Emotions as Pleasure/Pain Responses to Evaluative Judgments: A Modern, Aristotelian View

Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University (1999)

Theories of emotion are typically classified according to which of four elements of emotion the theory considers to be essential: inner feeling or affect; evaluative cognition; bodily changes; and action-tendency. This dissertation argues for a "comprehensive" theory, i.e., a theory that recognizes all four elements to be essential. ;It extends Aristotle's comprehensive theory and his view of the role of emotions in practical thought and in action by arguing that emotions are a certain type of Aristotelian pleasure/pain. If pleasure/pain is a concomitant of unimpeded/impeded activity involving cognition, emotions are impeded/unimpeded activities involving not just sense-perception but evaluative thought, i.e., thought towards pursuing goals. For example, fear is a pain-response to the implicit thought that "something is about to harm me and I don't know if I can prevent it." This thought is an impeded activity, namely the activity of mentally managing the pursuit of one's life-projects. And its concomitant is fear-pain: a feeling and an action-tendency to attend to and stop this activity of being confronted with a threat. ;This view yields the following results: How are mental and bodily factors united in emotions? Brain-based thought processes trigger the physiological pleasure/pain process, which has mental aspects to it. How does thought shape future emotions? Each time a person goes through a thought process leading her to act, she reshapes in at least a small way her future emotions. How does emotion contribute to rational thought? Factoring out the thought errors that emotions may contain, emotions push us to pursue unimpeded life-activities and to avoid impeded ones, in the same way that physical pleasure and pain do, except that emotions give us information not about merely bodily needs, but about the needs of consciousness. What explains psychological conflict? Conflicts are not of reason vs. emotion, rather of thoughts/emotions of a conscious context vs. thoughts/emotions of a repressed context
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 48,902
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aristotle on the Intentional Nature of Emotions.Péter Lautner - 2012 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):221-237.
In What Sense Are Emotions Evaluations?Fabrice Teroni & Julien A. Deonna - 2014 - In Cain Todd & Sabine Roeser (eds.), Emotion and Value. Oxford University Press. pp. 15-31.
The Nature of Emotions: Comments on Martha Nussbaum's Upheavals of Thought.Joe Lau - 2007 - In Martha Craven Nussbaum, Joseph Chan, Jiwei Ci & Joe Lau (eds.), The Ethics and Politics of Compassion and Capabilities. Hong Kong: Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong.
The Unity of Emotion: An Unlikely Aristotelian Solution.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2007 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 28 (2):101-114.
From Emotions to Desires.Stéphane Lemaire - 2002 - European Review of Philosophy 5:109-136.
Emotions, Values, and the Law.John Deigh - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
Are Emotions Feelings?Jesse J. Prinz - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (8-10):9-25.
Felt Evaluations: A Theory of Pleasure and Pain.Bennett W. Helm - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1):13-30.
Emotions: A Philosophical Study.Dana Robert Flint - 1981 - Dissertation, Temple University
Emotions: An Aristotelian Solution.Maria Magoula Adamos - 2000 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes

Sign in to use this feature