Dialectica 69 (3):403-416 (2015)

Michael S. Brady
University of Glasgow
The emotions of guilt, shame, disappointment and grief, and the bodily states of pain and suffering, have something in common, at least phenomenologically: they are all unpleasant, they feel bad. But how might we explain what it is for some state to feel bad or unpleasant? What, in other words, is the nature of negative affect? In this paper I want to consider the prospects for evaluativist theories, which seek to explain unpleasantness by appeal to negative evaluations or appraisals. In particular, I want to consider versions of evaluativism that seek to explain negative affect in terms of a kind of negative perceptual experience. These views thus attempt to explain feeling bad in terms of seeing bad. Now the most prominent evaluativist accounts of negative affect have been developed in the pain literature, and so my paper will primarily be focused on the question of whether evaluativism can provide a plausible account of the painfulness or unpleasantness of pain. I will argue that evaluativism faces serious objections on this score. Since my conclusions can be extended to cover negative affect more generally, however, we have good reason to reject evaluativist accounts of the negative affect involved in emotional experience. My arguments will thus have implications for those interested in the nature of emotional valence. I'll conclude with some brief remarks about the shape that a ‘relational’ account of painfulness in particular, and of negative affect in general, should take, in light of these criticisms of evaluativism. In my view, such views should appeal, not to negative evaluations to explain feeling bad, but to dislike
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DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12110
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References found in this work BETA

Value, Reality, and Desire.Graham Oddie - 2005 - Clarendon Press.
What Makes Pains Unpleasant?David Bain - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):69-89.

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Citations of this work BETA

Why Take Painkillers?David Bain - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):462-490.
The World According to Suffering.Antti Kauppinen - 2020 - In Michael S. Brady, David Bain & Jennifer Corns (eds.), The Philosophy of Suffering. London: Routledge.
Neo‐Pragmatism, Representationalism and the Emotions.Joshua Gert - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):454-478.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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