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Emotions: Rationality Without Cognitivism

  • Stanley G. Clarke (a1)

In the aftermath of emotivism and behaviourism, cognitivist theories of emotion became current in both philosophy and psychology. These theories, though varied, have in common that emotions require propositional attitudes such as beliefs or evaluations. Accordingly, cognitivist theories characterize emotions themselves with features of such attitudes, including syntax, semantic meaning, and justifiability.

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1 Solomon, R. C., The Passions (New York: Doubleday, 1976), 187.

2 Lyons, W., Emotion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 5758.

3 Lazarus, R. S., “Thoughts on the Relations Between Emotions and Cognition”, in Schererand, K. R.Ekman, P., Approaches to Emotion (Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1984).

4 Greenspan, P., “Emotions as Evaluations”, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (1981).

5 Ibid., 62–63.

6 Malatesta, C. and Izard, C., “Conceptualizing Emotional Development in Adults”, in Malatesta, C. and Izard, C., Emotion in Adult Development (New York: Sage Publications, 1984), 18.

7 Zajonc, R. B., “Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need no Inferences”, American Psychologist 35 (1980).

8 Steiner, J. E., “Innate Discriminative Human Facial Expressions to Taste and Smell Stimulation”, Annals of New York Academy of Science (1974).

9 Kunst-Wilson, W. R. and Zajonc, R. B., “Affective Discrimination of Stimuli that Cannot be Recognized”, Science 207 (1980).

10 R. B. Zajonc, “On Primacy of Affect”, in Scherer and Ekman, Approaches to Emotion.

11 Maclean, P., “The Triune Brain”, in Rorty, A., Explaining Emotions (Berkeley, CA: University of Califnornia Press, 1980), 20.

12 Nauta, W. J. H. and Haymaker, W., “Retino-Hypothalamic Connections”, in Haymaker, W., Anderson, E. and Nauta, W. J. H., The Hypothalamus (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1969).

13 Zajonc, R. B., “On Primacy of Affect”, 263.

14 For arguments to this effect, see Sousa, R. de, “The Rationality of Emotions”, Dialogue 18 (1979) and Simpson, E., Reason Over Passion (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1979).

15 See Sousa, R. de, “The Rationality of Emotions” and McGuinness, D. and Pribram, K., “The Neuropsychology of Attention: Emotional and Motivational Controls”, in Wittrock, M. C., ed., The Brain and Psychology (New York: Academic, 1980).

16 A feeling module on the lines of the perception module in Fodor, J. A., The Modularity of Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983) seems plausible, but I do not argue so far as to support informational encapsulation of either sensation or feeling.

17 Referred to in: Buck, R., The Communication of Emotion (New York: Guilford Press, 1984).

18 Ibid., 55–58.

19 Simpson, , Reason, 32.

20 Ibid., 33.

21 Schachter, S. and Singer, J. E., “Cognitive, Social, and Physiological Determinants of Emotional State”, Psychological Review 69 (1962).

22 Buck, , Communication, 5558.

23 Ekman, P. and Friesen, W. V., Unmasking the Face (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. 1975).

24 Buck, , Communication, 56.

25 Ibid., 121–130.

26 Pylyshyn, Z. W., “Computation and Cognition: Issues in the Foundation of Cognitive Science”, The Behavioural and Brain Sciences 3 (1980), 127.

27 I would like to thank Ronald de Sousa, Mark Vorobej, and especially Evan Simpson for criticisms and encouragement, as well as Carleton University for providing research leave.

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Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
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