Researchers have wondered how the brain creates emotions since the early days of psychological science. With a surge of studies in affective neuroscience in recent decades, scientists are poised to answer this question. In this target article, we present a meta-analytic summary of the neuroimaging literature on human emotion. We compare the locationist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions) with the psychological constructionist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete (...)emotion categories are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories) to better understand the brain basis of emotion. We review both locationist and psychological constructionist hypotheses of brain–emotion correspondence and report meta-analytic findings bearing on these hypotheses. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Instead, we found evidence that is consistent with a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: A set of interacting brain regions commonly involved in basic psychological operations of both an emotional and non-emotional nature are active during emotion experience and perception across a range of discrete emotion categories. (shrink)
Based on the belief that computational modeling (thinking in terms of representation and computations) can help to clarify controversial issues in emotion theory, this article examines emotional experience from the perspective of the Computational Belief–Desire Theory of Emotion (CBDTE), a computational explication of the belief–desire theory of emotion. It is argued that CBDTE provides plausible answers to central explanatory challenges posed by emotional experience, including: the phenomenal quality,intensity and object-directedness of emotional experience, the function of emotional experience (...) and its relation to cognition and motivation, and the relation between emotional experience and emotion. In addition, CBDTE avoids most objections that have been raised against cognitive theories of emotion. A remaining objection, that beliefs are not necessary for the emotions covered by CBDTE, is rejected as empirically unsupported. (shrink)
An ongoing debate in the philosophy of emotion concerns the relationship between two prima facie aspects of emotional states. The first is affective: felt and/or motivational. The second, which I call object-identifying, represents whatever the emotion is about or directed towards. “Componentialists” – such as R. S. Lazarus, Jesse Prinz, and Antonio Damasio – assume that an emotion’s object-identifying aspect can have the same representational content as a non-emotional state’s, and that it is psychologically separable or dissociable (...) from the emotion’s affective aspect. Some further hold that emotions have no object-identifying aspects of their own, and can properly be said to be about things only in virtue of their associations with other mental states (such as beliefs or perceptions). By contrast, “blenderists” – such as Peter Goldie, York Gunther, and Matthew Ratcliffe – insist that the two aspects are indissociable, because the affective aspect “infuses” the object-identifying aspect, altering the subject’s concept or percept of the object. As a result, an emotion’s object-identifying aspect cannot possibly have the same representational content as any non-emotional state’s. I argue that the strongest blenderist arguments fail to rule out plausible componentialist alternatives, and that the blenderists’ broader motivations are orthogonal to structural issues. (shrink)
Consider a typical fear episode. You are strolling down a lonely mountain lane when suddenly a huge wolf leaps towards you. A number of different interconnected elements are involved in the fear you experience. First, there is the visual and auditory perception of the wild animal and its movements. In addition, it is likely that given what you see, you may implicitly and inarticulately appraise the situation as acutely threatening. Then, there are a number of physiological changes, involving a variety (...) of systems controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Your heart races, your breathing becomes strained and your start trembling. These changes are accompanied by an expression of fear on your face: your mouth opens and your eyes widen while you stare at the wolf. There is also a kind of experience that you undergo. You are likely to feel a sort of pang, something that might consist in the perception of the physiological changes you are going through. Moreover, a number of thoughts are likely to cross your mind. You might think that the wild beast is about to tear you into pieces and that you’ll never escape from this. In addition to this, your attention focuses on the wolf and its movement, as well as, possibly, ways of escaping or defending yourself. Last, but not least, your fear is likely to come with a motivation, such as an urge to run away or to strike back. Whatever the details of the story, it is clear that a typical emotion episode involves a number of different components. Roughly, these components are a) a sensory perception or more generally an informational component, b) a kind of appraisal, d) physiological changes, c) conscious feelings, d) cognitive and attentional processes, and e) an actiontendency or more generally a motivational component. One central question in the theory of emotion is which, if any, of these components, constitute the emotion.. (shrink)
This chapter offers a new solution to the paradox of negative emotion in art. Crucial to the defense of this new solution is the normative sense of predicates such as 'is moving', 'is touching', 'is powerful', and 'is gripping'. Roughly, the solution itself is that, in their normative sense, these predicates designate aesthetic properties that we enjoy and value experiencing, even tough, in the cases which generate the paradox, the enjoyment comes at a price.
