Are Emotions Psychological Constructions?

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Abstract
According to psychological constructivism, emotions result from projecting folk emotion concepts onto felt affective episodes (e.g., Barrett 2017, LeDoux 2015). Moreover, while constructivists acknowledge there’s a biological dimension to emotion, they deny that emotions are (or involve) affect programs. So they also deny that emotions are natural kinds. However, the essential role constructivism gives to felt experience and folk concepts leads to an account that’s extensionally inadequate and functionally inaccurate. Moreover, biologically-oriented proposals that reject these commitments are not similarly encumbered. Recognizing this has two implications: biological mechanisms are more central to emotion than constructivism allows, and the conclusion that emotions aren’t natural kinds is premature.
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Archival date: 2018-09-17
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2018-09-17

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