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Emotion and intentionally in understanding values and personal identity: A philosophical study of emotion from a humean point of view

Yang, Sunny (2006) Emotion and intentionally in understanding values and personal identity: A philosophical study of emotion from a humean point of view. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Emotion theorists in recent discussion generally take a piecemeal approach. For example, some concentrate on envy, others on regret, revenge, pity, guilt or shame. However, there is no serious attention paid to the historical and socio-cultural contexts of their topic. Therefore, I, firstly, address how emotions have been explained in the history of philosophy with particular reference to philosophical issues, for example, 'intentionality' (Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4). Next, I emphasize the role that socio-cultural context plays in explaining emotions with particular reference to several philosophical issues, for example, 'direction of fit', 'values' and 'personal identity' (Chapters, 4, 5 and 6 respectively).In explaining emotion, I address three kinds of crude views: the feeling-centred theory in Chapter 1, judgmentalism in Chapter 2, and a Humean functionalism in Chapter 4. Next, I demonstrate the difficulties confronting these crude views. In order to avoid such a reductionism, I suggest two alternative approaches to emotion: a qualified cognitivism and 'an embodied appraisal' theory (Chapter 3). I demonstrate that this latter view faces difficulty in explaining moral emotion. In order to meet this challenge, I provide an alternative which focuses on the socio-cultural nature of the emotions (Chapters, 5 and 6).I argue that specific emotions are individuated and identified, firstly, with reference to other mental states, notably, perceptions, beliefs, and desires (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4). Secondly, they are individuated and identified with reference to personal narrative and socio-cultural context (Chapters 4 and 5). Now the reason why personal narrative plays a role in individuating emotion is because emotions are often changeable, unstable, and are sometimes ambivalent (Chapter 2). However, despite their instability, emotions are sometimes long-standing (Chapter 3). They are, on the other hand, related to morality (Chapter 5). They also have perspective (Chapter 6). These characteristics of the emotions, stability, long-standing duration, and possession of perspective, help us in solving one of philosophy's most enduring problems, that is, the problem of personal identity (Chapter 6).

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2006
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:52

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