Les mauvaises émotions

In Fabrice Teroni, Christine Tappolet & Anita Konzelman Ziv (eds.), Les Ombres de l'âme. Penser les émotions négatives. pp. 37-51 (2011)

Christine Tappolet
Université de Montréal
Emotions have long been accused of all sorts of mischief. In recent years, however, many have argued that far from constituting an obstacle to reason and morality, emotions possess important virtues. According to a plausible conception, emotions would have a crucial cognitive function: they would consist in the perceptual experience of evaluative properties. To fear a dog, for instance, would consist in having the perceptual experience of the dog as fearsome. There has been and still is a lively debate about the plausibility of such a conception. A consideration that has been neglected, however, is that certain kinds of emotions, such as hatred, spite, envy or jealousy, appear to be less plausible candidates for such a revalorisation. What such nasty emotions make clear is that by contrast with seems true of sensory perceptions, emotions can be assessed in evaluative terms. This makes for an asymmetry between emotions and sensory perceptions, which threatens the argument by analogy that supports the claim that emotions are a kind of perceptual experiences. In this paper, I plan to account for this asymmetry within the general framework of the perceptual theory of emotions.
Keywords Nasty emotions  Negative emotions  The perceptual theory of emotions
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