DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-PLAY3593-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2015
Retrieved June 24, 2017, from

Article Summary

As befits the variety of roles that emotion plays in our lives, emotion is a topic of consideration in a variety of areas of philosophy and this is reflected in the REP.

Emotions, philosophy of by Robert Solomon provides a historical introduction to philosophers on emotion. Stoicism by David Sedley, especially §19, introduces the Stoic view that emotions are judgments, and false ones at that. For the view of a ‘latter-day stoic’ see Spinoza, Benedict de (1632-77) by Henry E. Allison, especially §9.

Philosophers of mind are interested in the kinds of mental and physical phenomena that are constitutive of emotion, on which see Emotions, nature of by Robert Solomon. According to William James, an emotion is a bodily sensation caused by a physiological disturbance. Bodily sensations by M.G.F. Martin discusses the nature of bodily sensations, more generally. Emotions are naturally thought of as being ‘intentional’, which is to say, ‘of‘ or ‘directed at’ something, just as perceptual experiences and beliefs are. Intentionality by Tim Crane, introduces this notion. A different question in the philosophy of mind to which emotion is relevant is the question of how we know about the experiences, including the emotions, of other people, on which see Other Minds by Alex Hyslop.

For an overview of philosophical discussion of the role of emotions in morality see Morality and emotions by Martha Nussbaum and Moral sentiments by R. Jay Wallace. Love, also by Martha Nussbaum, focuses on one particular and important emotion. For the moral theory that reduces moral judgments to expressions of emotion, see Emotivism by Michael Smith. For a discussion of more contemporary theories that explain ethics using the emotions, see Moral sentimentalism by Joshua Gert. Ethics and Philosophy of Mind overlap in their concern with the question of the role of emotions in bringing about action. See Hume, David (1711-76) by Don Garrett, especially §10.

Emotion is also a topic in aesthetics. Emotion in response to art by Jerrold Levinson and Artistic expression by Stephen Davies discuss the power of art works to arouse and express emotion. Music is often thought to be especially emotionally expressive and arousing, see Music, aesthetics of by Saam Trivedi, especially §4 and §5.

Citing this article:
Richardson, Louise. Emotion, 2015, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-PLAY3593-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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