Abstract and Keywords
Philosophical research in the emotions is now extremely active and productive. It is now a familiar point that only a relatively short while ago philosophical interest in the emotions was really quite sparse; a browse through a typical handbook of philosophy of mind in the 1960s might well reveal little or nothing in the index under ‘emotion’, let alone anything so grand as an entry on its own. There are, on the one hand, those theories that owe their ancestry to the work of William James, arguing that emotions are bodily feelings or perceptions of bodily feelings; and, on the other hand, those theories that owe their ancestry to Aristotle and the Stoics, arguing that emotions are cognitive, world-directed intentional states. Other philosophers have argued that, whilst there are analogies to be drawn between emotion and other kinds of mental state, emotions are, at bottom, sui generis.
Philosophical research in the emotions is now extremely active and productive, and it is a testament to this fact that Oxford University Press commissioned this Handbook, containing thirty chapters of original research from top scholars working in this field.
It is now a familiar point that only a relatively short while ago philosophical interest in the emotions was really quite sparse; a browse through a typical handbook of philosophy of mind in the 1960s might well reveal little or nothing in the index under ‘emotion’, let alone anything so grand as an entry on its own. Philosophy of mind in the Anglo‐Saxon tradition was for a long time (and in some ways still is) preoccupied with the mind–body problem, involving such questions as how mental properties and events can have a place in a material world, and had little truck with the work of the phenomenologists, much of which included insightful discussions of the emotions. If one is concerned with the mind–body problem, it is perfectly natural to focus on what are, so to speak, paradigmatic mental properties and events, such as being in pain, or coming to believe that it is raining. The emotions are messier, seeming somehow to be represented on both sides of the mind–body divide—both paradigmatically mental, and paradigmatically bodily. So it would be odd to choose, as an entry‐point into the mind–body debate, the emotion of fear or disgust for example, instead of pain or belief. Furthermore, there was a tendency in Anglo‐Saxon philosophy of mind—a tendency exemplified in decision theory and functionalism—to assimilate emotion into other more familiar (and supposedly better understood) kinds of mental state such as belief and desire, leaving the ‘feeling’ side of emotion to the psychologists.
(p. 2) Why has this dramatic change in philosophical interest in the emotions taken place? There are, perhaps, a number of reasons, and thinking about what they are might help to throw some light on the rationale for this Handbook and for the individual chapters that it includes.
To begin with, philosophers of mind have become increasingly interested in empirical work in other disciplines, exemplified by the growth of cognitive science, which is the interdisciplinary study of mind, including philosophy, developmental psychology, evolutionary psychology, social psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. These other disciplines have for a long time taken a close interest in the emotions. For example, evolutionary psychology and anthropology have been engaged in the question of which emotions, and which facial expressions of emotion, are ‘basic’, pan‐cultural amongst humans, and shared with non‐human animals (Darwin, 1889/1998; Ekman, 1972); developmental psychologists have engaged with the emotions in young children (Harris, 1989), and with the emotions in our sense of self and in various kinds of psychopathologies (Blair et al., 2005); neuroscientists have engaged with the neural correlates of emotion in humans and other animals (LeDoux, 1998); and emotion‐oriented computing has been concerned with how to emulate emotionality in robots (Trappl et al., 2002).
Secondly, and bound up with this, there has been an increasing awareness on the part of philosophy of the importance of emotion in practical reason, combined with an acceptance that this is not simply an issue for empirical psychology (Rorty, 1980). To begin with (as was accepted by Plato and Aristotle), emotions can help to explain the phenomenon which has proved the bane of decision theory: weakness of the will (akrasia), which involves acting against one's own judgement about what it is best to do, or acting impetuously and without due deliberation. For example, one might decide that it is best not to make that retort at the meeting to the infuriating remark of one's collegue, and yet, in spite of this, one speaks up, regretting it later as ‘an angry outburst’. In contrast, and equally in need of explanation, emotion can sometimes lead to the right kind of action. Many thinkers now claim that the deliverances of our emotions can give rise to fast responses to the environment, involving little or no conscious deliberation, and that having these ‘fast and frugal’ responses can be adaptive for the individual, and even can be rational—although it is much disputed what norms of rationality this kind of thinking conforms to, and precisely how it relates to the cooler, more considered kind of reasoning in what has been called the ‘two‐track mind’ (Gigerenzer, 2000; Gigerenzer & Selten, 2002; Samuels et al., 2002).
A third factor that has generated such an increase in philosophical interest in the emotions is a change in the landscape of philosophical ethics. Once dominated by Kantian and utilitarian ethics, there seemed to be little place for the emotions, but with the arrival of virtue‐theoretical approaches (Anscombe, 1958), and recalling (p. 3) the work of Aristotle and the sentimentalists such as David Hume, the importance of emotion in ethics began to be properly appreciated. Combined with this has been an enormous increase in well‐informed empirical research into how people come to make moral judgements—what has been called the ‘cognitive science of morality’ (Sinnott‐Armstrong, 2008). For a long time, it has been known that ‘intuition’ has an important role in ethics (Stratton‐Lake, 2002), and it is now increasingly accepted, in the light of research on the two‐track mind, that the emotions are somehow implicated in intuitive thinking. For example, Paul Slovic (2007) has considered our responses to genocide and mass suffering, which tend to involve less motivation to help than our responses to salient individual suffering. What is missing when we deliberate about large numbers of people, Slovic argues, is emotion. Of course it remains an open question whether our intuitive reponses deliver up good, justifying reasons, or merely explanatory reasons as to why we make the judgements that we do (Singer, 2005).
Fourthly, work in philosophical aesthetics now shows a real appreciation of the role of emotion in our responses to works of art: to music and literature (Robinson, 2005; Budd, 1985; Kivy, 1989); to film and theatre (Carroll, 2001); and, more controversially, to the plastic arts—pictures and sculptures in particular. Again, this work is often informed by empirical research in psychology and neuroscience. Also, much recent philosophical research is being done at the intersection of ethics and aesthetics (Levinson, 1998; Hagberg, 2008; Goldie, 2007), so it is increasingly important to consider how the aesthetic emotions bear on morality and on moral thought and talk, and vice versa—how the moral emotions bear on the aesthetic (Gaut 2007).
So, for these and other reasons, what we now have is a philosophical environment which is very receptive to emotion research, involving a highly stimulating synthesis of empirical and conceptual work. It is with this intellectual background in mind that the particular contributions to this Handbook were invited and have been written. The Handbook presents the best, state‐of‐the‐art, views on the emotions from the top scholars in the field. But it does not purport to give the final word on all the topics surveyed; rather, it hopes to enhance future research in this increasingly important philosophical area.
Part I: What Emotions Are
Part I of the Handbook is concerned with the very lively debate about just what emotions are—a debate that, in many respects, revisits the debate in psychology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Reisenzein & Döring, 2009). (p. 4) There are, on the one hand, those theories that owe their ancestry to the work of William James (1884; 1890/1981), arguing that emotions are bodily feelings or perceptions of bodily feelings; and, on the other hand, those theories that owe their ancestry to Aristotle and the Stoics, arguing that emotions are cognitive, world‐directed intentional states. Other philosophers have argued that, whilst there are analogies to be drawn between emotion and other kinds of mental state, emotions are, at bottom, sui generis (de Sousa, 1987; Goldie, 2000).
John Deigh, in ‘Concepts of Emotions in Modern Philosophy and Psychology’, begins Part I with a survey of these two main theories of emotion, and a recent variant of the intentionalist view, the theory that emotions are specifically perceptual world‐directed states. Arguing that feeling theories are unable to accommodate the obvious world‐directed intentionality of emotion, and that cognitivist theories are unable to accommodate the simple fact of emotion in beasts and babies, Deigh suggests that any concept of emotions that is adequate for understanding the emotions of beasts, babies, and adult human beings must incorporate some account of how the emotions that are distinctive of adult human beings are the product of moral education.
Aaron Ben‐Ze'ev, in ‘The Thing Called Emotion’, puts forward his own theory of what an emotion is. The category of emotion, he says, is prototypical, without necessary and sufficient conditions for membership. Accordingly, he argues, the right approach to the question of what emotions are is through a description of a typical emotion: its causes, characteristics, and components. In the light of their complexity and variety, Ben‐Ze'ev argues that emotions are best understood as a unique kind of mental mode.
Roddy Cowie, in ‘Describing the Forms of Emotional Colouring that Pervade Everyday Life’, takes a different approach. He considers the enormous difficulties in getting a fix on how emotions feature in our everyday lives—in what Cowie calls our ‘emotional life’. This is important not only for developing effective and ethically sound human–machine emotion interaction, which is Cowie's direct concern, but also for drawing comparisons (often quite surprising) between the broad emotional colouring of our everyday lives, and the artificial and isolated conditions of the controlled experiment.