Efforts to bridge emotion theory with neurobiology can be facilitated by dynamic systems (DS) modeling. DS principles stipulate higher-order wholes emerging from lower-order constituents through bidirectional causal processes cognition relations. I then present a psychological model based on this reconceptualization, identifying trigger, self-amplification, and self-stabilization phases of emotion-appraisal states, leading to consolidating traits. The article goes on to describe neural structures and functions involved in appraisal and emotion, as well as DS mechanisms of integration by which they (...) interact. These mechanisms include nested feedback interactions, global effects of neuromodulation, vertical integration, action-monitoring, and synaptic plasticity, and they are modeled in terms of both functional integration and temporal synchronization. I end by elaborating the psychological model of emotion–appraisal states with reference to neural processes. (shrink)
Most scholars of emotions concede that although cognitive evaluations are essential for emotion, they are not sufficient for it, and that other elements, such as bodily feelings, physiological sensations and behavioral expressions are also required. However, only a few discuss how these diverse aspects of emotion are related in order to form the unity of emotion. In this essay I examine the co-presence and the causal views, and I argue that neither view can account for the unity (...) of emotions. In particular, both views face the problem of fortuitous connection, and, as a result, they fail to identify and distinguish an emotion from other mental states. Consequently, they fail to account for our first person authority over our emotions. I finally argue that only an internal, conceptual relation between the cognitive/evaluative and affective/physiological aspects of emotion can avoid such problems, and suggest that the Aristotelian distinction of form and matter can provide such internal relation. (shrink)
Two aspects about meaning and emotion are discussed in this paper. The first, which is the main focus of this paper, addresses the semantic shaping of emotions (semanticization). It will be shown how language acquisition leads to the semantic shaping of emotions. For this purpose I will first introduce the theory of language acquisition that has been developed mainly by Michael Tomasello and also by Donald Davidson. Then I will take basic emotions into account in order to show that (...) language plays a crucial role when it comes to the shaping of emotions and how we feel. The second aspect about meaning and emotion addresses the signification that an emotion might have for a person. One could also say that this aspect addresses the meaning an emotion has for a person. This issue will only play a minor part in my investigations. (shrink)
Recent studies of emotion mindreading reveal that for three emotions, fear, disgust, and anger, deficits in face-based recognition are paired with deficits in the production of the same emotion. What type of mindreading process would explain this pattern of paired deficits? The simulation approach and the theorizing approach are examined to determine their compatibility with the existing evidence. We conclude that the simulation approach offers the best explanation of the data. What computational steps might be used, however, in (...) simulation-style emotion detection? Four alternative models are explored: a generate-and-test model, a reverse simulation model, a variant of the reverse simulation model that employs an “as if” loop, and an unmediated resonance model. (shrink)
In this study William Lyons presents a sustained and coherent theory of the emotions, and one which draws extensively on the work of psychologists and physiologists in the area. Dr Lyons starts by giving a thorough and critical survey of other principal theories, before setting out his own 'causal-evaluative' account. In addition to giving an analysis of the nature of emotion - in which, Dr Lyon argues, evaluative attitudes play a crucial part - his theory throws light on the (...) motivating role of emotions in our lives, our attitudes towards our emotions and our responsibility for them. (shrink)
According to cognitivism about emotion, emotions are reducible to some non-emotional states. In one version, they are reducible entirely to cognitive states, such as beliefs or judgments; in another, they are reducible to combinations of cognitive and conative states, such as desire or intention. Cognitivism is plausibly regarded as the orthodoxy in the philosophy of emotion since the 1980s. In a recent paper, however, Montague develops a powerful argument against cognitivism. Here I argue that the argument nonetheless fails.
