In Self and Affect. Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming)
The philosophical debate around the nature of moods has mostly focused on their apparent undirectedness: unlike mental states such as perceptual experiences, thoughts, and emotions, moods do not seem to be directed at any specific object, and indeed they do not seem to be directed at anything at all. In this paper, I want to draw attention to a different feature of moods, one that is as important and in need of explanation as their apparent undirectedness, but which has been overlooked by most participants in the debate: the fact that moods involve a particularly marked salience of the subjective aspect of experience. I argue that any adequate theory of moods should account for this fact. I call this the “subjective salience desideratum.” In the bulk of the paper, I articulate and motivate the desideratum, show that extant theories of moods do not satisfy it, and offer a preliminary overview of possible (yet unexplored) theories that have the subjective salience desideratum at their core.