Which Emotional Behaviors are Actions?

In Andrea Scarantino (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory. New York City, New York, USA: (forthcoming)
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There is a wide range of things we do out of emotion. For example, we smile with pleasure, our voices drop when we are sad, we recoil in shock or jump for joy, we apologize to others out of remorse. It is uncontroversial that some of these behaviors are actions. Clearly, apologizing is an action if anything is. Things seem less clear in the case of other emotional behaviors. Intuitively, the drop in a sad person’s voice is something that happens to her, rather than something she actively performs. Perhaps more interestingly, even jumping for joy can seem a problematic case: although its execution involves the active performance of certain movements, it has been argued to contrast, e.g., with an act of apology, in that it is not performed in order to achieve some end, such as repairing a relationship. This can make this behavior seem considerably different from paradigm actions. Our central concern in this paper is with which emotional behaviors should be classed as actions and why...

Author Profiles

Hong Yu Wong
University Tübingen
Jean Moritz Müller
University of Tübingen


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