Investigating emotions philosophically

Philosophical Investigations 29 (4):342-357 (2006)
Abstract
This paper is a defense of investigations into the meanings of words by reflecting on their use as a philosophical method for investigating the emotions. The paper defends such conceptual analysis against the critique that it is short of empirical grounding and at best reflects current “common-sense beliefs.” Such critique harks back to Quine’s attack on the analytic/synthetic distinction, his idea that all language is theory dependent and the subsequent critique of “linguistic philosophy” as sanctifying our ordinary use of words, as empirically naïve, unscientific and founded on outmoded theories of meaning. This paper is an attempt to show why such critique is misplaced. Conceptual analysis, properly construed, need not depend on empirical considerations. On the contrary, conceptual analysis of emotions is often a prerequisite to empirical investigations. Furthermore, conceptual analysis need not make ordinary language sacred and need not rely on a theory of meaning or on an analytic/synthetic distinction.
Keywords Concept  Conceptual Analysis  Emotion  Epistemology  Ordinary Language  Philosophical method  Philosophy of Psychology
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9205.2006.00299.x
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PhilPapers Archive Michael McEachrane, Investigating emotions philosophically
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