About this topic
Summary Traditionally emotions have been considered to be non-cognitive by nature, perhaps movements of the body or feelings or such-like. However, many emotion theorists have thought this traditional view to be mistaken. Thus it is often argued that emotions have intentional properties and can be assessed for their rationality - features that seem distinctive of belief and thought. Moreover some emotions seem clearly to involve cognitive content - for instance, it is difficult to see how one can be indignant and not have thoughts regarding injustices. However, cognitive theories of emotion are often criticized as well. One early critic, William James, claimed that such theories seem unsound for phenomenological reasons and more recently a number of emotion theorists have pointed out that it seems possible for people to have an emotion while failing to have the cognitive state that cognitive theorists typically think identify the emotion (say, thoughts of danger in the case of fear). This category is devoted to cognitive theories of emotion, detailing works that defend and develop such theories as well as works that are more critical of cognitive approaches to understanding emotion.      
Key works Key texts defending a cognitive theory of emotion include amongst others works by Robert Solomon (e.g. Solomon 2003), Jerome Neu (Neu 2000), and Martha Nussbaum (Nussbaum 2001). Critics of cognitive theories of emotion include amongst others William James (James 1884), Jesse Prinz (Prinz 2004), and John Deigh (Deigh 1994)
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  1. Mental Pictures, Imagination and Emotions.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2012 - In P. Hanna (ed.), Anthology of Philosophical Studies, vol. 6. ATINER. pp. 83-91.
    Although cognitivism has lost some ground recently in the philosophical circles, it is still the favorite view of many scholars of emotions. Even though I agree with cognitivism's insight that emotions typically involve some type of evaluative intentional state, I shall argue that in some cases, less epistemically committed, non-propositional evaluative states such as mental pictures can do a better job in identifying the emotion and providing its intentional object. Mental pictures have different logical features from propositions: they are representational, (...)
  2. The Unity of Emotion: An Unlikely Aristotelian Solution.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2007 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 (2):101-114.
    Most researchers of emotions agree that although cognitive evaluations such as beliefs, thoughts, etc. are essential for emotion, bodily feelings and their behavioral expressions are also required. Yet, only a few explain how all these diverse aspects of emotion are related to form the unity or oneness of emotion. The most prevalent account of unity is the causal view, which, however, has been shown to be inadequate because it sees the relations between the different parts of emotion as external and (...)
  3. How Are the Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Aspects of Emotion Related?Maria Magoula Adamos - 2002 - Consciousness and Emotion 3 (2):183-195.
    Most scholars of emotions concede that although cognitive evaluations are essential for emotion, they are not sufficient for it, and that other elements, such as bodily feelings, physiological sensations and behavioral expressions are also required. However, only a few discuss how these diverse aspects of emotion are related in order to form the unity of emotion. In this essay I examine the co-presence and the causal views, and I argue that neither view can account for the unity of emotions. In (...)
  4. The Ontology of Emotion.Laird Addis - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):261-78.
  5. "The Structure of Emotions" by Robert M. Gordon. [REVIEW]Kent Bach - 1988 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):362.
  6. Emotion as Patheception.Raja Bahlul - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (1):104-122.
    Emotion as patheception. . ???aop.label???. doi: 10.1080/13869795.2013.874494.
  7. Emotion and Peace of Mind: From Stoic Agitation to Christian Temptation.D. Baltzly - 2002 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):235 – 236.
    Book Information Emotion and Peace of Mind: from Stoic agitation to Christian temptation. By Richard Sorabji. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2000. Pp. xi + 499. Hardback, £30.
  8. Emotions.E. Bedford - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:281-304.
  9. A Special Way of Being Afraid.Kathy Behrendt - 2010 - Philosophical Psychology 23 (5):669-682.
    I am interested in fear of non-existence, which is often discussed in terms of fear one’s own death, or as it is sometimes called, fear of death as such. This form of fear has been denied by some philosophers. Cognitive theories of the emotions have particular trouble in dealing with it, granting it a status that is simultaneously paradigmatic yet anomalous with respect to fear in general. My paper documents these matters, and considers a number of responses. I provide examples (...)
  10. Forensic Applications of Theories of Cognition and Emotion.Debra A. Bekerian & Susan J. Goodrich - 1999 - In Tim Dalgleish & M. J. Powers (eds.), Handbook of Cognition and Emotion. Wiley. pp. 783--798.
  11. What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories. By Paul E. Griffiths.A. Ben-Ze'ev - 2000 - The European Legacy 5 (2):267-268.
  12. The Subtlety of Emotions.Aaron Ben-Ze'ev - 2001 - Bradford.
    Aaron Ben-Ze'ev carries out what he calls "a careful search for general patterns in the primeval jungle of emotions.".
