No Joint Ownership! Shared Emotions Are Social-relational Emotions

Studia Philosophica Estonica 9 (1):111-135 (2016)

Abstract

There are cases of emotion that we readily describe as 'sharing emotions with other people.' How should we understand such cases? Joel Krueger has proposed the Joint Ownership Thesis : the view that two or more people can literally share the same emotional episode. His view is partly inspired by his reading of Merleau-Ponty -- arguably Merleau-Ponty advocates a version of JOT in his "The child's relations with others." My critical analysis demonstrates that JOT is flawed in several respects: 1) It involves a vague account of joint subjects; 2) It relies on a confusion between phenomenological and ontological levels of analysis. When these are clearly distinguished, Krueger's phenomenological analysis contradicts JOT understood as an ontological claim; 3) It relies on a highly problematic coupling-constitution inference; 4) It relies on a shift from the claim that the child and the caregiver jointly _realize_ an emotion, to the claim about joint _ownership_, which is a _non sequitur_. I argue that we can reach a better understanding of the phenomenon of shared emotions by bringing in another level of analysis: that of _social relationships_. I propose that shared emotions are a special case of _social-relational emotions_, typically arising within and/or giving rise to communal relationships.

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Vivian Bohl
University of Tartu

References found in this work

Ressentiment.Max Scheler - 1961 - Marquette University Press.
Interpreting Husserl: Critical and Comparative Studies.David Carr - 1987 - Distributors for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Academic.

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Citations of this work

The moral value of feeling-with.Maxwell Gatyas - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2901-2919.

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