The Embodied and Situated Nature of Moods

Philosophia 45 (4):1437-1451 (2017)
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Abstract
In this paper I argue that it is misleading to regard the brain as the physical basis or “core machinery” of moods. First, empirical evidence shows that brain activity not only influences, but is in turn influenced by, physical activity taking place in other parts of the organism. It is therefore not clear why the core machinery of moods ought to be restricted to the brain. I propose, instead, that moods should be conceived as embodied, i.e., their physical basis should be enlarged so as to comprise not just brain but also bodily processes. Second, I emphasise that moods are also situated in the world. By this I do not simply mean that moods are influenced by the world, but that they are complexly interrelated with it, in at least three different ways: they are shaped by cultural values and norms; they are materially and intersubjectively “scaffolded”; and they can even “experientially incorporate” parts of the world, i.e., include the experience of parts of the world as part of oneself.
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Archival date: 2021-03-12
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