Looking at a person’s expression is a good way of telling what she feels—what emotions she has. Why is that? Is it because we see her emotion, or is it because we infer her mental state from her expression? My claim is that there is a sense in which we do see the person’s emotion. I first argue that expressions are physical events that carry information about the emotions that produce them. I then examine evidence suggesting that specific brain areas (...) and structures are involved in the process that extracts such information and makes it available in the content of visual experience. I consider only what happens in early stages of visual processing and make no claim about the role of simulation and empathy. (shrink)
What do we see when we look at someone's expression of fear? I argue that one of the things that we see is fear itself. I support this view by developing a theory of affect perception. The theory involves two claims. One is that expressions are patterns of facial changes that carry information about affects. The other is that the visual system extracts and processes such information. In particular, I argue that the visual system functions to detect the affects of (...) others when they are expressed in the face. I develop my theory by drawing on empirical data from psychology and brain science. Finally, I outline a theory of the semantics of affect perception. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that one of the functions of the perceptual system is to detect other people’s emotions when they are expressed in the face. I support this view by developing two separate but interdependent accounts. The first says that facial expressions of emotions carry information about the emotions that produced them, and about some of their properties. The second says that the visual system functions to extract the information that expressions carry about emotions.
The SIMS model claims that it is by means of an embodied simulation that we determine the meaning of an observed smile. This suggests that crucial interpretative work is done in the mapping that takes us from a perceived smile to the activation of one's own facial musculature. How is this mapping achieved? Might it depend upon a prior interpretation arrived at on the basis of perceptual and contextual information?
Happiness, like other basic emotions, has visual properties that create the conditions for happiness to be perceived in others. This is to say that happiness is perceivable. Its visual properties are to be identified with those facial expressions that are characteristic of happiness. Yet saying that something is perceivable does not suffice for us to conclude that it is perceived. We therefore need to show that happiness is perceived. Empirical evidence suggests that the visual system functions to perceive happiness as (...) well as other basic emotions. Experiences that can be had simply by virtue of how the perceptual system functions are known as observations. I will thus argue that visual experiences in which we become aware of others’ happiness are observations. This approach will provide the necessary conceptual framework to show that we have perceptual knowledge of others’ happiness. (shrink)
This thesis addresses two questions. One concerns the metaphysics of emotions and asks what kinds of mental states emotions are. The other asks how the metaphysics of emotions bears on first and third-personal knowledge of emotions. There are two prevailing views on the nature of emotions. They are the perception and cognitive views. The perception view argues that emotions are bodily feelings. The cognitive view, by contrast, contends that emotions are some sorts of evaluative judgments. I show that both views (...) provide inadequate accounts of the nature of emotions. The perception view fails to do justice to the fact that emotions may not involve any bodily feeling. The cognitive view, by contrast, cannot account for the fact that emotions are states that adult humans have in common with infants and animals. On the basis of these criticisms, I put forward an alternative account of emotions. This involves five main arguments. The first is that emotions are enduring non-episodic dispositions that may or may not manifest themselves in experiential episodes such as emotional feelings and behaviour episodes such as expressions. The second argument is that emotional feelings are perceptions of specific bodily changes brought about by emotions. These feelings serve as clues as to what kinds of emotions the subject has. The third argument is that expressions are observable manifestations of emotions in virtue of which emotions can be perceived and subsequently known, directly and non-inferentially, by other people. The fourth argument is that when someone has an emotion without feeling it, she can still come to know it by believing true ascriptions that other people make about the emotion they perceive in her expression. The fifth argument is that full knowledge of emotions requires knowledge of the emotion objects. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the answer Wittgenstein gives to a specific version of the sceptical problem of other minds. The sceptic claims that the expressions of feelings and emotions can always be pretended. Wittgenstein contrasts this idea with two arguments. The first argument shows that other-ascriptions of psychological states are justified by experience of the satisfaction of criteria. The second argument shows that if one accepts the conclusion of the first argument, then one is compelled to accept the idea (...) that pretence is justifiably ascribed on the same evidential basis, which justifies any other-ascriptions. The two arguments show that other-ascriptions of psychological states and pretence-ascriptions share the same evidential basis. This allows Wittgenstein to say that the sceptic’s appeal to the possibility of pretence implies a contradiction. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the issue of authenticity in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology. In the manuscripts published as Letzte Schriften über die Philosophie der Psychologie – Das Innere und das Äußere, the German term Echtheit is mostly translated as ‘genuineness’. In these manuscripts, Wittgenstein frequently uses the term as referring to a feature of the expression of feeling and emotion: -/- […] I want to say that there is an original genuine expression of pain; that the expression of pain (...) therefore is not equally connected to the pain and to the pretence. (LW II, p. 55) -/- “This weeping gives the impression of being genuine” – so there is such a thing as genuine weeping. […]. (LW II, p. 87) -/- […] Genuineness and falseness are not the only essential characteristics of an expression of feeling. […]. (LW II, p. 90) -/- Wittgenstein contrasts the genuineness of the expressions with the possibility that the expressions are feigned. It seems to me that Wittgenstein is trying to discredit a specific version of the sceptical claim that we do not know other minds. I will refer to it as the sceptical innuendo. The sceptical innuendo says that every expression of feeling and emotion may be pretended. Wittgenstein’s approach to the issue reflects his later interest in the philosophy of psychology and, in particular, the problem of the ascription of psychological states (P-ascriptions) on the basis of someone else’s expression of feeling or emotion. Thus, the attempt to reject the sceptical innuendo is done mainly by means of conceptual and psychological arguments. Let’s look at this short dialogue between the sceptic and Wittgenstein. The former asks „How do you know that someone else is in a certain psychological state?“ Wittgenstein’s first reply is „I know that he is glad because I see him“. But the sceptic cannot be very happy with this reply. The sceptic’s next question is: „How do you know that he is really glad and he is not pretending?“ Wittgenstein’s response is not a direct refutation but is composed of a number of related reasons. These may be summed up in three arguments: -/- (i) A psychological argument from the very nature of the expressions. The expressions are meant to be natural symptoms of someone else’s psychological state (P-state). -/- (ii) A conceptual argument about the nature of pretence. It claims that pretence is a psychological property which is rightly ascribed when an observer has evidence for it. -/- (iii) A psychological argument from genuineness. It claims that we are committed to accept people’s expressions of feeling and emotion as genuine. (shrink)
In recent decades, the analysis of phraseology has made use of the exploration of large corpora as a source of quantitative information about language. This paper intends to present the main lines of work in progress based on this empirical approach to linguistic analysis. In particular, we focus our attention on some problems relating to the morpho-syntactic annotation of corpora. The CORIS/CODIS corpus of contemporary written Italian, developed at CILTA – University of Bologna (Rossini Favretti 2000; Rossini Favretti, Tamburini, De (...) Santis in press), is a synchronic 100-million-word corpus and is being lemmatised and annotated with part-of-speech (POS) tags, in order to increase the quantity of information and improve data retrieval procedures (Tamburini 2000). The aim of POS tagging is to assign each lexical unit to the appropriate word class. Usually the set of tags is pre-established by the linguist, who uses his/her competence to identify the different word classes. The very first experiments we made revealed how the traditional part-of-speech distinctions in Italian (generally based on morphological and semantic criteria) are often inadequate to represent the syntactic features of words in context. It is worth noting that the uncertainties in categorisation contained in Italian grammars and dictionaries reflect a growing difficulty as they move from fundamental linguistic classes, such as nouns and verbs, to more complex classes, such as adverbs, pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions. This latter class, that groups together elements traditionally used to express connections between sentences, appears inadequate when describing cohesive relations in Italian. This phenomenon actually seems to involve other elements traditionally assigned to different classes, such as adverbs, pronouns and interjections. Recent studies proposed the class of ‘connectives’, grouping all words that, apart from their traditional word class, have the function of connecting phrases and contributing to textual cohesion. From this point of view, conjunctions can be considered as part of phrasal connectives, that can in turn be included in the wider category of textual connectives. The aim of this study is to identify elements that can be included in the class of phrasal connectives, using quantitative methods. According to Shannon and Weaver’s (1949) observation that words are linked by dependent probabilities, corroborated by Halliday’s (1991) argument that the grammatical “system” (in Firth’s sense of the term) is essentially probabilistic, quantitative data are introduced in order to provide evidence of relative frequencies. Section 2 presents a description of word-class categorisation from the point of view of grammars and dictionaries arguing that the traditional category of conjunctions is inadequate for capturing the notion of phrasal connective. Section 3 examines the notion of ‘connective’ and suggests a truth-function interpretation of connective behaviour. Section 4 describes the quantitative methods proposed for analysing the distributional properties of lexical units, and section 5 comments on the results obtained by applying such methods drawing some provisional conclusions. (shrink)