The emotions are at the centre of our lives and, for better or worse, imbue them with much of their significance. The philosophical problems stirred up by the existence of the emotions, over which many great philosophers of the past have laboured, revolve around attempts to understand what this significance amounts to. Are emotions feelings, thoughts, or experiences? If they are experiences, what are they experiences of? Are emotions rational? In what sense do emotions give meaning to what surrounds us? (...) -/- The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction introduces and explores these questions in a clear and accessible way. The authors discuss the following key topics: -/- the diversity and unity of the emotions the relations between emotion, belief and desire the nature of values the relations between emotions and perceptions emotions viewed as evaluative attitudes the link between emotions and evaluative knowledge the nature of moods, sentiments, and character traits. -/- Including chapter summaries and guides to further reading, The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction is an ideal starting point for any philosopher or student studying the emotions. It will also be of interest to those in related disciplines such as psychology and the social sciences. (shrink)
Life, on a day to day basis, is a sequence of emotional states: hope, disappointment, irritation, anger, affection, envy, pride, embarrassment, joy, sadness and many more. We know intuitively that these states express deep things about our character and our view of the world. But what are emotions and why are they so important to us? In one of the most extensive investigations of the emotions ever published, Robert Roberts develops a novel conception of what emotions are and then applies (...) it to a large range of types of emotion and related phenomena. In so doing he lays the foundations for a deeper understanding of our evaluative judgments, our actions, our personal relationships and our fundamental well-being. Aimed principally at philosophers and psychologists, this book will certainly be accessible to readers in other disciplines such as religion and anthropology. (shrink)
Until recently, philosophers and psychologists conceived of emotions as brain- and body-bound affairs. But researchers have started to challenge this internalist and individualist orthodoxy. A rapidly growing body of work suggests that some emotions incorporate external resources and thus extend beyond the neurophysiological confines of organisms; some even argue that emotions can be socially extended and shared by multiple agents. Call this the extended emotions thesis. In this article, we consider different ways of understanding ExE in philosophy, psychology, and the (...) cognitive sciences. First, we outline the background of the debate and discuss different argumentative strategies for ExE. In particular, we distinguish ExE from cognate but more moderate claims about the embodied and situated nature of cognition and emotion. We then dwell upon two dimensions of ExE: emotions extended by material culture and by the social factors. We conclude by defending ExE against some objections and point to desiderata for future research. (shrink)
In “The Child’s Relations with Others,” Merleau-Ponty argues that certain early experiences are jointly owned in that they are numerically single experiences that are nevertheless given to more than one subject (e.g., the infant and caregiver). Call this the “joint ownership thesis” (JT). Drawing upon both Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological analysis, as well as studies of exogenous attention and mutual affect regulation in developmental psychology, I motivate the plausibility of JT. I argue that the phenomenological structure of some early infant–caregiver dyadic exchanges (...) is best described as involving joint subjects. From birth, some experiences are constitutively social in that certain phenomenal states, such as the positive emotions that arise within these early exchanges, are jointly owned. Along the way, I consider a possible objection. I conclude by considering the explanatory significance of adopting JT. (shrink)
Is it not surprising that we look with so much pleasure and emotion at works of art that were made thousands of years ago? Works depicting people we do not know, people whose backgrounds are usually a mystery to us, who lived in a very different society and time and who, moreover, have been ‘frozen’ by the artist in a very deliberate pose. It was the Classical Greek philosopher Aristotle who observed in his Poetics that people could apparently be moved (...) even by the imitation of a person or an act. And although we are usually well aware that it is a simulacrum, not a real situation, it nevertheless sometimes seems as if we ourselves are standing there on the stage or in the painting, so intense and emotional is our response, even though we are just spectators. Aristotle concludes from this that we have intellectual capacities which allow us put ourselves in another’s place and consequently to react to simulated situations as though they are actually happening to us, here and now. In this process, he contends, observation, memory, imagination and emotions are crucial elements. In the past it was not customary to invoke human mental faculties to explain our response to works of art. The Ancient Greeks, after all, knew little about the human body or brain and usually referred to the extended world of the gods in their endeavours to comprehend the ‘inner world’ of human beings. In our time the situation is completely different—such an allusion to the brain no longer surprises us. Whether it is about the mystery of the consciousness, the