  13. Describing the Emotions: A Review of the Cognitive Structure of Emotions by Ortony, Clore & Collins. [REVIEW]Aaron Ben-Ze'ev - 1990 - Philosophical Psychology 3 (2 & 3):305 – 317.
    This paper critically examines Ortony, Clore & Collins's book The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. The book is found to present a very valuable, comprehensive and systematic account of emotions. Despite its obvious value the book has various flaws; these are discussed and an alternative is suggested.
  14. The Nature of Emotions.Aaron Ben-Zeev - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 52 (3):393 - 409.
  15. Emotions Are Not Mere Judgments. [REVIEW]Aaron Ben-Ze’Ev - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):450-457.
  16. Appraisal Theories of Emotions.Aaron Ben-Ze’Ev - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22 (April):129-143.
    Today appraisal theories are the foremost approach to emotions in philosophy and psychology. The general assumption underlying these theories is that evaluations (appraisals) are the most crucial factor in emotions. This assumption may imply that: (a) evaluative pattems distinguish one emotion from another; (b) evaluative pattems distinguish emotions from nonemotions; (e) emotional evaluations of the eliciting event determine emotional intensity. These claims are not necessarily related. Accepting one of them does not necessarily imply acceptance of the others. I believe that (...)
  17. Thinking Sadly: In Favor of an Adverbial Theory of Emotions.Anja Berninger - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (6):799-812.
    Introspective as well as empirical evidence indicates that emotions shape our thinking in numerous ways. Yet, this modificatory aspect of emotions has received relatively little interest in the philosophy of emotion. I give a detailed account of this aspect. Drawing both on the work of William James and adverbialist conceptions of perception, I sketch a theory of emotions that takes these aspects into consideration and suggest that we should understand emotions as manners of thinking.
  18. Emotion, Thought, and Therapy.H. R. Bernstein - 1981 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1):114-116.
  19. The Stoics (M.R.) Graver Stoicism and Emotion. Pp. X + 289. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Cased, US$37.50. ISBN: 978-0-226-30557-. [REVIEW]Richard Bett - 2009 - The Classical Review 59 (01):77-.
  20. Ambivalence for Cognitivists: A Lesson From Chrysippus?Wringe Bill - forthcoming - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy.
    Ambivalence – where we experience two conflicting emotional responses to the same object, person or state of affairs – is sometimes thought to pose a problem for cognitive theories of emotion. Drawing on the ideas of the Stoic Chrysippus, I argue that a cognitivist can account for ambivalence without retreating from the view that emotions involve fully-fledged evaluative judgments. It is central to the account I offer that emotions involve two kinds of judgment: one about the object of emotion, and (...)
  21. The Genealogy of the Moral Modules.John Bolender - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (2):233-255.
    This paper defends a cognitive theory of those emotional reactions which motivate and constrain moral judgment. On this theory, moral emotions result from mental faculties specialized for automatically producing feelings of approval or disapproval in response to mental representations of various social situations and actions. These faculties are modules in Fodor's sense, since they are informationally encapsulated, specialized, and contain innate information about social situations. The paper also tries to shed light on which moral modules there are, which of these (...)
  22. What If Kant Had Had a Cognitive Theory of the Emotions?Jason Brennan - 2008 - In Valerio Hrsg v. Rohden, Ricardo Terra & Guido Almeida (eds.), Recht und Frieden in der Philosophie Kants. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 1--219.
    Emotional cognitivists, such as the Stoics and Aristotle, hold that emotions have cognitive content, whereas noncognitivists, like Plato and Kant, believe the emotions to be nonrational bodily movements. I ask, taking Martha Nussbaum's account of cognitivism, what if Kant had become convinced of a cognitive theory of the emotions, what changes would this require in his moral philosophy. Surprisingly, since this represents a radical shift in his psychology, it changes almost nothing. I show that Kant's account of continence, virtue, the (...)
  23. Review of 'Feeling and Emotion: The Amsterdam Symposium' by Manstead, Fridja & Fischer (Ed). [REVIEW]Richard Brown - 2008 - Philosophical Psychology 21 (1).
    As its title suggests, this anthology is a collection of papers presented at a conference on feelings and emotions held in Amsterdam in 2001. One of the symposium’s main goals was to draw some of the most prominent researchers in emotion research together and provide a multi-disciplinary ‘snap shot’ of the state of the art at the turn of the century. In that respect it is truly a cognitive science success story. There are articles from a wide range of fields, (...)
  24. Qing (情) and Emotion in Early Chinese Thought.Brian Bruya - 2001 - Ming Qing Yanjiu 2001:151-176.
    In a 1967 article, A. C. Graham made the claim that 情 qing should never be translated as "emotions" in rendering early Chinese texts into English. Over time, sophisticated translators and interpreters have taken this advice to heart, and qing has come to be interpreted as "the facts" or "what is genuine in one." In these English terms all sense of interrelationality is gone, leaving us with a wooden, objective stasis. But we also know, again partly through the work of (...)
