Extended emotions

Philosophy Compass 11 (12):863-878 (2016)
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Until recently, philosophers and psychologists conceived of emotions as brain- and body-bound affairs. But researchers have started to challenge this internalist and individualist orthodoxy. A rapidly growing body of work suggests that some emotions incorporate external resources and thus extend beyond the neurophysiological confines of organisms; some even argue that emotions can be socially extended and shared by multiple agents. Call this the extended emotions thesis. In this article, we consider different ways of understanding ExE in philosophy, psychology, and the cognitive sciences. First, we outline the background of the debate and discuss different argumentative strategies for ExE. In particular, we distinguish ExE from cognate but more moderate claims about the embodied and situated nature of cognition and emotion. We then dwell upon two dimensions of ExE: emotions extended by material culture and by the social factors. We conclude by defending ExE against some objections and point to desiderata for future research.

Author Profiles

Thomas Szanto
University of Copenhagen
Joel Krueger
University of Exeter


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