Ronald de Sousa, in ‘The Mind's Bermuda Triangle: Philosophy of Emotions and Empirical Science’, expresses doubt about whether philosophy alone, in the form of introspective phenomenology, can give reliable access to the meaning of our mental states, and of our emotions in particular. What is needed is proper interaction with the sciences, and de Sousa goes on to argue that a scientifically informed understanding of the two‐track mind can throw light on a number of puzzles involving emotion.
(p. 5) Part II: The History of Emotion
The six contributions to Part II show clearly how much there is still to be learned from a careful study of the history of philosophical work in the emotions: without this kind of study, the history of philosophy, like history, is bound to repeat itself, often with little or no gain on what has gone before.
A. W. Price considers the intricate and subtly shifting conceptions of emotions that we find in Plato and Aristotle, each of whom came to see emotions as involving both body and soul, and as resisting reduction either to mere feelings accompanying bodily states, or to pure mental cognition. Price denies that the ‘spirited’ part of Plato's tripartite soul in the Republic incorporates all emotion, but notes that Plato later loosens his conceptions both of the spirited part and of tripartition. He shows how Plato increasingly emphasizes the phenomenology of emotional experience in addition to its cognitive aspect. In this he paves the way for Aristotle, who may or may not have thought that belief is necessary for emotion, but held that, when beliefs are involved, they may well be creatures of appearance (or phantasia).
The traditional reading of the view of emotions in Stoicism (and to some extent Epicureanism) is that it is firmly cognitive, with, for example, the Stoics defining emotion in terms that would exclude beasts and babies from emotionality. But Christopher Gill, in his chapter, makes it clear that this cognitivism by no means excludes human emotions from having a role beyond cognition, particularly in human physiology, in value and natural functioning, and in interpersonal and social relations. Gill discusses a key difference between the Stoic and the Epicurean positions, in that the latter held that our natural constitution leads us to pursue pleasure, although this does not exclude the possibility of our caring about interpersonal relationships.
Peter King surveys some of the competing theories of the emotions prevailing in the Middle Ages. Beginning with Augustine's response to Stoic theories of the emotions and his formulation of an eclectic mix of ancient theories, King traces the ways in which Augustine's views influenced the rest of the Middle Ages. In the twelfth century, Anselm and Abelard explored the idea that emotions are closely linked to volition. In the thirteenth century, Aquinas and others tried to offer a systematic theory of emotions along the lines of an Aristotelian science. Other thinkers, such as Scotus and Ockham, offered an alternative theory at the end of the thirteenth and start of the fourteenth centuries. Later scholastic thought developed the debates in such a way as to prepare the ground for the wholesale rejection of medieval theories in Renaissance and early modern philosophy.
Kate Abramson, in her chapter, sets out to defend Hume and his sentimentalist contemporaries against a familiar charge, Kantian in spirit, directed towards their (p. 6) emphasis on the sentiments of disdain, shame, and contempt. Taking contempt, for example, the intimately related charges at issue are that this sentiment denies the wrongdoer all moral worth, that it necessarily involves a ‘globalizing’ attitude (attributed to the person as a whole), that its typical forms of expression effectively exclude a person from the community of moral agents rather than hold her accountable, and that contempt—like other attitudes in this family—is not even felt from a standpoint which could be responsibility‐conferring. In reply, Abramson argues that contempt need not involve any of these objectionable features. And she also argues that the sentimentalists did not think of contempt in these objectionable ways.
In ‘Emotions in Heidegger and Sartre’, Anthony Hatzimoysis argues that the essential insight of the phenomenologists is to place emphasis on the role of emotion in our engagement with the world—their world‐directedness, attaching less importance to the subjective experience of emotion. For Heidegger, our affective states are bound up with our cognition and perception; unless we approach the world in an appropriate affective state—with the right ‘attunement’—we will not grasp the world as it really is. And, as Sartre emphasizes, there is not only our immediate affective engagement with the world but our reflective engagement with our experiences, where our emotions themselves become an object of consciousness.
Louis Charland notes first that the passions have now been more or less marginalized: we now live in the ‘age of emotion’. Drawing on the history of psychopathology, Charland argues for a reinstatement of the passions, understood as complex, long‐lasting affective states, as contrasted with the shorter‐lived emotions; ‘passion’, Charland says, is a ‘necessary theoretical posit and category in affective science’.
