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Are Emotions Feelings?

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The majority of emotion researchers reject the feeling theory of emotions; they deny that emotions are feelings. Some of these researchers admit that emotions have feelings as components, but they insist that emotions contain other components as well, such as cognitions. I argue for a qualified version of the feeling theory. I present evidence in support William James's conjecture that emotions are perceptions of patterned changes in the body. When such perceptions are conscious, they qualify as feelings. But the bodily perceptions constituting emotions can occur unconsciously. When that occurs, emotions are unfelt. Thus, emotions are feelings when conscious, and they are not feelings when unconscious. In the end of the paper, I briefly sketch a theory of how emotions and other perceptual states become conscious.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, Caldwell Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA ., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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