question of free will or accounts of bizarre psychological aberrations or disorders, we have become accustomed to references to parts of the brain, to images of brain scans, to reports about neural networks and the like. However, because there are so many factors that play a part in our appreciation of works of art we need a complex explanation for it, and it is not enough to look only at certain properties of the brain that are determined by evolution. Those properties are shared by every human being, and so are rather useless in explaining people’s different reactions to the same work of art. Evidently the brains of individuals differ so much that they make it possible for people to respond differently to one and the same artwork. This, of course, raises questions concerning the painted emotions that can be seen in this exhibition. Virtually everyone, after all, is fascinated by such paintings and usually recognizes the emotions they represent. The reactions to these painted emotions are also often similar. This is probably why artworks like this are generally highly valued, then and now, here and elsewhere: from the enigmatically smiling Egyptian Queen Nefertiti and the startled Rembrandt to a seemingly despairing African mask. Aristotle observed that in the theatre players imitate actions that are associated with emotions in a number of ways and that these emotions are shared in a particular fashion by the playwright, the actors and the audience. The audience may even be carried away by these emotions to such an extent that they are in a sense purged of them and can subsequently leave the theatre relieved. Are such emotional reactions perhaps related to the fact that emotions are universal and that brains respond similarly to them? Is this why we can so readily identify painted emotions? May we therefore also assume that the properties of the brain determined by evolution help us to explain these emotions? In answering these questions we shall discuss a number of insights into emotions in psychology and brain science and explore some theories about the possible function of emotions and their expression. (shrink)
Analyzing the ancient Greek point of view concerning anger, shame and justice and a very modern one, one can see, that anger has a regulative function, but shame does as well. Anger puts the other in his place, thereby regulating hierarchies. Shame regulates the social relations of recognition. And both emotions also have an evaluative function, because anger evaluates a situation with regard to a humiliation; shame, with regard to a misdemeanor. In addition, attention has to be paid to the (...) correct molding of these emotions and the correct ways of using them in rearing to be good or just (i.e., in personality formation. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Moods and emotions are sometimes thought to be counterexamples to intentionalism, the view that a mental state's phenomenal features are exhausted by its representational features. The problem is that moods and emotions are accompanied by phenomenal experiences that do not seem to be adequately accounted for by any of their plausibly represented contents. This paper develops and defends an intentionalist view of the phenomenal character of moods and emotions on which emotions and some moods represent intentional objects as having sui (...) generis affective properties, which happen to be uninstantiated, and at least some moods represent affective properties not bound to any objects. (shrink)
This article discusses the importance of metaemotions (emotions about emotions), showing their undeniable existence and how they are a critical and essential part of emotion life. The article begins by placing reflexivity of emotions within the general reflexivity of human beings. Then, the article presents the literature on metaemotion, showing some of the problems that surround them, which ultimately will lead to ask if the concept of metaemotion is really necessary. The second part of the article argues for the usefulness (...) of the concept, pointing out its role in establishing distinctions among emotional states as well as further clarifying the nature of emotion, and concludes on pointing out some of the directions for future research on metaemotions. (shrink)
This 1996 book is the result of a uniquely productive union of philosophy, psychoanalysis and anthropology, and explores the complexity and importance of emotions. Michael Stocker places emotions at the very centre of human identity, life and value. He lays bare how our culture's idealisation of rationality pervades the philosophical tradition and leads those who wrestle with serious ethical and philosophical problems into distortion and misunderstanding. Professor Stocker shows how important are the social and emotional contexts of ethical dilemmas and (...) inner conflicts, and he challenges philosophical theories that try to overgeneralise and over-simplify by leaving out the particulars of each situation. In offering a realistic account of emotions and an in-depth analysis of how psychological factors affect judgments of all kind, this book will interest a broad range of readers across the disciplines of philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
This discussion of pride, shame, and guilt centers on the beliefs involved in the experience of any of these emotions. Through a detailed study, the author demonstrates how these beliefs are alike--in that they are all directed towards the self--and how they differ. The experience of these three emotions are illustrated by examples taken from English literature. These concrete cases supply a context for study and indicate the complexity of the situations in which these emotions usually occur.
