About this topic
Summary Most philosophers agree that emotions are directed at objects. Depending on the theory, these objects may be particulars, as in Jacob's anger at the bank teller, or propositions, as in Sophia's relief that there is milk in the fridge. Many claim that emotions additionally have formal objects which constrain the types of particular objects that an emotion may have, such as danger in the case of fear. The papers in this category discuss topics such as the correct characterization of emotional objects, whether all or even any emotions do have objects, and how to account for the intentionality of emotions given their purported embodied nature.
Key works Kenny 1963 introduced the influential view that emotions have formal objects. Solomon 1976 and Nussbaum 2001 are major statements of the cognitivist theory of emotions, which identifies emotions as judgments on the basis of their contents, while others reject that view, such as Prinz 2003, which develops an embodied theory of emotional content. Many of the papers address emotions with objects that are distinctive or difficult to characterize, such as Robinson 2008 on musical emotions, and Jacobson 2000 on moral emotions.
Introductions de Sousa 2007 Blackman 2013 Deonna & Scherer 2010
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  1. A Logical Formalization of the OCC Theory of Emotions.C. Adam, A. Herzig & D. Longin - 2009 - Synthese 168 (2):201-248.
    In this paper, we provide a logical formalization of the emotion triggering process and of its relationship with mental attitudes, as described in Ortony, Clore, and Collins’s theory. We argue that modal logics are particularly adapted to represent agents’ mental attitudes and to reason about them, and use a specific modal logic that we call Logic of Emotions in order to provide logical definitions of all but two of their 22 emotions. While these definitions may be subject to debate, we (...)
  2. 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, (...)
  3. 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 (...)
  4. 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 (...)
  5. Emotions: An Aristotelian Solution.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2000 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara
  6. What Are Emotions About?Lilli K. Alanen - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):311-354.
    This paper discusses the interrelations between three aspects of human emotions: their intentionality, their expressivity and their moral significance. It distinguishes three kinds of philosophical views of emotions: the cognitivist (classically held by the Stoics), the emotivist which reduces emotions to non-intentional bodily sensations and physiological states, and the moral phenomenologist, the latter being held by Annette Baier, whose work is the focus of the discussion. Her view, which represents an original development of ideas found in Descartes and Hume, avoids (...)
  7. Causes and Constituents of Occurrent Emotion.Richard E. Aquila - 1975 - Philosophical Quarterly 25 (October):346-349.
  8. Emotions, Objects and Causal Relations.Richard E. Aquila - 1974 - Philosophical Studies 26 (November):279-285.
  9. What Emotions Are About.Annette Baier - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:1-29.
  10. The Role of Bodily Perception in Emotion: In Defense of an Impure Somatic Theory.Luca Barlassina & Albert Newen - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (3):637-678.
    In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz's pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz's theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural correlates (...)
  11. The Experience of Emotion.Lisa Feldman Barrett - 2005 - In Lisa Feldman Barrett, Paula M. Niedenthal & Piotr Winkielman (eds.), Emotion and Consciousness. Guilford Press.
    Experiences of emotion are content-rich events that emerge at the level of psychological description, but must be causally constituted by neurobiological processes. This chapter outlines an emerging scientific agenda for understanding what these experiences feel like and how they arise. We review the available answers to what is felt (i.e., the content that makes up an experience of emotion) and how neurobiological processes instantiate these properties of experience. These answers are then integrated into a broad framework that describes, in psychological (...)
  12. Intentionality and Feelings in Theories of Emotions: Comment.Aaron Ben-Ze'ev - 2002 - Consciousness and Emotion 3 (2):263-271.
  13. 'I Only Have Eyes for You': The Partiality of Positive Emotions.Aaron Ben-Ze'ev - 2000 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 30 (3):341–351.
  14. Intentionality and Compound Accounts of the Emotions.Reid D. Blackman - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):67-90.
    Most philosophers of emotion endorse a compound account of the emotions: emotions are wholes made of parts; or, as I prefer to put it, emotions are mental states that supervene on other (mental) states. The goal of this paper is to ascertain how the intentionality of these subvening members relates to the intentionality of the emotions. Towards this end, I proceed as follows. First, I discuss the problems with the account Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson offer of the intentionality of (...)
  15. The Content of Emotional Thoughts.Tim Bloser - 2007 - Philosophical Papers 36 (2):219-243.
    In this paper I examine Peter Goldie's theory of emotional thoughts and feelings, offered in his recent book The Emotions and subsequent articles. Goldie argues that emotional thoughts cannot be assimilated to belief or judgment, together with some added-on phenomenological component, and on this point I agree with him. However, he also argues that emotionally-laden thoughts, thoughts had, as he puts it, ‘with feeling,' in part differ from unemotional thoughts in their content. The thought ‘the gorilla is dangerous' when thought (...)