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing about moral (...) improvements, that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
I discuss two ways in which emotions explain actions: in the first, the explanation is expressive; in the second, the action is not only explained but also rationalized by the emotion's intentional content. The belief-desire model cannot satisfactorily account for either of these cases. My main purpose is to show that the emotions constitute an irreducible category in the explanation of action, to be understood by analogy with perception. Emotions are affective perceptions. Their affect gives them motivational force, and (...) they can rationalize actions because, like perception, they have a representational intentional content. Because of this, an emotion can non-inferentially justify a belief which in its turn justifies or rationalizes an action; so emotions may constitute a source of moral knowledge. (shrink)
Emotion processing is known to be impaired in psychopathy, but less is known about the cognitive mechanisms that drive this. Our study examined experiencing and suppression of emotion processing in psychopathy. Participants, violent offenders with varying levels of psychopathy, viewed positive and negative images under conditions of passive viewing, experiencing and suppressing. Higher scoring psychopathics were more cardiovascularly responsive when processing negative information than positive, possibly reflecting an anomalously rewarding aspect of processing normally unpleasant material. When required to (...) experience emotional response, by ‘getting into the feeling’ of the emotion conveyed by a negative image, higher factor 1 psychopathic individuals showed reduced responsiveness, suggesting that they were less able to do this. These data, together with the absence of corresponding differences in subjective self-report might be used to inform clinical strategies for normalising emotion processing in psychopathic offenders to improve treatment outcome, and reduce risk amongst this client group. (shrink)
According to the old feeling theory of emotion, an emotion is just a feeling: a conscious experience with a characteristic phenomenal character. This theory is widely dismissed in contemporary discussions of emotion as hopelessly naïve. In particular, it is thought to suffer from two fatal drawbacks: its inability to account for the cognitive dimension of emotion (which is thought to go beyond the phenomenal dimension), and its inability to accommodate unconscious emotions (which, of course, lack any (...) phenomenal character). In this paper, I argue that the old feeling theory is in reality only a pair of modifications removed from a highly plausible account of the nature of emotion that retains the essential connection between emotion and feeling. These modifications are, moreover, motivated by recent developments in work on phenomenal consciousness. The first development is the rising recognition of a phenomenal character proper to cognition—so-called cognitive phenomenology. The second is the gathering momentum behind various ‘connection principles’ that specify some connection that a given state must bear to phenomenally conscious states in order to qualify as mental. These developments make it possible to formulate a new feeling theory of emotion, which would overcome the two fatal drawbacks of the old feeling theory. According to the new feeling theory, an emotion is a mental state that bears the right connection to conscious experiences with the right phenomenal character (involving, among other elements, a cognitive phenomenology). (shrink)
Recent thinking within philosophy of mind about the ways cognition can extend has yet to be integrated with philosophical theories of emotion, which give cognition a central role. We carve out new ground at the intersection of these areas and, in doing so, defend what we call the extended emotion thesis: the claim that some emotions can extend beyond skin and skull to parts of the external world.