I investigate the normative status of an unexamined category of emotions: ‘lyrical’ emotions about the transience of things. Lyrical emotions are often accused of sentimentality—a charge that expresses the idea that they are unfitting responses to their objects. However, when we test the merits of that charge using the standard model of emotion evaluation, a surprising problem emerges: it turns out that we cannot make normative distinctions between episodes of such feelings. Instead, it seems that lyrical emotions are always fitting. (...) Although this claim is counterintuitive, the price of denying it is to hold that such emotions are never fitting—an equally strange result. If this is correct, then the commonplace discourse of sentimentality surrounding lyrical emotions lacks normative moorings. (shrink)
I offer a preliminary defense of the hypothesis of extended emotions (HEE). After discussing some taxonomic considerations, I specify two ways of parsing HEE: the hypothesis of bodily extended emotions (HEBE), and the hypothesis of environmentally extended emotions (HEEE). I argue that, while both HEBE and HEEE are empirically plausible, only HEEE covers instances of genuinely extended emotions. After introducing some further distinctions, I support one form of HEEE by appealing to different streams of empirical research—particularly work on music and (...) emotion regulation. However, I register skepticism about a second and more radical form of HEEE. (shrink)
Philosophers since Aristotle have explored emotion, and the study of emotion has always been essential to the love of wisdom. In recent years Anglo-American philosophers have rediscovered and placed new emphasis on this very old discipline. The view that emotions are ripe for philosophical analysis has been supported by a considerable number of excellent publications. In this volume, Robert Solomon brings together some of the best Anglo-American philosophers now writing on the philosophy of emotion, with chapters from philosophers who have (...) distinguished themselves in the field of emotion research and have interdisciplinary interests, particularly in the social and biological sciences. The reader will find a lively variety of positions on topics such as the nature of emotion, the category of "emotion," the rationality of emotions, the relationship between an emotion and its expression, the relationship between emotion, motivation, and action, the biological nature versus social construction of emotion, the role of the body in emotion, the extent of freedom and our control of emotions, the relationship between emotion and value, and the very nature and warrant of theories of emotion. In addition, this book acknowledges that it is impossible to study the emotions today without engaging with contemporary psychology and the neurosciences, and moreover engages them with zeal. Thus the essays included here should appeal to a broad spectrum of emotion researchers in the various theoretical, experimental, and clinical branches of psychology, in addition to theorists in philosophy, philosophical psychology, moral psychology, and cognitive science, the social sciences, and literary theory. (shrink)
This essay provides an analysis of the role of affectivity in Martin Heidegger's writings from the mid to late 1920s. We begin by situating his account of mood within the context of his project of fundamental ontology in Being and Time. We then discuss the role of Befindlichkeit and Stimmung in his account of human existence, explicate the relationship between the former and the latter, and consider the ways in which the former discloses the world. To give a more vivid (...) and comprehensive picture of Heidegger's account of mood, we focus on the experience of anxiety by articulating both its function within fundamental ontology and, relatedly, its revelatory nature. We conclude by considering the place of emotions in Heidegger's thinking from this period. In a companion essay, ‘Affectivity in Heidegger II: Temporality, Boredom, and Beyond’, we complement our present analysis by revisiting the issue of affectivity in terms of Heidegger's discussion of temporality in Division II of Being and Time. We also expand our present discussion by considering the fundamental mood of boredom and other specific moods that Heidegger considers within his later thinking. (shrink)
In this paper, I present and explore some ideas about how factive emotional states and factive perceptual states each relate to knowledge and reasons. This discussion will shed light on the so-called ‘perceptual model’ of the emotions.
What does it mean to say that an emotion can be shared? I consider this question, focusing on the relation between the phenomenology of emotion experience and self-regulation. I explore the idea that a numerically single emotion can be given to more than one subject. I term this a “collective emotion”. First, I consider different forms of emotion regulation. I distinguish between embodied forms of self-regulation, which use subject-centered features of our embodiment, and distributed forms of self-regulation, which incorporate resources (...) beyond the subject. Next, I focus on the latter. After discussing the possibility of musically distributed emotion regulation, I consider interpersonally distributed emotion regulation. I then examine Max Scheler’s (1954) phenomenological characterization of the shared grief experienced by the parents of a recently-deceased child. Drawing on the notion of interpersonally distributed emotion regulation, I argue that, with some further clarifications, Scheler’s example gives us a plausible example of a collective emotion. I conclude by briefly indicating why the notion of collective emotions may be of broader interest to debates in both philosophy of mind and emotion science. (shrink)
The two central emotions of pride and jealousy have long been held to have no role in moral judgements, and have been a source of controversy in both ethics and moral psychology. Kristjan Kristjansson challenges this common view and argues that emotions are central to moral excellence and that both pride and jealousy are indeed ingredients of a well-rounded virtuous life.
