Constitutivism, belief, and emotion

Dialectica 62 (4):455-482 (2008)
Abstract
Constitutivists about one's cognitive access to one's mental states often hold that for any rational subject S and mental state M falling into some specified range of types, necessarily, if S believes that she has M , then S has M . Some argue that such a principle applies to beliefs about all types of mental state. Others are more cautious, but offer no criterion by which the principle's range could be determined. In this paper I begin to develop such a criterion, arguing that although the principle applies when M is a belief, it does not apply when M is an emotion. I account for this asymmetry by focusing on differences in the commitments that belief and emotion conceptually involve, and briefly sketch out a psychological explanation of those differences. I conclude that one can reasonably split one's epistemological loyalties between constitutivism regarding meta-beliefs and non-constitutivism regarding beliefs about one's emotions.
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