Wittgenstein: an expressivist approach about emotions

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This paper aims to show that Wittgenstein’s approach to the concepts of sensation and emotion can shed light on many philosophical dilemmas that remain present in the contemporary debate. My analysis will start by characterizing Jesse Prinz’s approach to emotions (heavily influenced by the physiological theory of William James) and, then, it will proceed to show that Prinz is subject to the same criticisms that Wittgenstein expressed about William James’s theory. Finally, I will argue that Wittgenstein, in Philosophical Investigations, advocated for a peculiar kind of expressivism that, while having profound differences from traditional expressivism, is able to appear as a non-cognitivist position. I will argue further that William James’s error (and hence also Prinz’s) is disregarding the multiple uses of psychological terms (that is, to think that psychological terms have a uniform use).
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Archival date: 2016-06-25
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