Valence, Bodily (Dis)Pleasures and Emotions

In Michael S. Brady, David Bain & Jennifer Corns (eds.), Philosophy of Suffering. New York: Routledge. pp. 103-122 (forthcoming)
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Bodily (dis)pleasures and emotions share the striking property of being valenced, i.e. they are positive or negative. What is valence? How do bodily (dis)pleasures and emotions relate to one another? This chapter assesses the prospects of two popular theses regarding the relation between bodily (dis)pleasures and emotions in light of what we can reasonably think about valence. According to the first thesis, the valence of bodily (dis)pleasures is explanatory prior vis-à-vis the valence of emotions. According to the second, emotions contain bodily (dis)pleasures. I argue that bodily (dis)pleasures are intentional states whose valence is to be understood in terms of evaluative experience, and bring to light the similarities and dissimilarities between their intentional structure and that of emotions. On this backdrop, I offer reasons to conclude that we should adopt neither of the two theses.

Author's Profile

Fabrice Teroni
University of Geneva


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