Emotion and the function of consciousness

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Certain arguments that phenomenal conscious states play no role, or play a role that could be different, depend upon the seeming plausibility of thought experiments such as the inverted spectrum or phenomenal zombie. These thought experiments are always run for perceptual states like colour vision. Run for affective states like emotions, they become absurd, because the prior intension of our concepts of emotional states are that the phenomenal experience is inseparable from their motivational aspects. Our growing scientific understanding of emotion and motivation lends inductive evidence to this view. This points the way towards a positive hypothesis that affective consciousness is type-specific to its function.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Department of Cognitive Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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