Philosophical Psychology 22 (2):167 – 186 (2009)

Larry A. Herzberg
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Appraisal theories of emotion generally presuppose that emotions are “directed at” various items. They also hold that emotions have motivational properties. However, although it coheres well with their views, they have yet to seriously develop the idea that the function of emotional direction is to guide those properties. I argue that this “guidance hypothesis” can open up a promising new field of research in emotion theory. But I also argue that before appraisal theorists can take full advantage of it, they must drop their further assumption that to determine an emotion's direction, one need only retrace the process that caused it. Contrary to this “retracing view,” I argue for an “independence thesis”: directed emotions are produced by two functionally independent sub-processes. The first, “affect-causation,” functions in part to produce a state with certain motivational properties given certain representations. The second, “affect-direction,” has the function of optimally guiding those motivational properties by associating them with representations that may properly be quite dissimilar from the causal ones. By provisionally adopting the independence thesis and empirically testing the guidance hypothesis, I argue that appraisal theorists stand a good chance of significantly increasing the explanatory power of their theories.
Keywords Emotion  Appraisal  Causation  Direction  Lazarus  Prinz
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080902802777
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,107
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

The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

View all 27 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

On Sexual Lust as an Emotion.Larry A. Herzberg - 2019 - Humana Mente 35 (12):271-302.
Constitutivism, Belief, and Emotion.Larry A. Herzberg - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (4):455-482.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Emotion and Action.Jing Zhu & Paul Thagard - 2002 - Philosophical Psychology 15 (1):19 – 36.
Emotion Experience and its Varieties.Nico H. Frijda - 2009 - Emotion Review 1 (3):264-271.
Enactive Appraisal.Giovanna Colombetti - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):527-546.
Appraisal Theories of Emotions.Aaron Ben-ze’ev - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22 (April):129-143.
Toward a "Machiavellian" Theory of Emotional Appraisal.Paul E. Griffiths - 2002 - In Dylan Evans & Pierre Cruse (eds.), Emotion, Evolution, and Rationality. Oxford University Press.
The Causal Status of Emotions in Consciousness.Jason T. Ramsay & Marc D. Lewis - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):215-216.


Added to PP index

Total views
57 ( #188,730 of 2,454,680 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #303,745 of 2,454,680 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes