It is an important feature of creatures like us that our various motivations compete for control over our behaviour, including mental behaviour such as imagining and attending. In large part, this competition is adjudicated by the stimulation of affect — the intrinsically pleasant or unpleasant aspects of experience. In this paper I argue that the motivation-affect system controls a sub-type of attention called 'alerting attention' to bring various goals and stimuli to consciousness and thereby prioritize those contents for action. This (...) view allows me to flesh out the global workspace theory of consciousness, as well as some of the phenomenal characteristics of conscious experience. (shrink)
If we were to connect two individuals’ brains together, how would this affect the individuals’ conscious experiences? In particular, it is possible for two people to share any of their conscious experiences; to simultaneously enjoy some token experiences while remaining distinct subjects? The case of the Hogan twins—craniopagus conjoined twins whose brains are connected at the thalamus—seems to show that this can happen. I argue that while practical empirical methods cannot tell us directly whether or not the twins share conscious (...) experiences, considerations about the locality of content processing in the brain entails that they most likely do so. (shrink)
In this article we examine obsessive compulsive disorder. We examine and reject two existing models of this disorder: the Dysfunctional Belief Model and the Inference-Based Approach. Instead, we propose that the main distinctive characteristic of OCD is a hyperactive sub-personal signal of being in error, experienced by the individual as uncertainty about his or her intentional actions. This signalling interacts with the anxiety sensitivities of the individual to trigger conscious checking processes, including speculations about possible harms. We examine the implications (...) of this model for the individual's capacity to control his or her thoughts. (shrink)
In this book, Tom Cochrane develops a new control theory of the emotions and related affective states. Grounded in the basic principle of negative feedback control, his original account outlines a new fundamental kind of mental content called 'valent representation'. Upon this foundation, Cochrane constructs new models for emotions, pains and pleasures, moods, expressive behaviours, evaluative reasoning, personality traits and long-term character commitments. These various states are presented as increasingly sophisticated layers of regulative control, which together underpin the architecture of (...) the mind as a whole. Clearly structured and containing numerous diagrams and examples to illustrate the discussion, this study draws on the latest research from fields including philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, and will appeal to readers interested in the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion. (shrink)
I argue for the possibility of an extremely intimate connection between the emotional content of the music and the emotional state of the person who produces that music. Under certain specified conditions, the music may not just influence, but also partially constitute the musician’s emotional state.
This book defends Aestheticism- the claim that everything is aesthetically valuable and that a life lived in pursuit of aesthetic value can be a particularly good one. Furthermore, in distilling aesthetic qualities, artists have a special role to play in teaching us to recognize values; a critical component of virtue. I ground my account upon an analysis of aesthetic value as ‘objectified final value’, which is underwritten by an original psychological claim that all aesthetic values are distal versions of practical (...) values. This is followed by systematic accounts of beauty, sublimity, comedy, drama, and tragedy, as well as appendix entries on the cute, the cool, the kitsch, the uncanny, the horrific, the erotic, and the furious. (shrink)
This paper examines the causal basis of our ability to attribute emotions to music, developing and synthesizing the existing arousal, resemblance and persona theories of musical expressivity to do so. The principal claim is that music hijacks the simulation mechanism of the brain, a mechanism which has evolved to detect one's own and other people's emotions.
The literature on the venerable aesthetic category of the sublime often provides us with lists of sublime phenomena — mountains, storms, deserts, volcanoes, oceans, the starry sky, and so on. But it has long been recognized that what matters is the experience of such objects. We then find that one of the most consistent claims about this experience is that it involves an element of fear. Meanwhile, the recognition of the sublime as a category of aesthetic appreciation implies that attraction, (...) admiration or pleasure is also present.1However, there is also a sense of fear and attraction when we watch car chases or fights. Neither of these is an occasion for the sublime so much as a visceral sort of excitement.2 As .. (shrink)
This paper develops a mechanistic account of basic mental agency by identifying similarities between two of its major exemplars: endogenous attention and imagination. Five key similarities are identified: i) that both capacities are driven by currently prioritised goals that are either person-level or apt to become person-level. ii) that both deliver their outputs to the working memory iii) that both range across all and only conceptual contents; iv) that both proceed under the guidance of norms and/or habits; and v) that (...) both directly activate rather than inhibit content. These five features are consolidated by proposing that basic mental agency is essentially the power to call for conceptual content and hold it within our working memories. (shrink)
The author proposes a dimensional model of our emotion concepts that is intended to be largely independent of one’s theory of emotions and applicable to the different ways in which emotions are measured. He outlines some conditions for selecting the dimensions based on these motivations and general conceptual grounds. Given these conditions he then advances an 8-dimensional model that is shown to effectively differentiate emotion labels both within and across cultures, as well as more obscure expressive language. The 8 dimensions (...) are: (1) attracted—repulsed, (2) powerful—weak, (3) free—constrained, (4) certain—uncertain, (5) generalized—focused, (6) future directed—past directed, (7) enduring—sudden, (8) socially connected—disconnected. (shrink)
This paper contrasts individual and collective listening to music, with particular regard to the expressive qualities of music. In the first half of the paper a general model of joint attention is introduced. According to this model, perceiving together modifies the intrinsic structure of the perceptual task, and encourages a convergence of responses to a greater or lesser degree. The model is then applied to music, looking first at the silent listening situation typical to the classical concert hall, and second (...) the noisy listening situation typical to rock or jazz concerts. (shrink)
In this chapter I analyse group flow: a state in which performers report intense interpersonal absorption with the music and each other. I compare group flow to individual flow, and argue that the same essential structure can be discerned. I argue that group flow does not justify an anti-representationalist enactivist interpretation. However, I claim that the cognitive task in which the music is produced is irreducibly collective.
