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

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
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,262
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

Meaning and Emotion.Constant Bonard - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Genève
Emotion.Ronald de Sousa - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Anger and Its Cousins.Maria Miceli & Cristiano Castelfranchi - 2019 - Emotion Review 11 (1):13-26.

View all 11 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Feeling Theory of Emotion and the Object-Directed Emotions.Demian Whiting - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):281-303.
Explaining Expressions of Emotion.Peter Goldie - 2000 - Mind 109 (433):25-38.
Explaining Action by Emotion.Sabine A. Döring - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (211):214-230.
Emotion Explained.Edmund T. Rolls - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Emotions: Investigations in Cognitive Philosophy.Robert Morris Gordon - 1987 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Is Reward an Emotion?Ralph Adolphs - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):192-192.
A Theory of Emotion.Joel Marks - 1982 - Philosophical Studies 42 (1):227-242.


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