The aim of this paper is to propose a systematic classification of emotions which can also characterize their nature. The first challenge we address is the submission of clear criteria for a theory of emotions that determine which mental phenomena are emotions and which are not. We suggest that emotions as a subclass of mental states are determined by their functional roles. The second and main challenge is the presentation of a classification and theory of emotions that can account for (...) all existing varieties. We argue that we must classify emotions according to four developmental stages: 1. pre-emotions as unfocussed expressive emotion states, 2. basic emotions, 3. primary cognitive emotions, and 4. secondary cognitive emotions. We suggest four types of basic emotions (fear, anger, joy and sadness) which are systematically differentiated into a diversity of more complex emotions during emotional development. The classification distinguishes between basic and non-basic emotions and our multi-factorial account considers cognitive, experiential, physiological and behavioral parameters as relevant for constituting an emotion. However, each emotion type is constituted by a typical pattern according to which some features may be more significant than others. Emotions differ strongly where these patterns of features are concerned, while their essential functional roles are the same. We argue that emotions form a unified ontological category that is coherent and can be well defined by their characteristic functional roles. Our account of emotions is supported by data from developmental psychology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology and sociology. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine a special subgroup of emotion: self-referential emo- tions such as shame, pride and guilt. Self-referential emotions are usually conceptualized as (i) essentially involving the subject herself and as (ii) having complex conditions such as the capacity to represent others’ thoughts. I will show that rather than depending on a fully ﬂedged ‘theory of mind’ and an explicit language-based self-representation, (i) pre-forms of self-referential emotions appear at early developmental stages already exhib- iting their (...) characteristic structure of the intentional object of the emotion being identical with or intricately related to the subject experiencing the emotional state and that (ii) they precede and substantially contribute to the development of more complex representations and to the development of a self-concept, to social interaction and to ways of understand- ing of other minds. (shrink)
In this paper, we put forward an interdisciplinary framework describing different levels of self-representations, namely non-conceptual, conceptual and propositional self-representations. We argue that these different levels of self-representation are differently affected by cultural upbringing: while propositional self-representations rely on “theoretical” concepts and are thus strongly influenced by cultural upbringing, non-conceptual self-representations are uniform across cultures and thus universal. This differentiation offers a theoretical specification of the distinction between an independent and interdependent self-construal put forward in cross-cultural psychology. Hence, this does (...) not only allow for a deeper understanding of different self-conceptions, but also for a formulation of new hypotheses regarding the cultural influence on self-representations. As one example, we will highlight the role of the proposed levels of self-representation for emotional experience and formulate some major implications of our interdisciplinary framework for future empirical research. (shrink)
Defending first-person introspective access to own mental states, we argue against Carruthers' claim of mindreading being prior to meta-cognition and for a fundamental difference between how we understand our own and others' mental states. We conclude that a model based on one mechanism but involving two different kinds of access for self and other is sufficient and more consistent with the evidence.