Part III: Emotions and Practical Reason
We have already noted the increasing awareness of the importance of the role of emotions in practical reason, but precisely what this role is remains a subject of contention. Once it is seen that emotions are not simply non‐rational impulses, no more part of an explanation of, or motivation for, an action than a shove in the back, questions arise about precisely what the role of emotions is here. Emotions somehow have to have a rational role, but nevertheless a role that can somehow conflict with reason, notably in cases of weakness of will. Another contentious (p. 7) question here is the motivating role of emotions, and whether emotions motivate in virtue of a disposition to act in some way, or from the presence of desire as a constituent part of the emotion, or in some other way.
Jon Elster, in ‘Emotional Choice and Rational Choice’, argues that the standard model of action explanation needs to be modified to account for the role of emotion. The components of the standard model can each be influenced by emotion: action can be influenced directly in cases of weakness of will; desire can be influenced in cases of temporary preference reversal; belief can be influenced directly in cases such as wishful thinking; and belief can be influenced indirectly in cases where the urgency of emotion unduly influences the processes of information‐gathering.
Sabine Döring is also concerned with the role of emotion in agency. This role, she argues, is not in terms of rational guidance, so as to allow for rational or even moral akrasia. On Döring's view, the emotions instead fulfil an indispensable epistemic function and can help us to question our existing reasons, and to formulate new and better ones. Therefore she claims, first, that agents should take their emotions into account when reflecting on what they have reason to do, even though this may temporarily lead to conflicts between emotions and ‘better’ judgements: in the end, these conflicts may be productive. Secondly, Döring thus concludes that agency does not exhaust itself in the rational guidance of isolated actions at singular moments but also manifests itself in the ongoing cultivation and improvement of reasons for action over time.
The next two chapters are concerned with the rational role of emotion in motivation. Bennett W. Helm distinguishes between mere goal‐directedness and intentional actions, arguing that the latter normally are ‘rational responses to what we care about’, to what has ‘import’ to us, where this import is seen as a reason for action. Emotions, Helm argues, play an essential role in motivating action insofar as they are commitments to import—a role that neo‐Jamesian accounts of emotions cannot accommodate.
Christine Tappolet, in ‘Emotion, Motivation, and Action: The Case of Fear’, is also concerned with the motivational component of emotion. She argues against two familiar theses, using fear as her leading example, largely because fear is a type of emotion where these theses might seem to have greatest appeal. The first is the thesis of motivational modularity: the thesis that emotions involve rigid and innate behavioural dispositions, often described as ‘action‐tendencies’. Even if plausible for certain non‐human animals, Tappolet argues that it is implausible for humans. The second is the thesis of motivational egoism: the thesis that motivation aims only at the interests of the organism. Tappolet argues, against this, that fear, when it is fear for others, involves altruistic motivations.
(p. 8) Part IV: Emotions and the Self
Apart from their role in practical reason, in ethics, and in aesthetics, emotions and feelings are often taken to be—and surely rightly so—important to each of us as the sort of person we are, and, moreover, important epistemically in guiding us towards knowledge in our engagement with the world.
Matthew Ratcliffe examines the special importance of mood. He argues that mood differs from emotion in its phenomenology and in its nature much more than many scholars suggest. He focuses on the phenomenology of those moods that are responsible for the ‘meaning of life’—that constitute the experienced meaningfulness of the world. These kinds of mood, Ratcliffe argues, are not intentional states but are instead ‘part of the background structure of intentionality and are presupposed by the possibility of intentionally directed emotions’; moods are that through which we experience the world. He then goes on to argue that ‘deep’ moods, unlike emotions in this respect too, are pre‐intentional, non‐conceptual bodily feelings which provide ‘spaces of significant possibility’.
Unlike other animals, we can think and talk about our emotions. In ‘Saying It’, David Pugmire examines the vexed question of whether our emotions can change by our giving ‘verbal form’ to them, and, furthermore, he asks whether some of our emotions resist verbal expression—whether they are ineffable. He argues in favour of ‘reticence’: what we say can be inadequate to the feeling, or distorting, or distancing. And yet, as he goes on to discuss, there is also something to be said in the opposite direction, in favour of what he calls ‘affirmation’—giving verbal expression to one's emotions.
Adam Morton argues for a vital role for epistemic emotions—for emotions such as curiosity and intellectual interest that guide us in the acquisition of true beliefs. He begins by contrasting these emotions and their related epistemic virtues, and shows that on certain occasions virtue alone is not enough: for example, in exploring a range of possibilities in some intellectual enquiry, experiencing the epistemic emotions themselves can make a difference to the acquisition of knowledge, and enquiry without these emotions would be shallower.
