Emotion as Feeling Towards Value: A Theory of Emotional Experience

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Oxford University Press, 2021 - Philosophy - 214 pages
Much of what we take to be meaningful and significant in life is inextricably linked with our capacity to experience emotions. Here, Jonathan Mitchell considers emotional experiences as sui generis states; not to be modelled after other mental states such as perceptions, judgements, or bodily feelings, but given their own analysis and place within our mental economy. More specifically, he proposes an original view of emotional experiences as feelings-towards-values.

Central to this view is the notion that emotional experiences include (non-bodily) felt attitudes which represent evaluative properties of the particular objects of those experiences. After setting out a framework for theorising about experiences and their contents, Mitchell argues that the content of emotional experience is evaluative. He then explains the best way to marry this claim with the presence of specific kinds of valenced attitudinal components in emotional experience and critical aspects of emotional phenomenology. Building on this, he introduces a distinctive role for bodily feelings, by way of a somatic enrichment of the felt valenced attitudes involved in emotional experience. Finally, he considers issues pertaining to the intelligibility of emotions, and shows how the feelings-towards-values view can account for the way in which emotional experiences often make sense in a first-person way.



Experiential Modes and Face Value Contents a Framework
The Evaluative Content of Emotional Experience
The ContentPriority View
4 The Nature of Emotional Experience
The Role of the Body and ActionReadiness
The Intelligibility of Emotional Experience

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About the author (2021)

Jonathan Mitchell is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Manchester. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Warwick, and previously studied philosophy at the University of Sheffield. He was also the holder of a Global Excellence Stature Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Johannesburg. His research focuses on the intersection between phenomenology, philosophy of mind, emotion, and value.

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