Can Emotions Have Abstract Objects? The Example of Awe

Philosophia 46 (3):733-746 (2018)

Authors
Rachel Fredericks
Ball State University
Abstract
Can we feel emotions about abstract objects, assuming that abstract objects exist? I argue that at least some emotions can have abstract objects as their intentional objects and discuss why this conclusion is not just trivially true. Through critical engagement with the work of Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, I devote special attention to awe, an emotion that is particularly well suited to show that some emotions can be about either concrete or abstract objects. In responding to a possible objection, according to which we can only feel emotions about things that we take to matter to our flourishing, and thus cannot feel emotions about causally inefficacious abstract objects, I explore how abstract objects can be relevant to human flourishing and discuss someemotions other than awe that can be about abstract objects. I finish by explaining somereasons why my conclusion matters, including the fact that it presents a challenge to perceptual theories of emotion and causal theories of intentionality.
Keywords emotions  awe  abstract objects  perceptual theories of emotion
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Reprint years 2017, 2018
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-017-9814-3
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References found in this work BETA

Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):458-464.
Upheavals of Thought. The Intelligence of Emotions.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2003 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 65 (1):174-175.
How We Hope: A Moral Psychology.Adrienne Martin - 2014 - Princeton University Press.
Emotions and Formal Objects.Fabrice Teroni - 2007 - Dialectica 61 (3):395-415.

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