Self-interpretation and emotion [electronic resource].
- Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Philosophy.
Philosophy -- Penn dissertations.
- System Details:
- Mode of access: World Wide Web.
- In this dissertation I argue that self-interpretive processes play a central role in the production of emotions.
I begin in Chapter One by reconstructing Charles Taylor's work on the subject: I use Taylor as a starting point in order to set out two theses about the role of self-interpretation in emotion. According to the first thesis, we interpret physiological responses to events and situations in order to produce emotions; this I call direct self-interpretation, and the process results in the assignment of meaning or aboutness to the response. I argue that without this meaning responses are not emotions or emotional. According to the other thesis we interpret ourselves and our relationships to others in order to establish a background against which emotion-producing appraisals can be made; this I call indirect self-interpretation.
In the chapters that follow I appeal to literature in experimental psychology to show that these theses are plausible. In Chapters Two and Three I show that direct self-interpretation is at work in the (supposedly) basic emotions, emotions for which a reflex-like appraisal process produces a physiological response. And in the fourth chapter I extend this account to the formation of all emotions. In that chapter I outline two comprehensive (though speculative) accounts of emotion, according to which what are called non-basic emotions are also the product of direct self-interpretation. On the one I take to be more plausible, non-basic emotions are formed in two stages: first, there is a reflex-like appraisal of a situation in general terms, for example, an appraisal of a situation as being one of social conflict, and second, the direct self-interpretation of the response produces a particular emotion, like shame, envy, or anger. Finally, in the Postscript I describe the recent the literature on the construction of emotion. I argue that most of the claims running through that literature are not compelling, but the claim that emotions are constructed in virtue of the role played by indirect self-interpretation should not be controversial.
- Thesis (Ph.D. in Philosophy) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2002.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 63-05, Section: A, page: 1858.
Supervisor: Gary Hatfield.
- Local notes:
- School code: 0175.
- Hatfield, Gary, advisor
University of Pennsylvania.
- Contained In:
- Dissertation Abstracts International 63-05A.
- Access Restriction:
- Restricted for use by site license.
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