Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Philosophy

Advisor(s)

Jesse Prinz

Subject Categories

Philosophy

Keywords

Affect, Embodiment, Emotion, Intentionality, Mood

Abstract

My primary thesis is that emotions are partially constituted by bodily states. My view derives from the James-Lange tradition, but contrary to Neo-Jamesian theories, I claim that emotions are partially constituted by integrated peripheral bodily states and brain states, rather than bodily perceptions. This view may seem vulnerable to two obvious critiques: emotions, unlike bodily states, have intentional objects, and neuroscientists have already identified the neural basis of emotions, so there is no reason to look for constituents outside of the brain. I argue on the basis of social psychology research that emotions are not intentional states, since they do not influence thought and behavior in a manner that is specific to any purported objects or contents. In my discussion of intentionality I point to a number of factors that collectively give the impression that emotions have objects. Regarding the second critique, I argue that current research in affective neuroscience tells us much less than it seems to about the constituents of emotions. A great deal of confusion in that literature results from failure to carefully distinguish emotions from desires. I also illustrate different ways that positions on the embodiment of emotions influence interpretations of the empirical data.

Included in

Philosophy Commons

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.