I argue that while the feeling of bodily responses is not necessary to emotion, these feelings contribute significant meaningful content to everyday emotional experience. Emotional bodily feelings represent a ‘state of self’, analysed as a sense of one's body affording certain patterns of interaction with the environment. Recognising that there are two sources of intentional content in everyday emotional experience allows us to reconcile the diverging intuitions that people have about emotional states, and to understand better the long-standing debate between (...) bodily feeling-based and appraisal-based theories of emotion. (shrink)
This article defends a persona theory of musical expressivity. After briefly summarising the major arguments for this view, it applies persona theory to the issue of whether music can express complex emotions. The expression of jealousy is then discussed by analysis of two examples from Piazzolla and Janacek.
This article reviews some of the ways in which philosophical problems concerning music can be informed by approaches from the cognitive sciences (principally psychology and neuroscience). Focusing on the issues of musical expressiveness and the arousal of emotions by music, the key philosophical problems and their alternative solutions are outlined. There is room for optimism that while current experimental data does not always unambiguously satisfy philosophical scrutiny, it can potentially support one theory over another, and in some cases allow us (...) to synthesize or reject traditional philosophical differences. (shrink)
How can an abstract sequence of sounds so intensely express emotional states? In the past ten years, research into the topic of music and emotion has flourished. This book explores the relationship between music and emotion, bringing together contributions from psychologists, neuroscientists, musicologists, musicians, and philosophers .
In this paper I present an account of musical arousal that takes into account key demands of formalist philosophers such as Peter Kivy and Nick Zangwill. Formalists prioritise our understanding and appreciation of the music itself. As a result, they demand that any feelings we have in response to music must be directed at the music alone, without being distracted by non-musical associations. To accommodate these requirements I appeal to a mechanism of contagion which I synthesize with the expectation-based arousal (...) mechanism proposed by Leonard Meyer. This account connects musical expressivity and arousal in a way that formalists have rejected, but I argue that it provides the best explanation of our observations of listener responses while also focusing on the music itself. (shrink)
I examine the role that the musical instrument plays in shaping a performer's expressive activity and emotional state. I argue that the historical development of the musical instrument has fluctuated between two key values: that of sharing with other musicians, and that of creatively exploring new possibilities. I introduce 'the mood organ'- a sensor-based computer instrument that automatically turns signals of the wearer's emotional state into expressive music.
I defend the claim that fictional narratives provide cognitive benefits to readers in virtue of helping them to understand character. Fictions allow readers to rehearse the skill of selecting and organizing into narratives those episodes of a life that reflect traits or values. Two further benefits follow: first, fictional narratives provide character models that we can apply to real-life individuals (including ourselves), and second, fictional narratives help readers to reflect on the value priorities that constitute character. I defend the plausibility (...) of these cognitive benefits against certain worries raised by Gregory Currie and Peter Goldie. (shrink)
This paper identifies a tension between the commitment to forming rationally justified emotions and the happy life. To illustrate this tension I begin with a critical evaluation of the positive psychology technique known as ‘gratitude training’. I argue that gratitude training is at odds with the kind of critical monitoring that several philosophers have claimed is regulative of emotional rationality. More generally, critical monitoring undermines exuberance, an attitude that plays a central role in contemporary models of the happy life. Thus, (...) prominent notions of what it takes to maintain emotion rationality and what it takes to maintain happiness are in tension. To resolve this tension, I argue that some people have good reason to depreciate critical monitoring—even while maintaining the requirement of emotion rationality that we be sensitive to facts about how our concerns are faring. (shrink)
This is a precis of The Emotional Mind (2018, Cambridge University Press), summarising the key claims of the book chapter by chapter. It covers the theories of mental content (valent representation), pleasure and pain, emotions, emotional bodily feelings, social emotions, the relationship between reason and emotion, the model of character, and the general model of mental architecture presented in the book.