  25. Extended Emotion.J. Adam Carter, Emma C. Gordon & S. Orestis Palermos - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (2):198-217.
    Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
  26. Conceiving Emotions: Martha Nussbaum's "Upheavals of Thought". [REVIEW]Diana Fritz Cates - 2003 - Journal of Religious Ethics 31 (2):325 - 341.
    In "Upheavals of Thought", Martha Nussbaum offers a theory of the emotions. She argues that emotions are best conceived as thoughts, and she argues that emotion-thoughts can make valuable contributions to the moral life. She develops extensive accounts of compassion and erotic love as thoughts that are of great moral import. This paper seeks to elucidate what it means, for Nussbaum, to say that emotions are forms of thought. It raises critical questions about her conception of the structure of emotion, (...)
  27. Review: A Tear is an Intellectual Thing: The Meanings of Emotion. [REVIEW]Marcia Cavell - 2003 - Mind 112 (446):367-371.
  28. Review of 'What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories', by Paul E. Griffiths. [REVIEW]Louis C. Charland - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (3):318-324.
  29. Reconciling Cognitive and Perceptual Theories of Emotion: A Representational Proposal.Louis C. Charland - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (4):555-579.
    The distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is entrenched in the literature on emotion and is openly used by individual emotion theorists when classifying their own theories and those of others. In this paper, I argue that the distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is more pernicious than it is helpful, while at the same time insisting that there are nonetheless important perceptual and cognitive factors in emotion that need to be distinguished. A general representational metatheoretical (...)
  30. Emotion, Cognition and Action.David Charles - 2004 - Philosophy 55:105-136.
    Contemporary philosophers have not, at least until very recently, been much concerned with the study of the emotions. It was not always so. The Stoics thought deeply about this topic. Although they were divided on points of detail, they agreed on the broad outline of an account. In it emotions are valuational judgments and resulting affective states.
  31. The Double Intentionality of Emotional Experience.Tom Cochrane - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy (4).
    I argue that while the feeling of bodily responses is not necessary to emotion, these feelings contribute significant meaningful content to everyday emotional experience. Emotional bodily feelings represent a ‘state of self’, analysed as a sense of one's body affording certain patterns of interaction with the environment. Recognising that there are two sources of intentional content in everyday emotional experience allows us to reconcile the diverging intuitions that people have about emotional states, and to understand better the long-standing debate between (...)
  32. From Affect Programs to Dynamical Discrete Emotions.Giovanna Colombetti - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):407-425.
    According to Discrete Emotion Theory, a number of emotions are distinguishable on the basis of neural, physiological, behavioral and expressive features. Critics of this view emphasize the variability and context-sensitivity of emotions. This paper discusses some of these criticisms, and argues that they do not undermine the claim that emotions are discrete. This paper also presents some works in dynamical affective science, and argues that to conceive of discrete emotions as self-organizing and softly assembled patterns of various processes accounts more (...)
  33. PAUL E. GRIFFITHS, What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories.R. De Sousa - 1999 - Dialogue 38:908-910.
  34. Emotion.Ronald de Sousa - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  35. Review of Robert C. Solomon, True to Our Feelings: What Our Emotions Are Really Telling Us[REVIEW]Ronnie de Sousa - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (10).
  36. Neither Here nor There: The Cognitive Nature of Emotion.Remy Debes - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (1):1-27.
    The philosophy of emotion has long been divided over the cognitive nature of emotion. In this paper I argue that this debate suffers from deep confusion over the meaning of “cognition” itself. This confusion has in turn obscured critical substantive agreement between the debate’s principal opponents. Capturing this agreement and remedying this confusion requires re-conceptualizing “the cognitive” as it functions in first-order theories of emotion. Correspondingly, a sketch for a new account of cognitivity is offered. However, I also argue that (...)
  37. Cognitivism in the Theory of Emotions.John Deigh - 1994 - Ethics 104 (4):824-54.
  38. Review: A Cognitivist's Approach to the Emotions. [REVIEW]John Deigh - 1990 - Behavior and Philosophy 18 (1):63 - 67.
  39. Real Emotions.Craig DeLancey - 1998 - Philosophical Psychology 11 (4):467-487.
    I argue that natural realism is the best approach to explaining some emotional actions, and thus is the best candidate to explain the relevant emotions. I take natural realism to be the view that these emotions are motivational states which must be identified by using (not necessarily exclusively) naturalistic discourse which, if not wholly lacking intentional terms, at least does not require reference to belief and desire. The kinds of emotional actions I consider are ones which continue beyond the satisfaction (...)