  16. Emotion, Self-Deception and Conceptual/Nonconceptual Content.María del Rosario Hernández Borges & Tamara Ojeda Arceo - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 42:223-231.
    First the rationalist tradition and then the cognitive revolution put limits on the philosophy and social sciences with regard to the analysis of emotion, of irrationality in mental events and actions, to the reduction of our representations to conceptual elements, and so on. This fact caused an increasing interest in these topics. In this paper, we intend to claim the significant relations among these three issues: emotion, selfdeception and non-conceptual content, with two aims: i) to analyse the relation between non-conceptual (...)
  17. The Irrationality of Recalcitrant Emotions.M. S. Brady - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):413 - 430.
    A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend my (...)
  18. Emotion and Other Minds.Bill Brewer - 2002 - In Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals. Brookfield: Ashgate.
    What is the relation between emotional experience and its behavioural expression? As very preliminary clarification, I mean by ‘emotional experience’ such things as the subjective feeling of being afraid of something, or of being angry at someone. On the side of behavioural expression, I focus on such things as cowering in fear, or shaking a fist or thumping the table in anger. Very crudely, this is behaviour intermediate between the bodily changes which just happen in emotional arousal, such as sweating (...)
  19. The Elements of Emotion.Chad Brockman - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (2):163-186.
    I join the growing ranks of theorists who reject the terms of traditional debates about the nature of emotion, debates that have long focused on the question of whether emotions should be understood as either cognitive or somatic kinds of states. Here, I propose and defend a way of incorporating both into a single theory, which I label the “Integrated Representational Theory” of emotion. In Section 2 I begin to construct the theory, defining and explaining emotions in terms of three (...)
  20. Analyzing Love.Robert Brown - 1987 - Cambridge University Press.
    Analyzing Love is concerned with four basic and neglected problems concerning love. The first is identifying its relevant features: distinguishing it from liking and benevolence and from sexual desire; describing the objects that can be loved and the judgements and aims required by love. The second question is how we recognize the presence of love and what grounds we may have for thinking it present in any particular case. The third is that of relating it to other emotions such as (...)
  21. 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 (...)
  22. Brentano and Intrinsic Value.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
    Franz Brentano developed an original theory of intrinsic value which he attempted to base on his philosophical psychology. Roderick Chisholm presents here a critical exposition of this theory and its place in Brentano's general philosophical system. He gives a detailed account of Brentano's ontology, showing how Brentano tried to secure objectivity for ethics not through a theory of practical reason, but through his theory of the intentional objects of emotions and desires. Professor Chisholm goes on to develop certain suggestions about (...)
  23. All the Right Responses: Fiction Films and Warranted Emotions.Jinhee Choi - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (3):308-321.
    Cognitive theories of emotions have provided us with explanations of how we emotionally engage with fiction, when we are aware that what is depicted is fictional. However, these theories left an important question unanswered: namely, what kinds of emotional responses to fiction are warranted responses. The main focus of this paper is how our emotional responses to fiction can be aesthetically warranted—that is, how emotions directed to fiction can be warranted given the fact that its object is an artwork. I (...)
  24. Grief's Rationality, Backward and Forward.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):255-272.
    Grief is our emotional response to the deaths of intimates, and so like many other emotional conditions, it can be appraised in terms of its rationality. A philosophical account of grief's rationality should satisfy a contingency constraint, wherein grief is neither intrinsically rational nor intrinsically irrational. Here I provide an account of grief and its rationality that satisfies this constraint, while also being faithful to the phenomenology of grief experience. I begin by arguing against the best known account of grief's (...)
  25. Finding the Good in Grief: What Augustine Knew but Meursault Couldn't.Michael Cholbi - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (1):91-105.
    Meursault, the protagonist of Camus' The Stranger, is unable to grieve, a fact that ultimately leads to his condemnation and execution. Given the emotional distresses involved in grief, should we envy Camus or pity him? I defend the latter conclusion. As St. Augustine seemed to dimly recognize, the pains of grief are integral to the process of bereavement, a process that both motivates and provides a distinctive opportunity to attain the good of self-knowledge.
  26. The Difference Between Emotion and Affect.Tom Cochrane - forthcoming - Physics of Life Reviews.
    In this brief comment on a target article by Koelsch et al., I argue that emotions are more sensitive to context than other affective states.
