Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Andrea Scarantino - Chair
Among philosophers of the emotions, it is common to view emotional content as purely descriptive – that is, belief-like or perception-like. I argue that this is a mistake. The intentionality of the emotions cannot be understood in isolation from their motivational character, and emotional content is also inherently directive – that is, desire-like. This view’s strength is its ability to explain a class of emotional behaviors that I argue, the common view fails to explain adequately. I claim that it is already implicit in leading theories of emotion elicitation in cognitive psychology – “appraisal theories.” The result is a deeper understanding of emotional intentionality. Employing Peter Goldie’s “Feeling Theory” of the emotions as an example of the common view, I suggest that emotional feelings, too, should be understood on this model: emotional feelings toward items in the world cannot be disentangled from felt motivation.
Sheredos, Benjamin, "Motivating Emotional Content" (2009). Philosophy Theses. Paper 51.