David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Emotion Review 3 (4):444-454 (2011)
We argue that there are three coherent, nontrivial notions of basic-ness: conceptual basic-ness, biological basic-ness, and psychological basic-ness. There is considerable evidence for conceptually basic emotion categories (e.g., “anger,” “fear”). These categories do not designate biologically basic emotions, but some forms of anger, fear, and so on that are biologically basic in a sense we will specify. Finally, two notions of psychological basic-ness are distinguished, and the evidence for them is evaluated. The framework we offer acknowledges the force of some of the objections to basic emotion theory whilst demonstrating that the notion of a basic emotion, once properly reformulated, is still of scientific value.
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