, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 135-148
Date: 13 Sep 2011

What someone’s behaviour must be like if we are to be aware of their emotions in it

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Introduction

I start with the assumption that emotional states are perceivable features of emotionally expressive behaviour.

This assumption is not only very natural but is also accepted by many philosophers. See Scheler (1973 edition), McDowell (1978, 136), Gallagher and Zahavi (2008), Stout (2010) and Smith (2010) for a selection. I will only consider here emotional states; but I have no doubt that the same claim can be made about other mental states too.

The key thing about this assumption is that emotional states are taken to be present in this expressive behaviour. I will argue that the only way to make sense of this is to think of emotionally expressive behaviour in terms of a process of behaving and not as an event or sequence of event stages. In particular, emotionally expressive behaviour must be taken to be a process of the emotion, considered as some sort of potentiality, being realised. In that way we can see emotions as being manifest in their expression.

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