Are all emotions social? Embracing a pluralistic understanding of social emotions

Passion: Journal of the European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotion (forthcoming)
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Abstract

While the importance of social emotions is widely recognized, the question whether all emotions are social and what this would mean for the category ‘social emotions’ is yet to be addressed systematically. Emotion theorists and researchers so far have proposed different candidates for social emotions. These include non-basic emotions, self-conscious emotions, higher-cognitive emotions, and defining social emotions via their social functions. This paper looks at these different candidates for social emotions and briefly discusses their issues. Discussing the candidates and their issues motivates embracing a pluralistic approach to social emotions. In a further step, the paper will look at approaches exploring how social factors impact emotions in general. This serves as a basis for explaining what it would mean to propose that all emotions are social. After reviewing different candidates for social emotions and looking at the impact of social factors on emotions in general, the paper will propose that a pluralistic understanding of social emotions is needed to embrace the different ways in which social emotions may function. Embracing a pluralistic understanding of social emotions does not mean, however, that all emotions are social emotions.

Author's Profile

Gen Eickers
Universität Bayreuth

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