  40. Emotions as Attitudes.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (3):293-311.
    In this paper, we develop a fresh understanding of the sense in which emotions are evaluations. We argue that we should not follow mainstream accounts in locating the emotion–value connection at the level of content and that we should instead locate it at the level of attitudes or modes. We begin by explaining the contrast between content and attitude, a contrast in the light of which we review the leading contemporary accounts of the emotions. We next offer reasons to think (...)
  41. The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2011 - Routledge.
    The emotions are at the centre of our lives and, for better or worse, imbue them with much of their significance. The philosophical problems stirred up by the existence of the emotions, over which many great philosophers of the past have laboured, revolve around attempts to understand what this significance amounts to. Are emotions feelings, thoughts, or experiences? If they are experiences, what are they experiences of? Are emotions rational? In what sense do emotions give meaning to what surrounds us? (...)
  42. Emotions: Philosophical Issues About.Julien Deonna, Christine Tappolet & Fabrice Teroni - 2015 - WIREs Cognitive Science 1:193-207.
    We start this overview by discussing the place of emotions within the broader affective domain – how different are emotions from moods, sensations and affective dispositions? Next, we examine the way emotions relate to their objects, emphasizing in the process their intimate relations to values. We move from this inquiry into the nature of emotion to an inquiry into their epistemology. Do they provide reasons for evaluative judgements and, more generally, do they contribute to our knowledge of values? We then (...)
  43. Negative Emotions.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    I have a theory of the emotions that many people find unflattering. I contend that all emotions, as such, are negative and neither life-enhancing nor truth-connected. In this essay, I present this theory and my reasons for it.
  44. Upheavels of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions.Sharin N. Elkholy - 2002 - Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 23 (2):235-238.
  45. Horror, Fear, and the Sartrean Account of Emotions.Andreas Elpidorou - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):209-225.
    Phenomenological approaches to affectivity have long recognized the vital role that emotions occupy in our lives. In this paper, I engage with Jean-Paul Sartre's well-known and highly influential theory of the emotions as it is advanced in his Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions. I examine whether Sartre's account offers two inconsistent explications of the nature of emotions. I argue that despite appearances there is a reading of Sartre's theory that is free of inconsistencies. Ultimately, I highlight a novel (...)
  46. The Phenomenology and Science of Emotions: An Introduction.Andreas Elpidorou & Lauren Freeman - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (4):507-511.
    Phenomenology, perhaps more than any other single movement in philosophy, has been key in bringing emotions to the foreground of philosophical consideration. This is in large part due to the ways in which emotions, according to phenomenological analyses, are revealing of basic structures of human existence. Indeed, it is partly and, according to some phenomenologists, even primarily through our emotions that the world is disclosed to us, that we become present to and make sense of ourselves, and that we relate (...)
  47. Gefuhle.Eva-Maria Engelen & Verena Mayer - 2008 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 115 (2):471.
    Nach Erläuterung der wesentlichen Begriffe wie „Emotion“ und „Gefühl“ stellt Eva-Maria Engelen die wichtigsten theoretischen Ansätze vor. Dabei spielen sowohl Theorien aus der Philosophie, der Psychologie als auch aus den Neurowissenschaften eine wichtige Rolle. Geklärt wird in weiteren Kapiteln das Verhältnis von Gefühlen und Emotionen zum Verstand, zum Bewusstsein und zu Werten.
  48. Introduction: Modularity and the Nature of Emotions.Luc Faucher & Christine Tappolet - 2007 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (5S).
    In this introduction, we give a brief overview of the main concepts of modularity that have been offered in recent literature. After this, we turn to a summary of the papers collected in this volume. Our primary aim is to explain how the modularity of emotion question relates to traditional debates in emotion theory.
  49. Emotions as Modes of Cognition.Justin C. Fisher - manuscript
    I. Introduction. II. Ratiocination vs. Cognition. III. Emotions as Modes of Cognition. IV. Four Competing Proposals. V. The Impact of Emotion on Cognition. VI. The Kinematics of Ratiocination. VII. Competing Cognitive Theories. VIII. Why think Emotions are Beliefs? IX. The Intentionality of Emotions. X. The Kinematics of Emotions. XI. A Unified Account of the Emotions. XII. The Rationality of Emotions.
  50. Emotion Experience and its Varieties.Nico H. Frijda - 2009 - Emotion Review 1 (3):264-271.
    Emotion experience reflects some of the outcomes of the mostly nonconscious processes that compose emotions. In my view, the major processes are appraisal, affect, action readiness, and autonomic arousal. The phenomenology of emotion experience varies according to mode of consciousness (nonreflective or reflective consciousness), and to direction and mode of attention. As a result, emotion experience may be either ineffable or articulate with respect to any or all of the underlying processes. In addition, emotion experience reflects the degree to which (...)
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