A recalcitrant emotion is one which conflicts with evaluative judgement. (A standard example is where someone is afraid of flying despite believing that it poses little or no danger.) The phenomenon of emotional recalcitrance raises an important problem for theories of emotion, namely to explain the sense in which recalcitrant emotions involve rational conflict. In this paper I argue that existing ‘neojudgementalist’ accounts of emotions fail to provide plausible explanations of the irrationality of recalcitrant emotions, and develop and defend my (...) own neojudgementalist account. On my view, recalcitrant emotions are irrational insofar as they incline the subject to accept an evaluative construal that the subject has already rejected. (shrink)
Recently, an increasing body of work from sociology, social psychology, and social ontology has been devoted to collective emotions. Rather curiously, however, pressing epistemological and especially normative issues have received almost no attention. In particular, there has been a strange silence on whether one can share emotions with individuals or groups who are not aware of such sharing, or how one may identify this, and eventually identify specific norms of emotional sharing. In this paper, I shall address this set of (...) issues head-on. I will do so by drawing on one of the most elaborate, but rather neglected phenomenological accounts of sociality, namely Edith Stein’s work on communal experiences and her theory of empathy. I wish to show that a suitably amended Steinian account affords us with an intriguing alternative to both phenomenalist and normativist construals of collective emotions. Moreover, I shall argue that it provides a more fine-grained account of the different types of emotional sharing than standard accounts, ranging from face-to-face, or shared, to more robust but less direct, or collective, emotions. Finally, I will propose a tentative answer to the above questions by pointing to non-dyadic or collective forms of empathy. (shrink)
Emotions shape the landscape of our mental and social lives. Like geological upheavals in a landscape, they mark our lives as uneven, uncertain and prone to reversal. Are they simply, as some have claimed, animal energies or impulses with no connection to our thoughts? Or are they rather suffused with intelligence and discernment, and thus a source of deep awareness and understanding? In this compelling book, Martha C. Nussbaum presents a powerful argument for treating emotions not as alien forces but (...) as highly discriminating responses to what is of value and importance. She explores and illuminates the structure of a wide range of emotions, in particular compassion and love, showing that there can be no adequate ethical theory without an adequate theory of the emotions. This involves understanding their cultural sources, their history in infancy and childhood, and their sometimes unpredictable and disorderly operations in our daily lives. (shrink)
Elaborating on the notions that humans possess different modalities of decision-making and that these are often influenced by moral considerations, we conducted an experimental investigation of the Trolley Problem. We presented the participants with two standard scenarios (‹lever’ and ‹stranger’) either in the usual or in reversed order. We observe that responses to the lever scenario, which result from (moral) reasoning, are affected by our manipulation; whereas responses to the stranger scenario, triggered by moral emotions, are unaffected. Furthermore, when asked (...) to express general moral opinions on the themes of the Trolley Problem, about half of the participants reveal some inconsistency with the responses they had previously given. (shrink)
This paper explores the phenomenon of meta-emotions. Meta-emotions are emotions people have about their own emotions. We analyze the intentional structure of meta-emotions and show how psychological findings support our account. Acknowledgement of meta-emotions can elucidate a number of important issues in the philosophy of mind and, more specifically, the philosophy and psychology of emotions. Among them are (allegedly) ambivalent or paradoxical emotions, emotional communication, emotional self-regulation, privileged access failure for repressed emotions, and survivor guilt.