Despite a staggering body of research demonstrating sex differences in expressed emotion, very few theoretical models (evolutionary or non-evolutionary) offer a critical examination of the adaptive nature of such differences. From the perspective of a socio-relational framework, emotive behaviors evolved to promote the attraction and aversion of different types of relationships by advertising the two most parsimonious properties of reciprocity potential, or perceived attractiveness as a prospective social partner. These are the individual's (a) perceived capacity or ability to provide (...) expedient resources, or to inflict immediate harm onto others, and their (b) perceived trustworthiness or probability of actually reciprocating altruism (Vigil 2007). Depending on the unique social demands and relational constraints that each sex evolved, individuals should be sensitive to advertise and cues through selective displays of dominant versus submissive and masculine versus feminine emotive behaviors, respectively. In this article, I introduce the basic theoretical assumptions and hypotheses of the framework, and show how the models provide a solid scaffold with which to begin to interpret common sex differences in the emotional development literature. I conclude by describing how the framework can be used to predict condition-based and situation-based variation in affect and other forms of expressive behaviors. (shrink)
It is unreasonable to assume that our pre-scientific emotion vocabulary embodies all and only those distinctions required for a scientific psychology of emotion. The psychoevolutionary approach to emotion yields an alternative classification of certain emotion phenomena. The new categories are based on a set of evolved adaptive responses, or affect-programs, which are found in all cultures. The triggering of these responses involves a modular system of stimulus appraisal, whose evoluations may conflict with those of higher-level cognitive (...) processes. Whilst the structure of the adaptive responses is innate, the contents of the system which triggers them are largely learnt. The circuits subserving the adaptive responses are probably located in the limbic system. This theory of emotion is directly applicable only to a small sub-domain of the traditional realm of emotion. It can be used, however, to explain the grouping of various other phenomena under the heading of emotion, and to explain various characteristic failings of the pre-scientific conception of emotion. (shrink)
Abstract The content of an emotion, unlike the content of a perception, is directly dependent on the motivational set of the subject experiencing the emotion. Given the instability of this motivational set, it might be thought that there is no sense in which emotions can be said to pick up information about the environment in the same way that perception does. Whereas it is admitted that perception tracks for us what is the case in the environment, no such (...) tracking relation, it is argued, holds between one's emotions and what they are about. It is to this worry – that the construal of the emotions as perceptions inevitably raises – that this paper tries to respond. In this paper, I suggest that when it is realized that one dimension of perception itself is directly dependent on the perceiver's perspective on her environment, then emotion, which is also essentially perspectival in this sense, bears the comparison with perception very well. After having clarified the nature and the role that perspective plays in perception, I argue that, in the case of emotions, the same perspectival role can be played by agents’ long-standing evaluative tendencies and character traits. The resulting conception of emotion as perception is then tested against possible objections. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz's pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz's theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems—i.e., it gets the neural (...) correlates of emotion wrong, it isn't able to distinguish emotions from bodily perceptions that aren't emotions, it cannot account for emotions being directed towards particular objects, and it mischaracterizes emotion phenomenology. We argue that our theory accounts for the empirical evidence considered by Prinz and solves the problems faced by his theory. In particular, we maintain that our theory gives a unified and principled account of the relation between emotions and bodily perceptions, the intentionality of emotions, and emotion phenomenology. (shrink)
In this paper, my aim is to bring together contemporary psychological literature on emotion regulation and the classical sentimentalism of David Hume and Adam Smith to arrive at a plausible account of empathy's role in explaining patterns of moral judgment. Along the way, I criticize related arguments by Michael Slote, Jesse Prinz, and others.
In contemporary analytic philosophy of mind, Franz Brentano is known mostly for his thesis that intentionality is ‘the mark of the mental.’ Among Brentano scholars, there are also lively debates on his theory of consciousness and his theory of judgment. Brentano’s theory of will and emotion is less widely discussed, even within the circles of Brentano scholarship. In this paper, I want to show that this is a missed opportunity, certainly for Brentano scholars but also for contemporary philosophy of (...) mind. Brentano’s accounts of the will and of emotion are, I will argue, both insightful, creative, and surprising, on the one hand, and strikingly plausible, upon reflection, on the other. (shrink)
