Date of Degree
Affect, Embodiment, Emotion, Intentionality, Mood
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.
Shargel, Daniel, "Constitutively Embodied Emotions" (2014). CUNY Academic Works.