Wide Externalism and the Roles of Biology and Culture in Human Emotional Development

Emotion Review 4 (4):423-431 (2012)
Abstract
In both the philosophy and psychology of emotion there is disagreement regarding the role of biology/genetics and culture/sociality in emotional development and experience. Using recent insights from developmental psychology and biology, and particularly recent developments in metaphysics of mind, I argue that distinctly human emotionality requires the complex interaction of both. Human neonates and caregivers are genetically preadapted to enable emotional ontogenesis in the context only of a complexly interdependent linguistically-mediated social relationship. This relationship provides the requisite sensory-perceptual stimulation to excite intracellular genetic activity and the resultant development/maturation of emotion-related neural substrata. This genetic preadaptation and the close linguistically-mediated social relationship together provide the necessary and sufficient conditions for the gradual development of human adult emotionality
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