Valence is a central component of all affective states, including pains, pleasures, emotions, moods, and feelings of desire or repulsion.This paper has two main goals. One is to suggest that enough is now known about the causes, consequences, and properties of valence to indicate that it forms a unitary natural-psychological kind, one that seemingly plays a fundamental role in motivating all kinds of intentional action. If this turns out to be true, then the correct characterization of the nature of valence becomes an urgent philosophical issue. There appear to be just two accounts that have the required generality. According to one, valence is a nonconceptual representation of value. According to the other, valence is an intrinsic qualitative property of experience. The second goal of the paper is to contrast and evaluate these two views of the nature of valence, drawing on the relevant empirical findings. Overall, I suggest that the representational account is more plausible.