No Joint Ownership! Shared Emotions Are Social-relational Emotions

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

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

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Ressentiment.Max Scheler - 1994 - Milwaukee, Wis.: Marquette University Press. Edited by Manfred S. Frings.
Interpreting Husserl: critical and comparative studies.David Carr - 1987 - Hingham, MA, USA: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Kluwer Academic.

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