Philosophia 45 (4):1497-1513 (2017)

Francisco Gallegos
Wake Forest University
Being in a mood—such as an anxious, irritable, depressed, tranquil, or cheerful mood—tends to alter the way we react emotionally to the particular objects we encounter. But how, exactly, do moods alter the way we experience particular objects? Perceptualism, a popular approach to understanding affective experiences, holds that moods function like "colored lenses," altering the way we perceive the evaluative properties of the objects we encounter. In this essay, I offer a phenomenological analysis of the experience of being in a mood that illustrates the limitations of the colored lens metaphor and demonstrates the basic inadequacy of the perceptualist account of moods. I argue that when we are in a mood, it is common to experience a kind of "emotional disconnection" in which we perceive evaluative properties that would normally elicit strong emotional reactions from us, but nonetheless we find that, in our present mood, we remain emotionally numb to these perceptions. Such experiences of "seeing but not feeling" are difficult to understand from within the perceptualist paradigm. Building on the work of Martin Heidegger, I sketch an alternative, phenomenological analysis of moods that can better account for experiences of emotional disconnection. On this alternative account, being in a mood does not merely alter the content of our perceptions but, rather, alters the way we interpret the overall significance of what we perceive, relative to a certain situational context.
Keywords Moods  Phenomenology  Perceptualism  Evaluative perception  Dissociation  Heidegger
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-017-9820-5
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.

View all 68 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A perceptual theory of moods.Mauro Rossi - 2021 - Synthese 198 (8):7119-7147.
Emotional Depth, Ambivalence, and Affective Propulsion.Francisco Gallegos - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy of Emotion 3 (2):35-43.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Toward a Phenomenology of Mood.Lauren Freeman - 2014 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):445-476.
How is a Phenomenology of Fundamental Moods Possible?Tanja Staehler - 2007 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 15 (3):415 – 433.
Music Feels Like Moods Feel.Kris Goffin - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:327.
Towards a Computational Theory of Mood.Laura Sizer - 2000 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (4):743-770.
Affect Without Object: Moods and Objectless Emotions.Carolyn Price - 2006 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2 (1):49-68.
A Theory of Moods and Their Place in Our Science of Mind.Laura Patricia Sizer - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Intentionalism About Moods.Angela Mendelovici - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):126-136.


Added to PP index

Total views
499 ( #18,394 of 2,520,355 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
47 ( #17,888 of 2,520,355 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes