Emotional Experience: Affective Consciousness and its Role in Emotion Theory

In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. New York, USA: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

Fabrice Teroni
Université de Neuchâtel
This paper explores substantive accounts of emotional phenomenology so as to see whether it sheds light on key features of emotions. To this end, we focus on four features that can be introduced by way of an example. Say Sam is angry at Maria’s nasty remark. The first feature relates to the fact that anger is a negative emotion, by contrast with positive emotions such as joy and admiration (valence). The second feature is how anger differs from other emotions such as sadness, fear and joy (individuation). The third concerns the objects of anger and the sense in which anger discloses the significance of Maria’s remark to Sam (intentionality). Finally, there is anger’s relation to behaviour (motivation). Does focussing on emotional phenomenology encourage specific accounts of these features? We shall see that there are reasons to think it does. Still, are these reasons of sufficient import to dispel the scepticism of those who think that nothing of consequence plays out at the personal level of emotional experience? Given the role of emotional experience in our evaluative practices, we shall conclude that they are. Our discussion is structured as follows: section 1 focuses on feeling approaches to phenomenology, section 2 on componential approaches, section 3 on perceptual approaches and section 4 on attitudinal approaches. Section 5 concludes with some observations regarding the significance of emotional phenomenology.
Keywords Emotion  Consciousness  Experience
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