  27. The Emotional Mind : A Control Theory of Affective States.Tom Cochrane - forthcoming - Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    In this book, Tom Cochrane develops a new control theory of the emotions and related affective states. Grounded in the basic principle of negative feedback control, his original account outlines a new fundamental kind of mental content called 'valent representation'. Upon this foundation, Cochrane constructs new models for emotions, pains and pleasures, moods, expressive behaviours, evaluative reasoning, personality traits and long-term character commitments. These various states are presented as increasingly sophisticated layers of regulative control, which together underpin the architecture of (...)
  28. The Double Intentionality of Emotional Experience.Tom Cochrane - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1454-1475.
    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 (...)
  29. Hume on Representation, Reason and Motivation.Rachel Cohon & David Owen - 1997 - Manuscrito 20:47-76.
  30. How Transparent is Disgust?Filippo Contesi - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1810-1823.
    According to the so-called transparency thesis, what is disgusting in nature cannot but be disgusting in art. This paper critically discusses the arguments that have been put forward in favour of the transparency thesis, starting with Korsmeyer's (2011) sensory view of disgust. As an alternative, it offers an account of the relationship between disgust and representation that explains, at least in part, whatever truth there is in the transparency thesis. Such an account appeals to a distinction between object-centric and situation-centric (...)
  31. The Meanings of Disgusting Art.Filippo Contesi - 2016 - Essays in Philosophy 17 (1):68-94.
    It has been recently argued, contrary to the received eighteenth-century view, that disgust is compatible with aesthetic pleasure. According to such arguments, what allows this compatibility is the interest that art appreciators sometimes bestow on the cognitive content of disgust. On this view, the most interesting aspect of this cognitive content is identified in meanings connected with human mortality. The aim of this paper is to show that these arguments are unsuccessful.
  32. Disgust’s Transparency.Filippo Contesi - 2016 - British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (4):347-354.
    The transparency thesis for disgust claims that what is disgusting in nature is always also disgusting in art. Versions of the thesis have been endorsed by, among others, Kant, Lessing, Mendelssohn, and, more recently, Arthur Danto, Carolyn Korsmeyer, and Jenefer Robinson. The present paper articulates and discusses different readings of the thesis. It concludes that the transparency thesis is false.
  33. Korsmeyer on Fiction and Disgust.Filippo Contesi - 2015 - British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (1):109-116.
    In Savoring Disgust, Carolyn Korsmeyer argues that disgust is peculiar amongst emotions, for it does not need any of the standard solutions to the so-called paradox of fiction. I argue that Korsmeyer’s arguments in support of the peculiarity of disgust with respect to the paradox of fiction are not successful.
  34. Being Moved.Florian Cova & Julien Deonna - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (3):1-20.
    In this paper, we argue that, barring a few important exceptions, the phenomenon we refer to using the expression “being moved” is a distinct type of emotion. In this paper’s first section, we motivate this hypothesis by reflecting on our linguistic use of this expression. In section two, pursuing a methodology that is both conceptual and empirical, we try to show that the phenomenon satisfies the five most commonly used criteria in philosophy and psychology for thinking that some affective episode (...)
  35. Intentionality and Emotion: Comment on Hutto.Tim Crane - 2006 - In Richard Menary (ed.), Radical Enactivism: Intentionality, Phenomenology and Narrative: Focus on the Philosophy of Daniel D. Hutto. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 107-119.
    I am very sympathetic to Dan Hutto’s view that in our experience of the emotions of others “we do not neutrally observe the outward behaviour of another and infer coldly, but on less than certain grounds, that they are in such and such an inner state, as justified by analogy with our own case. Rather we react and feel as we do because it is natural for us to see and be moved by specific expressions of emotion in others” (Hutto (...)
  36. Two Faces of Intentionality.Suzanne Cunningham - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (3):445-460.
    Theories of intentionality need to account for non-cognitive states like emotions as well as cognitive states like beliefs. When certain non-cognitive states are included, one can formulate a feasible physicalist account of intentionality that highlights its evolutionary roots. I argue that recent experimental data support just such a move.
  37. An Anti-Anti-Essentialist View of the Emotions: A Reply to Kupperman.Tim Dalgleish - 1997 - Philosophical Psychology 10 (1):85-90.
    Kupperman (1995) advances an anti-essentialist view of emotions in which he suggests that there can be emotion without feeling or affect, emotion without corresponding motivation, and emotion without an intentional relation to an object such that the emotion is about that object in some way. In this reply to Kupperman's essay, I suggest a number of problems with his rejection of the essentialist position. I argue that in his discussion of feelings Kupperman is crucially not clear about the distinction between (...)
