What Can Information Encapsulation Tell Us About Emotional Rationality?

In Laura Candiotto (ed.), The Value of Emotions for Knowledge. Palgrave Macmillan (2019)
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What can features of cognitive architecture, e.g. the information encapsulation of certain emotion processing systems, tell us about emotional rationality? de Sousa proposes the following hypothesis: “the role of emotions is to supply the insufficiency of reason by imitating the encapsulation of perceptual modes” (de Sousa 1987: 195). Very roughly, emotion processing can sometimes occur in a way that is insensitive to what an agent already knows, and such processing can assist reasoning by restricting the response-options she considers. This paper aims to provide an exposition and assessment of de Sousa’s hypothesis. I argue information encapsulation is not essential to emotion-driven reasoning, as emotions can determine the relevance of response-options even without being encapsulated. However, I argue encapsulation can still play a role in assisting reasoning by restricting response-options more efficiently, and in a way that ensures which options emotions deem relevant are not overridden by what the agent knows. I end by briefly explaining why this very feature also helps explain how emotions can, on occasion, hinder reasoning.
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The Modularity of Mind.Cummins, Robert & Fodor, Jerry
The Passions.Solomon, Robert C.
Valence and Value.Carruthers, Peter

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