In this paper, we draw on developmental findings to provide a nuanced understanding of background emotions, particularly those in depression. We demonstrate how they reflect our basic proximity (feeling of interpersonal connectedness) to others and defend both a phenomenological and a functional claim. First, we substantiate a conjecture by Fonagy & Target (International Journal of Psychoanalysis 88(4):917–937, 2007) that an important phenomenological aspect of depression is the experiential recreation of the infantile loss of proximity to significant others. Second, we argue (...) that proximity has a particular cognitive function that allows individuals to morph into a cohesive dyadic system able to carry out distributed emotion regulation. We show that elevated levels of psychological suffering connected to depressive background emotions may be explained not only in terms of a psychological loss, but also as the felt inability to enter into dyadic regulatory relations with others—an experiential constraint that decreases the individual’s ability to adapt to demanding situations. (shrink)
This paper explores the relationship of various trait emotions to the ethical choices of 189 college students who completed a managerial decision-making task as part of an in-basket exercise in a laboratory setting. Prior research regarding emotion influences on ethical decision-making and linkages between emotions and cognition informed hypotheses about how different types of emotions impact ethical choices. Findings supported our expectations that positive and negative emotions classified as active would be more strongly related to interpersonally-directed ethical choices than to (...) organizationally-directed ones, and that passive emotions would be less related to ethical choices than active emotions. Implications for ethical decision-making research and organizational practices are discussed. (shrink)
Research on the phenomenology of agency for joint action has so far focused on the sense of agency and control in joint action, leaving aside questions on how it feels to act together. This paper tries to fill this gap in a way consistent with the existing theories of joint action and shared emotion. We first reconstruct Pacherie’s account on the phenomenology of agency for joint action, pointing out its two problems, namely the necessary trade-off between the sense of self- (...) and we-agency; and the lack of affective phenomenology of joint action in general. After elaborating on these criticisms based on our theory of shared emotion, we substantiate the second criticism by discussing different mechanisms of shared affect—feelings and emotions—that are present in typical joint actions. We show that our account improves on Pacherie’s, first by introducing our agentive model of we-agency to overcome her unnecessary dichotomy between a sense of self- and we-agency, and then by suggesting that the mechanisms of shared affect enhance not only the predictability of other agents’ actions as Pacherie highlights, but also an agentive sense of we-agency that emerges from shared emotions experienced in the course and consequence of joint action. (shrink)
Can we build ‘moral robots’? If morality depends on emotions, the answer seems negative. Current robots do not meet standard necessary conditions for having emotions: they lack consciousness, mental states, and feelings. Moreover, it is not even clear how we might ever establish whether robots satisfy these conditions. Thus, at most, robots could be programmed to follow rules, but it would seem that such ‘psychopathic’ robots would be dangerous since they would lack full moral agency. However, I will argue that (...) in the future we might nevertheless be able to build quasi-moral robots that can learn to create the appearance of emotions and the appearance of being fully moral. I will also argue that this way of drawing robots into our social-moral world is less problematic than it might first seem, since human morality also relies on such appearances. (shrink)
The essay operates an itemisation of the three main streams in the history of emotions: the history of individual emotions, the study of the role that emotions have in historical processes, and the reflection on the influence of emotions on history writing. The second part of the article is devoted to the methodological and theoretical status of the study of past emotions. It highlights how many studies in the history of emotions remain heavily conditioned by an idea of culture typical (...) of Western philosophy of history. (shrink)
Not Passion's Slave is a collection of Solomon's most significant essay-length publications on the nature of emotions over the past twenty-five years. He develops two essential themes throughout the volume: firstly, he presents a "cognitive" theory of emotions in which emotions are construed primarily as evaluative judgments; secondly, he proposes an "existentialist" perspective in which he defends the idea that we are responsible for our emotions and, in a limited sense, "choose" them. The final section presents his current philosophical position (...) on the seeming "passivity" of the passions. Ultimately, Solomon advocates the idea that we have control over, and are essentially responsible for, the emotional and existential quality of our lives. (shrink)
Philosophers of mind and epistemologists are increasingly making room in their theories for epistemic emotions (E-emotions) and, drawing on metacognition research in psychology, epistemic – or noetic or metacognitive – feelings (E-feelings). Since philoso- phers have only recently begun to draw on empirical research on E-feelings, in particular, we begin by providing a general characterization of E-feelings (section 1) and reviewing some highlights of relevant research (section 2). We then turn to philosophical work on E-feelings and E-emotions, situating the contributions (...) to the focus section (two articles devoted to E-feelings and two devoted to E-emotions) with respect to both the existing literature and each other (section 3). We conclude by brie y describing some promising avenues for further philosophical research on E-feelings and E-emotions (section 4). (shrink)
In clinical moral decision making, emotions often play an important role. However, many clinical ethicists are ignorant, suspicious or even critical of the role of emotions in making moral decisions and in reflecting on them. This raises practical and theoretical questions about the understanding and use of emotions in clinical ethics support services. This paper presents an Aristotelian view on emotions and describes its application in the practice of moral case deliberation.According to Aristotle, emotions are an original and integral part (...) of (virtue) ethics. Emotions are an inherent part of our moral reasoning and being, and therefore they should be an inherent part of any moral deliberation. Based on Aristotle's view, we examine five specific aspects of emotions: the description of emotions, the attitude towards emotions, the thoughts present in emotions, the reliability of emotions, and the reasonable principle that guides an emotion. We then discuss three ways of dealing with emotions in the process of moral case deliberation. Finally, we present an Aristotelian conversation method, and present practical experiences using this method. (shrink)
This paper addresses the coconstruction of identities and emotions through the human/animal relationship, arguing that nonhuman animals can and do act as coagents in interspecies encounters. The paper narrates the extraordinary boundary-transgressing experiences of a particular kind of cogency labeled “huminality” . An autoethnographic account of pet-visitation involving a woman, a West Highland white terrier named Fergus, and geriatric residents demonstrates the power of huminality to authorize the emergence and realization of different identities and selves. Examples include the intimate friend, (...) the dignified self, the institutional resister, the gift-giver, and the available self. Huminality, in the emotional spacetime of the hospital, is rooted in empathy, concern, and affection. As ontological choreography, huminality takes us past the animal-Nature/human-culture frontier into uncharted territories of spacetime to engage in forms of life with nonhuman others. Encounters with animals, even on a geriatric ward, can transform our universe and our selves. (shrink)
What does it mean for emotion to be well-constituted? What distinguishes good feeling from (just) feeling good? Is there such a distinction at all? The answer to these questions becomes clearer if we realize that for an emotion to be all it seems, it must be responsible as well as responsive to what it is about. It may be that good feeling depends on feeling truly if we are to be really moved, moved in the way that avoids the need (...) for constant, fretful replenishment and reinforcement. To be sound, emotions may need to be capable of genuineness, depth, and other kinds of integrity. And that, in turn, may require certain virtues of mind, such as truthfulness, temperateness, and even courage, that are more familiar at the level of action. The governing aim of this book is to demonstrate that there can be problems of a structural kind with the adequacy of emotions and the emotional life. (shrink)
Emotions play an important part in moral life. Within clinical ethics support (CES), one should take into account the crucial role of emotions in moral cases in clinical practice. In this paper, we present an Aristotelian approach to emotions. We argue that CES can help participants deal with emotions by fostering a joint process of investigation of the role of emotions in a case. This investigation goes beyond empathy with and moral judgment of the emotions of the case presenter. In (...) a moral case deliberation, the participants are invited to place themselves in the position of the case presenter and to investigate their own emotions in the situation. It is about critically assessing the facts in the case that cause the emotion and the related (moral) thoughts that accompany the emotion. It is also about finding the right emotion in a given situation and finding the right balance in dealing with that emotion. These steps in the moral inquiry give rise to group learning. It is a process of becoming open towards the perspectives of others, leading to new insights into what is an appropriate emotion in the specific situation. We show how this approach works in moral case deliberation. A physician presents a situation in which he is faced with a pregnant woman who is about to deliver multiple extremely premature infants at the threshold of viability. The moral deliberation of the case and the emotions therein leads to the participants’ conclusion that “compassion” is a more adequate emotion than “sadness”. The emotion “sadness” is pointed towards the tragedy that is happening to the woman. The emotion “compassion” is pointed towards the woman; it combines consideration and professional responsibility. Through the shift towards compassion, participants experienced more creativity and freedom to deal with the sad situation and to support the woman. The paper ends with an analysis and reflection on the deliberation process. In the conclusion we argue for more attention to emotions in clinical ethics support and offer some directions for doing this in the right way. (shrink)