  38. Emotion.Ronald de Sousa - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  39. Emotional Truth: Ronald de Sousa.Ronald de Sousa - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):247–263.
    Taking literally the concept of emotional truth requires breaking the monopoly on truth of belief-like states. To this end, I look to perceptions for a model of non-propositional states that might be true or false, and to desires for a model of propositional attitudes the norm of which is other than the semantic satisfaction of their propositional object. Those models inspire a conception of generic truth, which can admit of degrees for analogue representations such as emotions; belief-like states, by contrast, (...)
  40. Being Emotional About the Past: On the Nature and Role of Past-Directed Emotions.Dorothea Debus - 2007 - Noûs 41 (4):758-779.
    We sometimes experience emotions which are directed at past events (or situations) which we witnessed at the time when they occurred (or obtained). The present paper explores the role which such "autobiographically past-directed emotions" (or "APD-emotions") play in a subject's mental life. A defender of the "Memory-Claim" holds that an APD-emotion is a memory, namely a memory of the emotion which the subject experienced at the time when the event originally occurred (or the situation obtained) towards which the APD-emotion is (...)
  41. Emotions, Values, and the Law.John Deigh - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Emotions, Values, and the Law brings together ten of John Deigh's essays written over the past fifteen years. In the first five essays, Deigh ask questions about the nature of emotions and the relation of evaluative judgment to the intentionality of emotions, and critically examines the cognitivist theories of emotion that have dominated philosophy and psychology over the past thirty years. A central criticism of these theories is that they do not satisfactorily account for the emotions of babies or animals (...)
  42. Cognitivism in the Theory of Emotions.John Deigh - 1994 - Ethics 104 (4):824-54.
  43. Passionate Engines: What Emotions Reveal About the Mind and Artificial Intelligence.Craig DeLancey - 2001 - Oxford University Press USA.
    DeLancey shows that our understanding of emotion provides essential insight on key issues in philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence. He offers us a bold new approach to the study of the mind based on the latest scientific research and provides an accessible overview of the science of emotion.
  44. Affect Programs, Intentionality, and Consciousness.Craig DeLancey - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):197-198.
    I express two concerns with the theory of emotion that Rolls provides: (1) rewards and punishers alone fail to explain the basic emotions; (2) Rolls needs to clarify his notion of the intentionality of emotions. I also criticize his theory of consciousness, arguing that it fails to explain qualia, and that ironically it is emotions which make this most evident.
  45. Basic Moods.Craig Stephen Delancey - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (4):527-538.
    The hypothesis that some moods are emotions has been rejected in philosophy, and is an unpopular alternative in psychology. This is because there is wide agreement that moods have a number of features distinguishing them from emotions. These include: lack of an intentional object and the related notion of lack of a goal; being of long duration; having pervasive or widespread effects; and having causes rather than reasons. Leading theories of mood have tried to explain these purported features by describing (...)
  46. The Structure of Empathy.Julien Deonna - 2007 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 4 (1):99-116.
    If Sam empathizes with Maria, then it is true of Sam that (1) Sam is aware of Maria's emotion, and (2) Sam ‘feels in tune’ with Maria. On what I call the transparency conception of how they interact when instantiated, I argue that these two conditions are collectively necessary and sufficient for empathy. I first clarify the ‘awareness’ and ‘feeling in tune’ conditions, and go on to examine different candidate models that explain the manner in which these two conditions might (...)
  47. The Case of the Disappearing Intentional Object: Constraints on a Definition of Emotion.Julien A. Deonna & Klaus R. Scherer - 2010 - Emotion Review 2 (1):44-52.
    Taking our lead from Solomon’s emphasis on the importance of the intentional object of emotion, we review the history of repeated attempts to make this object disappear. We adduce evidence suggesting that in the case of James and Schachter, the intentional object got lost unintentionally. By contrast, modern constructivists seem quite determined to deny the centrality of the intentional object in accounting for the occurrence of emotions. Griffiths, however, downplays the role objects have in emotion noting that these do not (...)
  48. 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? (...)
  49. Qu’Est-Ce Qu’Une Émotion?Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2008 - Vrin.
    Cet ouvrage répond à la question « Qu’est-ce qu’une émotion? » à la lumière des débats les plus contemporains en philosophie des émotions tout en s’appuyant sur les recherches empiriques les plus récentes au sujet de l’affect. Une fois exposée la manière dont les émotions se distinguent d’autres phénomènes affectifs tels que les humeurs, les sentiments et les dispositions affectives, l’étude propose une élucidation originale du problème majeur auquel fait face aujourd’hui la philosophie des émotions : comment comprendre la spécificité (...)
  50. 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 (...)
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