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Abstract: Experiences of emotion are content-rich events that emerge at the level of psychological description, but must be causally constituted by neurobiological processes. This chapter outlines an emerging scientific agenda for understanding what these experiences feel like and how they arise. We review the available answers to what is felt (i.e., the content that makes up an experience of emotion) and how neurobiological processes instantiate these properties of experience. These answers are then integrated into a broad framework that describes, in psychological terms, how the experience of emotion emerges from more basic processes. We then discuss the role of such experiences in the economy of the mind and behavior
Abstract: Taking our lead from Solomon’s emphasis on the importance of the intentional object of emotion, we review the history of repeated attempts to make this object disappear. We adduce evidence suggesting that in the case of James and Schachter, the intentional object got lost unintentionally. By contrast, modern constructivists (in particular Barrett) seem quite determined to deny the centrality of the intentional object in accounting for the occurrence of emotions. Griffiths, however, downplays the role objects have in emotion noting that these do not qualify as intentional. We argue that these disappearing acts, deliberate or not, generate fruitless debate and add little to the advancement of our understanding of emotion as an adaptive mechanism to cope with events that are relevant to an organism’s life.
Abstract: If Sam empathizes with Maria, then it is true of Sam that (1) Sam is aware of Maria's emotion, and (2) Sam feels in tune with Maria. On what I call the transparency conception of how they interact when instantiated, I argue that these two conditions are collectively necessary and sufficient for empathy. I first clarify the awareness and feeling in tune conditions, and go on to examine different candidate models that explain the manner in which these two conditions might come to be concomitantly instantiated in a subject. I dismiss what I call the parallel and oscillation models for not satisfying the transparency condition, i.e. for failing to capture that, if Sam empathizes with Maria, then Sam's own emotional experience towards the object of Maria's emotion has to be mediated by Maria's own emotional experience. I conclude in favour the fusion model as the only model capable of satisfying the transparency condition, and I argue that the suggested proposal illuminates the difference between it and other ways in which we understand the emotions of others. Finally, I expand and clarify the conception of empathy as transparency through responses to obvious objections that the view raises. Key Words: empathy emotion philosophy psychology simulation
Abstract: Philosophers have almost always said something about emotions and passions whenever they have discussed human mental life. Many have asserted that it is some emotions or, more broadly, passions, that are to be primarily valued and sought. These valued passionate states of mind might include emotions, moods, desires, belief-like feelings of conviction and commitment, and romantic or erotic love, which are typically scarcely distinguished. Not only are these states of mind lumped together, but the reasons why they are valued may likewise be various: they may be valued because of their intrinsic feeling (especially insofar as they are intense), through their long-term or deep effects on the rest of our practical and mental lives, through their effects on others’ lives, or even in the glimpse they give us of an object that transcends our mundane and superficial concerns, as in love, peak experiences, or intimations of God, Beauty, or Nature. Others have claimed that it is in the subduing or elimination of some or all of these passions that the ideal human life consists. Again, what precisely are the objectionable passions is typically not delineated, and why such mental states are objectionable may be diverse and even unspecified. One might resent their "disruptive" nature on our mental life, especially insofar as some of them stem from external, uncontrollable sources, and instead seek a calm state that is within one’s control and not subject to these whimsical externalities. Or one can see many or all passions as disruptive of control and success in our inner or outer life, or in the lives of others. We might call this latter group the anti-emotional Rationalists, and the former group the pro-emotional Romantics
Abstract: Under the general heading of what we might loosely call emotional states, a familiar distinction can be drawn between emotions (strictly so-called) and moods. In order to judge under which of these headings a subject’s emotional episode falls, we advance a question of the form: What is the subject’s emotion of or about? In some cases (for example fear, sadness, and anger) the provision of an answer is straightforward: the subject is afraid of the loose tiger, or sad about England’s poor performance in the World Cup, or angry with her errant child. Although the ways we find natural to talk in such situations can alter (afraid of, sad about, angry with, and so on), in each case the emotion has what Ronald de Sousa, following Wittgenstein, calls a target—“an actual particular to which that emotion relates.” (de Sousa, 1987, p.116)
Abstract: This paper attempts to connect recent cross-disciplinary treatments of the cognitive or rational significance of emotions with work in contemporary philosophy identifying an evaluative propositional content of emotions. An emphasis on the perspectival nature of emotional evaluations allows for a notion of emotional rationality that does not seem to be available on alternative accounts
Abstract: Emotional appraisal happens at more than one level. Low-level appraisals involve representations that are semantically coarse-grained, fuse the functional roles of belief and desire and have impoverished inferential roles, making it best to think of them as sub-conceptual. Multi-level theories of emotional appraisal are thus best conceived, not as theories of the actual conceptual content of emotional appraisals, but as ecological theories that identify the aspects of the environment that appraisal processes are tracking using diverse cognitive means. These aspects of the environment are what the environment ‘affords’ the organism. Some of these affordances are ‘goal-affordances’ - possibilities for future action. This perspective on emotional appraisal lends support to the idea that emotional appraisal is in part ‘Machiavellian’ or ‘strategic’. Organisms take into account the payoffs resulting from an emotional response when determining whether the eliciting situation ‘warrants’ that emotion
