Explaining expressions of emotion

Mind 109 (433):25-38 (2000)
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Abstract

The question is how to explain expressions of emotion. It is argued that not all expressions of emotion are open to the same sort of explanation. Those expressions which are actions can be explained, like other sorts of action, by reference to a belief and a desire; however, no genuine expression of emotion is done as a means to some further end. Certain expressions of emotion which are actions can also be given a deeper explanation as being expressive of a wish. Expressions of emotion which are not actions cannot be given a belief-desire explanation: no belief is involved, and a desire is involved only in an honorific sense of 'desire'. The distinction amongst expressions of emotion between those which are actions and those which are not is not a precise one, and the paper concludes with some speculative remarks about borderline cases such as jumping for joy.

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Peter Goldie
Manchester

Citations of this work

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References found in this work

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
The expression of the emotions in man and animal.Charles Darwin - 1898 - Mineola, New York: Dover Publications.
The Thread of Life.Richard Wollheim - 1984 - New Haven: Cambridge University Press.
Arational actions.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):57-68.
The Thread of Life.Richard Wollheim - 1984 - The Personalist Forum 1 (1):55-58.

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