It has long been claimed that moral judgements are dominated by reason. In recent years, however, the tide has turned. Many psychologists and philosophers now hold the view that there is a close empirical association between moral judgements and emotions. In particular, they claim that emotions (1) co-occur with moral judgements, (2) causally influence moral judgements, (3) are causally sufficient for moral judgements, and (4) are causally necessary for moral judgements. At first sight these hypotheses seem well-supported. In this paper (...) I show, however, that appearances are deceiving. If one considers the relevant scientific studies in detail, one finds that in many interpretations the above hypotheses are either not supported or even contradicted by the available evidence. This conclusion is significant both for our understanding of moral judgements qua empirical phenomena and for normative ethics and metaethics. (shrink)
Passion and Action is an exploration of the role of the passions in seventeenth-century thought. Susan James offers fresh readings of a broad range of thinkers, including such canonical figures as Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza, Pascal, and Locke, and shows that a full understanding of their philosophies must take account of their interpretations of our affective life. This ground-breaking study throws new light upon the shaping of our ideas about the mind, knowledge, and action, and provides a historical context for (...) burgeoning current debates about the emotions. (shrink)
Phenomenological approaches to affectivity have long recognized the vital role that emotions occupy in our lives. In this paper, I engage with Jean-Paul Sartre's well-known and highly influential theory of the emotions as it is advanced in his Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions. I examine whether Sartre's account offers two inconsistent explications of the nature of emotions. I argue that despite appearances there is a reading of Sartre's theory that is free of inconsistencies. Ultimately, I highlight a novel (...) reading of Sartre's account of the emotions: one that is both phenomenologically accurate and supported by textual evidence. (shrink)
Philosophical and empirical moral psychologists claim that emotions are both necessary and sufficient for moral judgment. The aim of this paper is to assess the evidence in favor of both claims and to show how a moderate rationalist position about moral judgment can be defended nonetheless. The experimental evidence for both the necessity- and the sufficiency-thesis concerning the connection between emotional reactions and moral judgment is presented. I argue that a rationalist about moral judgment can be happy to accept the (...) necessity-thesis. My argument draws on the idea that emotions play the same role for moral judgment that perceptions play for ordinary judgments about the external world. I develop a rationalist interpretation of the sufficiency-thesis and show that it can successfully account for the available empirical evidence. The general idea is that the rationalist can accept the claim that emotional reactions are sufficient for moral judgment just in case a subject’s emotional reaction towards an action in question causes the judgment in a way that can be reflectively endorsed under conditions of full information and rationality. This idea is spelled out in some detail and it is argued that a moral agent is entitled to her endorsement if the way she arrives at her judgment reliably leads to correct moral beliefs, and that this reliability can be established if the subject’s emotional reaction picks up on the morally relevant aspects of the situation. (shrink)
In recent years, several minimalist accounts of joint action have been offered (e.g. Tollefsen Philosophy of the Social Sciences 35:75–97, 2005; Sebanz et al. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31(6): 234–1246, 2006; Vesper et al. Neural Networks 23 (8/9): 998–1003, 2010), which seek to address some of the shortcomings of classical accounts. Minimalist accounts seek to reduce the cognitive complexity demanded by classical accounts either by leaving out shared intentions or by characterizing them in a way that (...) does not demand common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Moreover, they propose models of the actual factors facilitating online coordination of movements. The present proposal aims to enrich a minimalist framework by showing how shared emotions can facilitate coordination without presupposing common knowledge of complex, interconnected structures of intentions. Shared emotions are defined for the purposes of this paper as affective states that fulfill two minimal criteria: (a) they are expressed (verbally or otherwise) by one person; and (b) the expression is perceived (consciously or unconsciously) by another person. Various ways in which the fulfillment of (a) and (b) can lead to effects that function as coordinating factors in joint action are distinguished and discussed. (shrink)
We must rethink the status of Hume’s science of emotions. Contemporary philosophers typically dismiss Hume’s account on the grounds that he mistakenly identifies emotions with feelings. But the traditional objections to Hume’s feeling theory are not as strong as commonly thought. Hume makes several important contributions, moreover, to our understanding of the operations of the emotions. His claims about the causal antecedents of the indirect passions receive support from studies in appraisal theory, for example, and his suggestions concerning the social (...) dimensions of self-conscious emotions can help guide future research in this field. His dual-component hypothesis concerning the processing of emotions, furthermore, suggests a compromise solution to a recalcitrant debate in cognitive science. Finally, Hume’s proposals concerning the motivational influences of pride, and the conventional nature of emotional display rules, are vindicated by recent work in social psychology. (shrink)
