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William James on emotion and intentionality

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Abstract:

William James's theory of emotion is often criticized for placing too much emphasis on bodily feelings and neglecting the cognitive aspects of emotion. This paper suggests that such criticisms are misplaced. Interpreting James's account of emotion in the light of his later philosophical writings, I argue that James does not emphasize bodily feelings at the expense of cognition. Rather, his view is that bodily feelings are part of the structure of intentionality. In reconceptualizing the relationship between cognition and affect, James rejects a number of commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of our cognitive relationship with the world, assumptions that many of his critics take for granted.

Keywords: affect; cognition; emotion; experience; feeling; intentionality

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09672550500080405

Affiliations: University of Durham, England

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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