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On the Very Idea of “Negative Emotions”

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Kristján Kristjánsson, On the Very Idea of “Negative Emotions”, pp. 351–364

As attention has shifted towards the emotions in general, the notion of so-called negative emotions has come in for renewed interest. The author explores this notion and argues that its invocation cannot be done without cost to our understanding since it obscures all sorts of relevant complexities. There are thus no emotions around to which we can helpfully refer collectively as “negative,” although there are of course painful emotions, emotions that negatively evaluate states of affairs, emotions that are negatively morally evaluated, and so forth. Furthermore, while attempts are under way to reappraise various (commonly) negatively evaluated emotions, those attempts involve different kinds of argument which cannot and should not be collected together as “defenses of negative emotions.”
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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