Emotions often misfire. We sometimes fear innocuous things, such as spiders or mice, and we do so even if we firmly believe that they are innocuous. This is true of all of us, and not only of phobics, who can be considered to suffer from extreme manifestations of a common tendency. We also feel too little or even sometimes no fear at all with respect to very fearsome things, and we do so even if we believe that they are fearsome. (...) Indeed, instead of shunning fearsome things, we might be attracted to them. Emotions that seem more thought-involving, such as shame, guilt or jealousy, can also misfire. You can be ashamed of your big ears even though we can agree that there is nothing shameful in having big ears, and even though you judge that having big ears does not warrant shame. And of course, it is also possible to experience too little or even no shame at all with respect to something that is really shameful. Many of these cases involve a conflict between one’s emotion and one’s evaluative judgement. Emotions that are thus conflicting with judgement can be called ‘recalcitrant emotions’. The question I am interested in is whether or not recalcitrant emotions amount to emotional illusions, that is, whether or not these cases are sufficiently similar to perceptual illusions to justify the claim that they fall under the same general heading. The answer to this depends on what emotions are. For instance, the view that emotions are evaluative judgments makes it difficult to make room for the claim that emotional errors are perceptual illusions. Fearing an innocuous spider would simply amount to making the error of judging that the spider is fearsome while it is in fact innocuous. This might involve an illusion of some sort, but it certainly does not amount to anything like a perceptual illusion. In this chapter, I argue that recalcitrant emotions are a kind of perceptual illusion.. (shrink)
There are many psychic mechanisms by which people engage with their selves. We argue that an important yet hitherto neglected one is self-appraisal via meta-emotions. We discuss the intentional structure of meta-emotions and explore the phenomenology of a variety of examples. We then present a pilot study providing preliminary evidence that some facial displays may indicate the presence of meta-emotions. We conclude by arguing that meta-emotions have an important role to play in higher-order theories of psychic harmony.
Sartre’s account of the emotions presupposes a conception of human nature that is never fully articulated. The paper aims to render such conception explicit and to argue that frustration occupies a foundational place in Sartre’s picture of affective existence.
In this paper, I articulate Heidegger’s notion of Befindlichkeit and show that his phenomenological account of affective existence can be understood in terms of contemporary work on emotions. By examining Heidegger’s account alongside contemporary accounts of emotions, I not only demonstrate the ways in which key aspects of the former are present in the latter; I also explicate in detail the ways in which our understanding of Befindlichkeit and its relationship to moods and emotions can benefit from an empirically-informed study (...) of emotions. (shrink)
This paper presents a new approach to the demarcation of social emotions, based on their dependence on social appraisals that are designed to assess events bearing on social concerns. Previous theoretical attempts to characterize social emotions are compared, and their inconsistencies highlighted. Evidence for the present formulation is derived from theory and research into links between appraisals and emotions. Emotions identified as social using our criteria are also shown to bring more consistent consequences for social behavior than nonsocial emotions. We (...) conclude by considering ways of validating and refining our classification. (shrink)
We argue that there are three coherent, nontrivial notions of basic-ness: conceptual basic-ness, biological basic-ness, and psychological basic-ness. There is considerable evidence for conceptually basic emotion categories (e.g., “anger,” “fear”). These categories do not designate biologically basic emotions, but some forms of anger, fear, and so on that are biologically basic in a sense we will specify. Finally, two notions of psychological basic-ness are distinguished, and the evidence for them is evaluated. The framework we offer acknowledges the force of some (...) of the objections to basic emotion theory whilst demonstrating that the notion of a basic emotion, once properly reformulated, is still of scientific value. (shrink)
Attempts to engineer a generally intelligent artificial agent have yet to meet with success, largely due to the (intercontext) frame problem. Given that humans are able to solve this problem on a daily basis, one strategy for making progress in AI is to look for disanalogies between humans and computers that might account for the difference. It has become popular to appeal to the emotions as the means by which the frame problem is solved in human agents. The purpose of (...) this paper is to evaluate the tenability of this proposal, with a primary focus on Dylan Evans’ search hypothesis and Antonio Damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis. I will argue that while the emotions plausibly help solve the intracontext frame problem, they do not function to solve or help solve the intercontext frame problem, as they are themselves subject to contextual variability. (shrink)