In both psychology and philosophy, cognitive theories of emotion have met with increasing opposition in recent years. However, this apparent controversy is not so much a gridlock between antithetical stances as a critical debate in which each side is being forced to qualify its position in order to accommodate the other side of the story. Here, I attempt to sort out some of the disagreements between cognitivism and its rivals, adjudicating some disputes while showing that others are merely superficial. (...) Looking at evidence from neuroscience and social psychology, as well as thought experiments and theoretical arguments, I conclude that it is necessary to acknowledge both that emotions have intentional content and that they involve somatic agitation. I also point out some of the more promising directions for future research in this area. (shrink)
The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think that (...) there are good reasons to be sceptical about this picture of virtue. In this essay I set out these reasons, and explain the consequences this scepticism has for our understanding of the relation between virtue, emotion, and attention. In particular, I argue that our primary capacity for recognizing value is in fact a non-emotional capacity. (shrink)
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)
The aim of this paper is to propose a systematic classification of emotions which can also characterize their nature. The first challenge we address is the submission of clear criteria for a theory of emotions that determine which mental phenomena are emotions and which are not. We suggest that emotions as a subclass of mental states are determined by their functional roles. The second and main challenge is the presentation of a classification and theory of emotions that can account for (...) all existing varieties. We argue that we must classify emotions according to four developmental stages: 1. pre-emotions as unfocussed expressive emotion states, 2. basic emotions, 3. primary cognitive emotions, and 4. secondary cognitive emotions. We suggest four types of basic emotions (fear, anger, joy and sadness) which are systematically differentiated into a diversity of more complex emotions during emotional development. The classification distinguishes between basic and non-basic emotions and our multi-factorial account considers cognitive, experiential, physiological and behavioral parameters as relevant for constituting an emotion. However, each emotion type is constituted by a typical pattern according to which some features may be more significant than others. Emotions differ strongly where these patterns of features are concerned, while their essential functional roles are the same. We argue that emotions form a unified ontological category that is coherent and can be well defined by their characteristic functional roles. Our account of emotions is supported by data from developmental psychology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology and sociology. (shrink)
According to psychological emotion theories referred to as appraisal theory, emotions are caused by appraisals (evaluative judgments). Borrowing a term from Jan Smedslund, it is the contention of this article that psychological appraisal theory is “pseudoempirical” (i.e., misleadingly or incorrectly empirical). In the article I outline what makes some scientific psychology “pseudoempirical,” distinguish my view on this from Jan Smedslund’s, and then go on to show why paying heed to the ordinary meanings of emotion terms is relevant to (...) psychology, and how appraisal theory is methodologically off the mark by employing experiments, questionnaires, and the like, to investigate what follows from the ordinary meanings of words. The overarching argument of the article is that the scientific research program of appraisal theory is fundamentally misguided and that a more philosophical approach is needed to address the kinds of questions it seeks to answer. (shrink)
The philosophy of emotion has long been divided over the cognitive nature of emotion. In this paper I argue that this debate suffers from deep confusion over the meaning of “cognition” itself. This confusion has in turn obscured critical substantive agreement between the debate’s principal opponents. Capturing this agreement and remedying this confusion requires re-conceptualizing “the cognitive” as it functions in first-order theories of emotion. Correspondingly, a sketch for a new account of cognitivity is offered. However, I (...) also argue that this new account, despite tacit acceptance by all major theories of emotion, in fact rules out some of the most fundamental and controversial claims of one side of the nature-of-emotion debate, emotional cognitivism. (shrink)
