Affordances and Motivation

The study of emotions, the so-called affective turn, allows us to rethink crucial elements in psychology and philosophy of mind. There has been a concurrent surge in creative research and theory in the field of ecological psychology.[1] In our book, we seek to clarify the function of affective sentience in …

5. A control theory of the mind

For the last day of blogging my book The Emotional Mind, I’m going to skip straight to the last chapter on mental architecture. This is where propose a control theory of the mind as a whole. It is perhaps the most ambitious and speculative chapter of a book that is …

4. What makes a social emotion?

An important aspect of emotions that is relatively neglected in both the philosophical and psychological literature is their social manifestation. There is plenty of work on empathy, the role of emotions in morality, and even a growing interest in emotional expression, but all this should be tied together with a …

2. Valent Representation

Yesterday I promised to give an account of valent representation. This is perhaps the core original idea of the book (though it has precedents in Ruth Millikan’s ‘pushmi-pullyu’ representations (1995) and Andy Clark’s ‘action oriented representations’ (1997)). Essentially, valent representation is representation in a valent (i.e. positive or negative) manner. …

1. A new account of the emotions

Thanks to John and the team for letting me take over the Brains Blog for the week. Over the next five days I’m going to summarise some of the key ideas in my new book The Emotional Mind: A control theory of affective states (Cambridge University Press). The book grew …

Emotion and Evaluative Phenomenology

In the final chapter of The Given, I describe the rich complexity involved in experiencing emotions. I restrict my attention to occurrent emotional episodes that are not only conscious, but are also intentional. I consider two questions: [i] What kind of property attributions do we typically make in having emotions? …

New issue of Emotion Researcher on “Varieties of Guilt and their Functions”

Andrea Scarantino (GSU), editor of Emotion Researcher, wrote to let me know of a new issue on the subject of guilt. The essays, written by a mix of philosophers and psychologists, concern four main questions: First, what is guilt? Second, when and how does guilt develop in children? Third, what are …

CFP: Owning Our Emotions

Owning our emotions: Emotion, authenticity and the self 21st to 22nd September 2016 The Senate House, London Keynote speakers include: Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, University of Birmingham Professor Denis McManus, University of Southampton Professor Monika Betzler, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich Dr Jonathan Webber, University of Cardiff Professor Fabrice Teroni, University of Geneva How …

Embodied Action-Oriented Emotions

In this post I will try to lay out my own account of what emotions are in a nutshell. The claim that emotions are embodied, roughly speaking, is that emotions involve bodily reactions and that these bodily reactions realize, or constitute, a kind of intelligent behavior, or interaction, with the …

Setting the Stage: What Are Emotions and Why Are They So Hard to Explain?

Many thanks to John who invited me to blog about my book Embodied Emotions this week. The book explores emotions as embodied, action-oriented representations, providing a non-cognitivist theory of emotions that aims to account for their normative dimensions within a naturalist framework. I will come back to what that all …

Which Theory of Mind? – And other questions

In my final post I would like to wrap up by sketching some of the implications of my proposal – in particular concerning our theorizing about social cognition – as well as raising some questions that are being left open. There exists quite a large controversy in philosophy and psychology …

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