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|Title:||A Somatic-Perceptual Theory of the Emotions|
|Keywords:||Emotions;Intentionality;Perception;Unconscious Emotions;Bodily Feelings;Cognition;Alexithymia|
|Abstract:||In this dissertation, I develop and defend a kind of somatic theory of the emotions; namely, a somatic-perceptual theory of the emotions. On this account, emotions are perceptions of physiological changes. The majority of emotion theorists, however, hold some kind of a cognitive theory of the emotions. I argue, in opposition to these theories, that cognition is never necessary for emotion. Somatic theories of the emotions have never been well-received in philosophy and psychology. This is mainly because they are often perceived as being ill-equipped to explain many of the things that a theory of the emotions ought to account for. In particular, it is argued that somatic theories of the emotions fail to take into account the fact that emotions are typically directed toward an intentional object. Somatic theories, it is argued, are also unable to explain how to distinguish between different emotions associated with identical physiological responses. Moreover, since on my view emotions are a form of perception, my view would seem to allow for the bodily perceptions constituting emotions to occur unconsciously. However, in philosophy, the notion of unconscious emotions is problematic, because in ordinary language, emotions just are feelings – and feelings are, by definition, conscious. Using philosophical arguments and empirical evidence from neuroscience and psychology, I argue that my somatic-perceptual theory of the emotions is able to account both for the intentional nature of the emotions and the distinctiveness of different emotions just as well as leading cognitive theories of the emotions. This is significant because these objections have not yet been adequately met by other somatic theories of the emotions. I also embrace the implication that on my view, emotions can be unconscious, and show that my somatic-perceptual theory provides a framework for thinking about poorly understood psychological conditions, such as alexithymia.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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|Primmer - Doctoral Dissertation.pdf||Dissertation||1.07 MB||Adobe PDF||View/Open|
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