Emotions as Metarepresentational States of Mind: Naturalizing the Belief-Desire Theory of Emotion.


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Abstract
Describes the outlines of a computational explication of the belief–desire theory of emotion, a variant of cognitive emotion theory. According to the proposed explication, a core subset of emotions including surprise are nonconceptual products of hardwired mechanisms whose primary function is to subserve the monitoring and updating of the central representational system of humans, the belief–desire system. The posited emotion-producing mechanisms are analogous to sensory transducers; however, instead of sensing the world, they sense the state of the belief–desire system and signal important changes in this system, in particular the fulfillment and frustration of desires and the confirmation and disconfirmation of beliefs. Because emotions represent this information about the state of the representational system in a nonconceptual format, emotions are nonconceptual metarepresentations. It is argued that this theory of emotions provides for a deepened understanding of the role of emotions in cognitive systems and solves several problems of psychological emotion theory.
Keywords emotion  metarepresentation  belief-desire theory of emotion  feeling theory  cognitive emotion theory
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