The widely accepted two-dimensional circumplex model of emotions posits that most instances of human emotional experience can be understood within the two general dimensions of valence and activation. Currently, this model is facing some criticism, because complex emotions in particular are hard to define within only these two general dimensions. The present theory-driven study introduces an innovative analytical approach working in a way other than the conventional, two-dimensional paradigm. The main goal was to map and project semantic emotion space (...) in terms of mutual positions of various emotion prototypical categories. Participants (N = 187; 54.5% females) judged 16 discrete emotions in terms of valence, intensity, controllability and utility. The results revealed that these four dimensional input measures were uncorrelated. This implies that valence, intensity, controllability and utility represented clearly different qualities of discrete emotions in the judgments of the participants. Based on this data, we constructed a 3D hypercube-projection and compared it with various two-dimensional projections. This contrasting enabled us to detect several sources of bias when working with the traditional, two-dimensional analytical approach. Contrasting two-dimensional and three-dimensional projections revealed that the 2D models provided biased insights about how emotions are conceptually related to one another along multiple dimensions. The results of the present study point out the reductionist nature of the two-dimensional paradigm in the psychological theory of emotions and challenge the widely accepted circumplex model. (shrink)
Increasing public concern for the welfare of fish species that human beings use and exploit has highlighted the need for better understanding of the cognitive status of fish and of their ability to experience negative emotions such as pain and fear. Moreover, studying emotion and cognition in fish species broadens our scientific understanding of how emotion and cognition are represented in the central nervous system and what kind of role they play in the organization of behavior. For instance, (...) on a macro neuro-architecture level the brains of fish species look dramatically different from those of mammals, while such a dramatic difference does not (always) occur at the level of emotion- and cognition-related behavior. Here, therefore, we discuss the evidence of emotion and cognition in fish species related to underlying neuro-architecture and the role that emotion and cognition play in the organization of behavior. To do so we use a framework encompassing a number of steps allowing a systematic approach to these issues. Emotion and cognition confer on human and non-human animals the capacity to compliment and/or override immediate reflexes to stimuli and so allow a large degree of flexibility in behavior. Systematic research on behavior that in mammals is indicative of emotion and cognition has been conducted in only a few fish species. The data thus far indicate that in these species brain-behavior relationships are not fundamentally different from those observed in mammals. Furthermore, data from other studies show evidence that behavior patterns related to emotion and cognition vary between fish species as well within fish species, related to sex and life history stage for example. From a welfare perspective, knowledge of such variability will potentially help us to design optimal living conditions for fish species kept by humans. (shrink)
Emotions are often portrayed as subjective judgments that pose a threat to rationality and morality, but there is a growing literature across many disciplines that emphasizes the centrality of emotion to moral reasoning. For engineers, however, being rational usually means sequestering emotions that might bias analyses—good reasoning is tied to quantitative data, math, and science. This paper brings a new pedagogical perspective that strengthens the case for incorporating emotions into engineering ethics. Building on the widely established success of active (...) and collaborative learning environments, in particular the problem-based learning (PBL) philosophy and methodology, the paper articulates new strategies for incorporating emotion into engineering ethics education. An ethics education pilot study is analyzed to explore how PBL can engage students’ emotions. Evidence suggests that PBL empowers students to cultivate value for engineering ethics and social responsibility, and in doing so, redefine the societal role of the engineer. Taking students’ emotions seriously in engineering ethics offers an effective strategy to meaningfully engage students in ethical learning. (shrink)
Empirical assessments of Cognitive Behavioral Theory and theoretical considerations raise questions about the fundamental theoretical tenet that psychological disturbances are mediated by consciously accessible cognitive structures. This paper considers this situation in light of emotion theory in philosophy. We argue that the “perceptual theory” of emotions, which underlines the parallels between emotions and sensory perceptions, suggests a conception of cognitive mediation that can accommodate the observed empirical anomalies and one that is consistent with the dual-processing models dominant in cognitive (...) psychology. (shrink)
How do we feel our body in emotion experience? In this paper I initially distinguish between foreground and background bodily feelings, and characterize them in some detail. Then I compare this distinction with the one between reflective and pre-reflective bodily self-awareness one finds in some recent philosophical phenomenological works, and conclude that both foreground and background bodily feelings can be understood as pre-reflective modes of bodily self-awareness that nevertheless differ in degree of self-presentation or self-intimation. Finally, I use the (...) distinction between foreground and background bodily feelings to characterize the experience of being absorbed in an activity, as opposed to accounts that imply that absorption involves bodily inconspicuousness. (shrink)
It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that there exists (...) a distinct natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory. 1 The mantra 2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds 3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds 4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind 5 Emotion as a psychological kind 6 Response to the mantra 7 Unification or fragmentation? 8 Concluding remarks. (shrink)
The distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is entrenched in the literature on emotion and is openly used by individual emotion theorists when classifying their own theories and those of others. In this paper, I argue that the distinction between cognitive and perceptual theories of emotion is more pernicious than it is helpful, while at the same time insisting that there are nonetheless important perceptual and cognitive factors in emotion that need to be (...) distinguished. A general representational metatheoretical framework for reconciling cognitive and perceptual theories is proposed. This is the Representational Theory of Emotion (RTE). A detailed case study of Antonio Damasio's important new contribution to emotion theory is presented in defense of the RTE. The paper is intended for readers interested in the foundations of emotion theory and cognitive science. (shrink)
Some have claimed that since machines lack emotional “qualia”, or conscious experiences of emotion, machine intelligence will fall short of human intelligence. I examine this objection, ultimately finding it unpersuasive. I first discuss recent work on emotion that suggests that emotion plays various roles in cognition. I then raise the following question: are phenomenal experiences of emotion an essential or necessary component of the performance of these cognitive abilities? I then sharpen the question by distinguishing between (...) four possible positions one might take. I reject one of these four positions largely on empirical grounds. But the remaining three positions all suggest that even if emotional qualia play an important role in human cognition, emotional qualia are not essential to the performance of these cognitive abilities in principle, so, e.g., a machine that lacks emotional qualia might still be able to perform them. (shrink)
For a long time the dominant view on the nature of blame was that to blame someone is to have an emotion toward her, such as anger, resentment or indignation in the case of blaming someone else and guilt in the case of self-blame. Even though this view is still widely held, it has recently come under heavy attack. The aim of this paper is to elaborate the idea that to blame is to have an emotion and to (...) defend the resulting emotion account of blame. (shrink)
Much of the philosophical attention directed to pride focuses on the normative puzzle of determining how pride can be both a central vice and a central virtue. But there is another puzzle, a descriptive puzzle, of determining how the emotion of pride and the character trait of pride relate to each other. A solution is offered to the descriptive puzzle that builds upon the accounts of Hume and Gabriele Taylor, but avoids the pitfalls of those accounts. In particular, the (...)emotion and the trait correspond to two employments of personal ideals: personal ideals as standards of self-assessment and personal ideals as practical guides in one’s deliberation and related activities. This account, in turn, provides a framework for solving the normative puzzle. (shrink)
William James's theory of emotion is often criticized for placing too much emphasis on bodily feelings and neglecting the cognitive aspects of emotion. This paper suggests that such criticisms are misplaced. Interpreting James's account of emotion in the light of his later philosophical writings, I argue that James does not emphasize bodily feelings at the expense of cognition. Rather, his view is that bodily feelings are part of the structure of intentionality. In reconceptualizing the relationship between cognition (...) and affect, James rejects a number of commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of our cognitive relationship with the world, assumptions that many of his critics take for granted. (shrink)
This essay argues that recent evidence in neurobiology and psychology supports Aristotle’s foundational psychology and account of self-control and demonstrates that his account of virtue is still relevant for understanding human agency. There is deep correlation between the psychological foundation of virtue that Aristotle describes in The Nicomachean Ethics (NE)—namely his distinction between the rational and nonrational parts of the soul, the way that they interact, and their respective roles in self-controlled action—and dual-process models of moral judgment. Furthermore, Aristotle’s conception (...) of character traits requires emotion regulation, and there is growing evidence in neurobiology and psychology of this ability. Most importantly, individuals can intentionally influence and control their “emotion-generating” system, and furthermore can generate lasting neurological and behavioral changes through deliberate practice. This essay briefly reviews Aristotle’s account of the ψυχή (psyche/soul) and moral virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics, and then reviews contemporary evidence of emotional self-regulation or self-control that correlates with Aristotle’s account of virtue, demonstrating the ongoing relevance of Aristotle for understanding human agency. (shrink)
