The bodily-attitudinal theory of emotion

Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2635-2663 (2020)
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This paper provides an assessment of the bodily-attitudinal theory of emotions, according to which emotions are felt bodily attitudes of action readiness. After providing a reconstruction of the view and clarifying its central commitments two objections are considered. An alternative object side interpretation of felt action readiness is then provided, which undermines the motivation for the bodily-attitudinal theory and creates problems for its claims concerning the content of emotional experience. The conclusion is that while the bodily-attitudinal theory marks out a distinctive proposal concerning the question of what emotions are, there remain significant issues which need addressing if it is to be a plausible competitor to existing theories of emotion.

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Jonathan Mitchell
Cardiff University


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