Michael Stocker is also concerned with the role of emotion in the domain of intellectual enquiry—what he calls intellectual emotions, such as pleasure, delight, love of truth, and interest. He begins by showing that there are such emotions, many of which (anger, jealousy, and courage, for example) also occur outside the intellectual domain, and that their presence has been noticed by many of our philosophical predecessors. Then he addresses a concern that is shared with Morton's chapter—a concern to show that intellectual emotions are essential to successful intellectual activity. Again, being ‘an intellectual’, and yet without intellectual emotion, is not enough; and, in this respect, as Stocker notes, this need for having the right feelings is in accord with Aristotle's account of virtue.
(p. 9) It is often argued that ambivalence—lack of clarity or purity of mind—is at all times to be avoided. In ‘A Plea for Ambivalence’, Amelie Rorty argues against what she calls the ‘purists’, showing that sometimes ambivalence is appropriate, constructive, and worth preserving. She argues that there are norms of epistemic responsibility concerning when and in what way ambivalence is an appropriate and constructive state to be in, and that being able to deploy ambivalence appropriately in the public sphere is a civic virtue.
The final chapter in Part IV, by Peter Hobson, addresses different concerns about emotion and the self. As we have already seen, philosophical debate about the emotions has for several millennia been haunted by distinctions among feeling, thought or cognition, and motivation. Hobson argues that the fact that we are able to make these distinctions, using distinct concepts, by no means shows that they are in reality distinct components of our mental economy. Taking a developmental perspective on our ‘social emotions’ of interpersonal engagement, and drawing on his studies of autism, Hobson argues that in infants, feeling, cognition, and motivation are ‘inextricably linked’, and that this continues into adulthood: ‘we are drawn to and moved by our affective engagement with others'. Hobson's more radical claim is that the acquisition of propositional attitudes depends on this being so.
Part V: Emotion, Value, and Morality
As we have seen, the traditional Kantian and utilitarian picture, particularly when it concerns morality, is that our practical reasoning ought to be free of emotion: our emotional responses represent the ‘animal’ side of our nature rather than the rational side (Kant, 1785/1964); and these responses are part of our evolutionary heritage which we would be better off without in deciding what to do (Singer, 2005). This is not the position of any of the contributors to this Handbook: they all consider emotion to be a valuable, or even essential, aspect of our ability to grasp values and to respond as we should, with thought, feeling, and action. But there remain many pressing questions about the details of the relation between emotion and value, answers to which will of course depend on one's preferred account of these two things.
In ‘Emotions and Values’, Kevin Mulligan addresses three central issues. First, he evaluates the view that emotions, understood as world‐directed states, play an epistemic role in furnishing knowledge of value, including in particular the very interesting question of whether emotions are responses to felt value. Secondly, he considers whether value can be understood, or analysed, or explicated, in terms of (p. 10) appropriate emotion. And thirdly, he considers the question of whether emotions might exemplify value, and even whether some emotions might be intrinsically valuable.
Jerome Neu also raises questions concerning the relation between emotion and value, asking whether there are emotions that we morally ought and ought not to feel—whether, for example, we ought not to hate our enemies but to love them, as the Bible commands. If so, this raises questions about emotion and the will: can we control our feelings, and, if not, how can the injunction to have certain feelings have any force? Here Neu distinguishes between the possibility of directly willing to change our emotions, and the more feasible possibility of indirectly changing our emotions through, for example, controlling the kinds of situation that we are in.
Jesse Prinz, in ‘The Moral Emotions’, begins by asking what contribution emotions make to morality, distinguishing between their role in moral motivation and their role in moral epistemology. Secondly, he considers what particular kinds of emotion are involved, distinguishing such emotions as blame, anger, disgust, contempt, guilt, and praise, each of which, he says, has a different functional role, sometimes epistemic, sometimes motivational, and sometimes both. And finally, he asks whether there are distinctively moral emotions, much as Stocker asked about intellectual emotions.
In ‘Learning Emotions and Ethics’, Patricia Greenspan discusses the importance of emotions in early moral learning, arguing that innate, ‘basic’ emotions of the kind postulated in evolutionary psychology do not involve fixed, invariable patterns of responses but rather that they have a degree of plasticity which allows for cultural influences to shape our responses from a very early age. In adults, cognition and language can be vehicles of cultural influence on our moral emotions, and these emotions can in turn play a role in epistemically registering objective values, and in individual motivation to comply with moral norms.
Continuing the discussion of emotion and value, Robert Roberts, in ‘Emotions and the Canons of Evaluation’, begins with the familiar dispute between Aristotelians and Humeans: can our emotions track evaluative truth, or is evaluative truth properly a product of our emotions? Roberts presents his view that emotions are perceptions of value with propositional structure, and shows why the best prospect for sentimentalism lies with a view like his. However, he argues, the sentimentalist needs to base his explanatory project on emotion types that are rich enough in content to yield norms, yet have not themselves been shaped by cultural norms, and Roberts holds that emotions simultaneously satisfying these two conditions are not likely to be found.
Roberts' chapter engages directly with the work of Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson, whose chapter we come to next in this collection. In this chapter, D'Arms and Jacobson consider the sphere of sentimental values, such as the funny, the shameful, and what is worthy of pride. What they call rational sentimentalism holds that these values should be explained in terms of the fittingness of (p. 11) a particular sentiment: for example, what is funny is what it is fitting to be amused by. The particular challenge for sentimentalism that D'Arms and Jacobson address is the ‘instability of affect’: our sentimental responses are ‘notoriously fickle’, a fact which is in tension with the fact that we take values to be stable properties of objects. They argue that what matters in assessing someone's evaluative stance is their underlying, more stable, sensibilities, not the vicissitudes of their actual responses or judgements.
Part VI: Emotion, Art, and Aesthetics
There are manifold connections between emotion and the arts. On what might be called the side of production, the artist might well experience emotions in the making of the artwork, and these emotions might, in one way or another, come to be manifest in, or expressed in, the artwork. On the side of appreciation, there are the feelings and emotions that we experience on engagement with an artwork. There is, then, the question of how these two are related, and in particular whether our emotional engagement with artworks should somehow ‘pick up on’ the emotions expressed by the artist, and, if so, how. And furthermore, in appreciation there is the question of how our emotional engagement with artworks, including in particular narrative artworks, is revelatory of, or expressive of, aspects of our own character. The chapters in this section deal with all of these issues.
Derek Matravers, in ‘Expression in the Arts’, addresses the way in which emotions are manifest in artworks, and in particular in music and painting. Surveying the work of the main philosophers working on expression, the central problem which he considers is how to clarify just what expression is, in order to throw light onto our understanding of art. This is a problem which has proved to be extremely intractable, and Matravers concludes that the reason for this is that, on close examination, the problem fragments: ‘there was no single problem to be solved in the first place’.
Susan Feagin and Jenefer Robinson are both concerned with our affective responses to art: Feagin to literature, and Robinson to music. In ‘Affects in Appreciation’, Feagin focuses on feelings, as contrasted with emotions—for example, a feeling of anxiety or of alienation. She argues that these feelings do not, as some claim, get in the way of appreciation of a literary work but rather are a way of appreciating it, revealing its intricacy, complexity, and depth.
Jenefer Robinson starts with the commonplace that music can give rise to emotions in the listener, very much as other things in the world can do: we are saddened by the music, just as we are saddened by the loss of something we value. (p. 12) And yet this immediately reveals a puzzle, which is how this can be so, given that we do not make any sort of ‘appraisal’ of the music in the way that we do elsewhere: there is nothing in the music for the listener to be sad about. Robinson considers the possibility that some of these responses are moods rather than emotions, and goes on to discuss how both emotion and mood can be a means towards aesthetic understanding and appreciation.
In ‘Emotion, Art, and Immorality’, Matthew Kieran addresses certain asymmetries in our emotional responses to artworks, as compared with our emotional responses in real life. In real life we tend to spurn evil people and morally terrible situations, and yet we are strangely drawn to them in art, and even seem to find value in the imaginative experience, suspending or withholding our normal moral responses. Kieran argues that our empathizing with evil characters in fiction, and otherwise responding with interest and enjoyment in what they do, presents an epistemic and moral challenge that has to be met in working out exactly when, where, and why what we imagine may be morally praiseworthy or condemnable.
Finally, as editor of this volume, I would like to express my thanks to all those involved at Oxford University Press for their support throughout the editorial and production process, and especially to Peter Momtchiloff for suggesting the Handbook to me, and to Michael Janes for doing such a superb job as copy‐editor. Most of all, of course, my thanks go to the individual contributors: each chapter really does make a significant advance in emotion research, and I am sure that readers of this Handbook will find them as fascinating and enjoyable to engage with as I have done.
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