-Roessler, Achim Stephan, Manfred Holodynski & Marie Vandekerckhove (2009). Emotions as Bio-Cultural Processes: Discipinary Debates and an Interdisciplinary Outlook. In Birgitt Röttger-Rössler & Hans Markowitsch (eds.), Emotions as Bio-cultural Processes.
    The article develops a theoretical framework that is capable of integrating the biological foundations of emotions with their cultural and semantic formation.
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  46. E. J. Esrock (2002). Touching Art: Intimacy, Embodiment, and the Somatosensory System. Consciousness and Emotion 2 (2):233-253.
    Viewers have a way of using their somatosensory system to create temporary boundary changes that bring them into intimate relationships with art objects. Spectators experience this imaginary fusion when simultaneously attending to their own somatosensory sensations, which occur inside the body, and to qualities of the artwork, which exist in the external world. At such moments viewers reinterpret their somatosensory sensations as a quality of the artwork. When inside and outside are reinterpreted, viewers cross the conventional boundary between self and (...)
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  47. William Fish (2005). Emotions, Moods, and Intentionality. In Intentionality: Past and Future (Value Inquiry Book Series, Volume 173). Rodopi NY.
    Under the general heading of what we might loosely call emotional states, a familiar distinction can be drawn between emotions (strictly so-called) and moods. In order to judge under which of these headings a subject’s emotional episode falls, we advance a question of the form: What is the subject’s emotion of or about? In some cases (for example fear, sadness, and anger) the provision of an answer is straightforward: the subject is afraid of the loose tiger, or sad about England’s (...)
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  48. William C. Fish (2005). Intentionality: Past and Future (Value Inquiry Book Series, Volume 173). Rodopi NY.
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  49. Rick Anthony Furtak (2010). Emotion, the Bodily, and the Cognitive. Philosophical Explorations 13 (1):51 – 64.
    In both psychology and philosophy, cognitive theories of emotion have met with increasing opposition in recent years. However, this apparent controversy is not so much a gridlock between antithetical stances as a critical debate in which each side is being forced to qualify its position in order to accommodate the other side of the story. Here, I attempt to sort out some of the disagreements between cognitivism and its rivals, adjudicating some disputes while showing that others are merely superficial. Looking (...)
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  50. R. W. Gibbs Jr & G. C. Van Orden (2003). Are Emotional Expressions Intentional?: A Self-Organizational Approach. Consciousness and Emotion 4 (1):1-16.
    This paper discusses the debate over whether emotional expressions are spontaneous or intentional actions. We describe a variety of empirical evidence supporting these two possibilities. But we argue that the spontaneous-intentional distinction fails to explain the psychological dynamics of emotional expressions. We claim that a complex systems perspective on intentions, as self-organized critical states, may yield a unified view of emotional expressions as a consequence of situated action. This account simultaneously acknowledges the embodied status of environment, evolution, culture and mind (...)
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