Emotion: More like Action than Perception

Erkenntnis 87 (6):2715-2744 (2020)
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Although some still advance reductive accounts of emotions—according to which they fall under a more familiar type of mental state—contemporary philosophers tend to agree that emotions probably constitute their own kind of mental state. Agreeing with this claim, however, is compatible with attempting to find commonalities between emotions and better understood things. According to the advocates of the so-called ‘perceptual analogy’, thinking of emotion in terms of perception can fruitfully advance our understanding even though emotion may not be reducible to ordinary perception. In this paper, I spell out and motivate a different analogy—that between emotion and action—an analogy which I think can do some important theoretical work. In particular, it constitutes a theoretically fruitful way to think about core aspects of emotions and might in fact be employed to provide a better account of certain aspects of emotions than the one based on the perceptual analogy. Emotions might not be a matter of seeing the world a certain way, but a matter of behaving internally in response to it. In a slogan form: Emotion is the inward counterpart of bodily movement.



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Hichem Naar
University of Duisburg-Essen

Citations of this work

The fittingness of emotions.Hichem Naar - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13601-13619.
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Intention, plans, and practical reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Emotions.Nico H. Frijda - 1986 - Cambridge University Press.
The emotions: a philosophical introduction.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2012 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Fabrice Teroni.
The Emotions: A Philosophical Exploration.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Perceiving: A Philosophical Study.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1957 - Ithaca,: Cornell University Press.

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