On the deep structure of social affect: Attitudes, emotions, sentiments, and the case of “contempt”

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 40 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Contempt is typically studied as a uniquely human moral emotion. However, this approach has yielded inconclusive results. We argue this is because the folk affect concept “contempt” has been inaccurately mapped onto basic affect systems. “Contempt” has features that are inconsistent with a basic emotion, especially its protracted duration and frequently cold phenomenology. Yet other features are inconsistent with a basic attitude. Nonetheless, the features of “contempt” functionally cohere. To account for this, we revive and reconfigure thesentimentconstruct using the notion of evolved functional specialization. We develop the Attitude–Scenario–Emotion model of sentiments, in which enduring attitudes represent others' social-relational value and moderate discrete emotions across scenarios. Sentiments are functional networks of attitudes and emotions. Distinct sentiments, includinglove,respect,like,hate, andfear, track distinct relational affordances, and each is emotionally pluripotent, thereby serving both bookkeeping and commitment functions within relationships. The sentimentcontemptis an absence ofrespect; from cues to others' low efficacy, it represents them as worthless and small, mutingcompassion,guilt, andshameand potentiatinganger,disgust, andmirth. This sentiment is ancient yet implicated in the ratcheting evolution of human ultrasocialty. The manifolds of thecontemptnetwork, differentially engaged across individuals and populations, explain the features of “contempt,” its translatability, and its variable experience as “hot” or “cold,” occurrent or enduring, and anger-like or disgust-like. This rapprochement between psychological anthropology and evolutionary psychology contributes both methodological and empirical insights, with broad implications for understanding the functional and cultural organization of social affect.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,261

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Value and the regulation of the sentiments.Justin D’Arms - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):3-13.
The Dispositional Structure of Sentiments.Omar Rosas - 2011 - Ideas Y Valores 60 (145):5-31.
Shame and Contempt in Kant's Moral Theory.Krista K. Thomason - 2013 - Kantian Review 18 (2):221-240.
A woman’s scorn.Macalester Bell - 2000 - Hypatia 20 (4):80-93.
Contempt as a moral attitude.Michelle Mason - 2003 - Ethics 113 (2):234-272.
Punitive emotions and Norm violations.Benoît Dubreuil - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (1):35 – 50.
Emotion, cognition et sentiment.Stephen Grant - 2008 - Synthesis Philosophica 23 (1):53-71.
The emotions: a philosophical introduction.Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2012 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Fabrice Teroni.
Meta-emotions.Christoph Jäger & Anne Bartsch - 2006 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 73 (1):179-204.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-12-02

Downloads
35 (#459,020)

6 months
14 (#184,493)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?