The question is how to explain expressions of emotion. It is argued that not all expressions of emotion are open to the same sort of explanation. Those expressions which are actions can be explained, like other sorts of action, by reference to a belief and a desire; however, no genuine expression of emotion is done as a means to some further end. Certain expressions of emotion which are actions can also be given a deeper explanation as (...) being expressive of a wish. Expressions of emotion which are not actions cannot be given a belief-desire explanation: no belief is involved, and a desire is involved only in an honorific sense of 'desire'. The distinction amongst expressions of emotion between those which are actions and those which are not is not a precise one, and the paper concludes with some speculative remarks about borderline cases such as jumping for joy. (shrink)
A persistent puzzle for philosophers of science is the well-documented appeal made by scientists to their aesthetic emotions in the course of scientific research. Emotions are usually viewed as irremediably subjective, and thus of no epistemological interest. Yet, by denying an epistemic role for scientists’ emotional dispositions, philosophers find themselves in the awkward position of ignoring phenomena which scientists themselves often insist are of importance. This paper suggests a possible solution to this puzzle by challenging the wholesale identification of (...) class='Hi'>emotion with subjectivity. The proposed method is a naturalistic and externalist one, calling for empirical investigation into the intersubjective processes by which scientists’ emotional dispositions become refined and attuned to specific objects of attention. The proposal is developed through a critical discussion of Michael Polanyi’s theory of scientific passions, as well as plant geneticist Barbara McClintock’s celebrated “feeling for the organism.”. (shrink)
The topics treated in The brain and emotion include the definition, nature, and functions of emotion (Ch. 3); the neural bases of emotion (Ch. 4); reward, punishment, and emotion in brain design (Ch. 10); a theory of consciousness and its application to understanding emotion and pleasure (Ch. 9); and neural networks and emotion-related learning (Appendix). The approach is that emotions can be considered as states elicited by reinforcers (rewards and punishers). This approach helps with (...) understanding the functions of emotion, with classifying different emotions, and in understanding what information-processing systems in the brain are involved in emotion, and how they are involved. The hypothesis is developed that brains are designed around reward-and punishment-evaluation systems, because this is the way that genes can build a complex system that will produce appropriate but flexible behavior to increase fitness (Ch. 10). By specifying goals rather than particular behavioral patterns of responses, genes leave much more open the possible behavioral strategies that might be required to increase fitness. The importance of reward and punishment systems in brain design also provides a basis for understanding the brain mechanisms of motivation, as described in Chapters 2 for appetite and feeding, 5 for brain-stimulation reward, 6 for addiction, 7 for thirst, and 8 for sexual behavior. Key Words: amygdala; brain evolution; consciousness; dopamine; emotion; hunger; orbitofrontal cortex; punishment; reward; taste. (shrink)
In this article, I explore the relationship between desire and emotion in Descartes, Zhu Xi, and Wang Yangming with the aim of demonstrating 1) that Zhu Xi, by keying on the detriments of selfishness, represents an improvement over the more sweeping Cartesian suggestion to control desires in general; and 2) that Wang Yangming, in turn, represents an improvement over Zhu Xi by providing a more sophisticated hermeneutic of the cosmology of desire.
I am very sympathetic to Dan Hutto’s view that in our experience of the emotions of others “we do not neutrally observe the outward behaviour of another and infer coldly, but on less than certain grounds, that they are in such and such an inner state, as justified by analogy with our own case. Rather we react and feel as we do because it is natural for us to see and be moved by specific expressions of emotion in others” (...) (Hutto section 4). is seems to me to be a good starting point for any account of the ascription and epistemology of emotions, an excellent description of data that any theory of the emotions has to take into account. What I find puzzling is that Hutto seems to believe that this view is in opposition to certain widely accepted ... (shrink)
I outline an account of perceptual knowledge and assess the extent to which it can be employed in a defence of perceptual accounts of emotion and value recognition. I argue that considerations ruling out lucky knowledge give us some reason to doubt its prospects in the case of value recognition. I also discuss recent empirical work on cultural and contextual influences on emotional expression, arguing that a perceptual account of value recognition is consistent with current evidence.
Recent empirical and philosophical research challenges the view that reason and emotion necessarily conflict with one another. Philosophers of science have, however, been slow in responding to this research. I argue that they continue to exclude emotion from their models of scientific reasoning because they typically see emotion as belonging to the context of discovery rather than of justification. I suggest, however, that recent work in epistemology challenges the authority usually granted the context distinction, taking a socially (...) inflected reliabilism as my example. Intersubjectively stable emotions may play a reliable role in the formation, which for the reliabilist also means the justification, of scientific beliefs. (shrink)