Abstract: The experimental study of the emotions as pursued by LeDoux and Damasio is argued to be flawed as a consequence of the inadequate conceptual framework inherited from the work of William James. This paper clarifes the conceptual structures necessary for any discussion of the emotions. Emotions are distinguished from appetites and other non-emotional feelings, as well as from agitations and moods. Emotional perturbations are distinguished from emotional attitudes and motives. The causes of an emotion are differentiated from the objects of an emotion, and the objects of an emotion are distinguished into formal and material ones. The links between emotions and reasons for the emotion, for associated beliefs and for action are explored, as well as the connection between emotion and care or concern, and between emotion and fantasy. The behavioural criteria for the ascription of an emotion are clarified. In the light of this conceptual network, Damasio’s theory of the emotions is subjected to critical scrutiny and found wanting
Abstract: The phenomenology of emotions has traditionally been understood in terms of bodily sensations they involve. This is a mistake. We should instead understand their phenomenology in terms of their distinctively evaluative intentionality. Emotions are essentially affective modes of response to the ways our circumstances come to matter to us, and so they are ways of being pleased or pained by those circumstances. Making sense of the intentionality and phenomenology of emotions in this way requires rejecting traditional understandings of intentionality and so coming to see emotions as a distinctive and irreducible class of mental states lying at the intersection of intentionality, phenomenology, and motivation
Abstract: LeDoux (1996) has identified a sub-cortical neural circuit that mediates fear responses in rats. The existence of this neural circuit has been used to support the claim that emotion is a non-cognitive process. In this paper I argue that this sub-cortical circuit cannot have a role in the explanation of emotions in humans. This worry is raised by looking at the properties of this neural pathway, which does not have the capacity to respond to the types of stimuli that are generally taken to trigger emotion responses. In particular, the neurons in this pathway cannot represent the stimulus as a complete object or event, rather they represent the simple information that is encoded at the periphery. If it is assumed that an object or event in the world is what, even in simple cases, causes an emotion, then this sub-cortical pathway has limited use in a theory of emotion.
Abstract: Nussbaum’s theory of the emotions draws heavily on the Stoic account. In her theory, emotions are a kind of value judgment or thought. This is in stark contrast to the well-known proposal from William James, who took emotions to be bodily feelings. There are various motivations for taking emotions as judgments. One main reason is that emotions are intentional mental states. They are always about something, directed at particular objects or state of affairs. For example, fear seems to involve the anticipation of danger. To grief for the passing of a loved one involves the thought that someone dear to us is now gone. In Upheavals of Thought and also in her Hochelaga Lecture, Nussbaum analyzed compassion as a set of judgments, including for example the judgment that someone is experiencing serious suffering, and that the person in question does not deserve the suffering
Abstract: Normative standards are often applied to emotions. Are there normative standards that apply to emotions in virtue solely of facts about their nature? I will argue that the answer is no. The psychological, behavioural, and neurological evidence suggests that emotions are representational brain states with various kinds of biological functions. Facts about biological functions are not (and do not by themselves entail) normative facts. Hence, there are no nor- mative standards that apply to emotions just in virtue of their having various kinds of biolog- ical functions. Moreover, the peculiar features of emotions make the view that representational content is essentially normative very implausible. Hence, the representational properties of emotions cannot be seen as entailing normative standards. The conclusion is that there are no normative standards that apply to emotions solely in virtue of their nature. Ó 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Abstract: A passion is an original existence, or, if you will, modification of existence, and contains not any representative quality, which renders it a copy of any other existence or modification. When I am angry, I am actually possest with the passion, and in that emotion have no more a reference to any other object, than when I am thirsty, or sick, or more than five foot high. 'Tis impossible, therefore, that this passion can be oppos'd by, or be contradictory to truth and reason; since this contradiction consists in the disagreement of ideas, consider'd as copies, with those objects, which they represent. (T 415)
Abstract: My favourite leading question when teaching Philosophy of Mind is ‘Could a goldﬁsh long for its mother?’ This introduces the philosophical technique of ‘conceptual analysis’, essential for the study of mind (Sloman 1978, ch. 4). By analysing what we mean by ‘A longs for B’, and similar descriptions of emotional states we see that they inv olve rich cognitive structures and processes, i.e. computations. Anything which could long for its mother, would have to hav e some sort of representation of its mother, would have to believe that she is not in the vicinity, would have to be able to represent the _possibility _of being close to her, would have to desire that possibility, and would have to be to some extent pre-occupied or obsessed with that desire. That is, it should intrude into and interfere with other activities, like admiring the scenery, catching smaller ﬁsh, etc. If the desire were there, but could be calmly put aside, whilst other interests were pursued, then it would not be truly a state of longing. It might be a state of preferring. Thus longing involves computational interrupts. The same seems to be true of all emotions