What Emotions Really Are (In the Theory of Constructed Emotion)

Philosophy of Science 85 (4):640-59 (2018)
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Recently, Lisa Feldman Barrett and colleagues have introduced the Theory of Constructed Emotions (TCE), in which emotions are constituted by a process of categorizing the self as being in an emotional state. The view, however, has several counterintuitive implications: for instance, a person can have multiple distinct emotions at once. Further, the TCE concludes that emotions are constitutively social phenomena. In this article, I explicate the TCE*, which, while substantially similar to the TCE, makes several distinct claims aimed at avoiding the counterintuitive implications plaguing the TCE. Further, because of the changes that comprise the TCE*, emotions are not constitutively social phenomena.
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