Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Representationalism and the Intentionality of Moods

  • 240 Accesses

Abstract

It seems hard to comprehend how, during mood experience, the ‘inner’ meets the ‘outer’. The objective of this paper is to show that a currently popular attempt at providing a neat solution to that problem fails. The attempt comes under the heading of representationalism, according to which the phenomenal aspects of mood are exhausted by its representational content. I examine three accounts of intentionality developed within the representationalist camp, and I show that they incur phenomenological and metaphysical costs.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Cf. Ben-Ze'ev (2000) on the significance of change for emotional life.

  2. 2.

    Searle (1983, 2), Dretske (1995, xv), Deonna and Teroni (2012, 4).

  3. 3.

    De Sousa (1987), Goldie (2000), DeLancey (2006).

  4. 4.

    Hatzimoysis (2003a)

  5. 5.

    On the current debate over the nature and limits of privileged access see Hatzimoysis (2011) and Neta (2011).

  6. 6.

    Rattcliffe (2010) includes a good survey of the relevant empirical and interpretative research.

  7. 7.

    That is, also, one of the considerations that can be adduced in support of perceptual accounts of emotion; cf. Elgin (1996), Roberts (2003), Deonna (2006).

  8. 8.

    Delancey (2006); cf. Solomon (1993, 71), Frijda (1994, 60), Prinz (2004, 182–188), Fish (2005).

  9. 9.

    For approaches that adopt some version of that taxonomy see Griffiths (1997), Lormand (1985), Sizer (2000), Nussbaum (2001), and Price (2006). In my view, that approach is problematic not because the affective landscape is homogeneous, but because it is a taxonomy that locates the differences at the wrong level - sometimes differences between emotions are more pronounced than the difference between an emotion and its consequent mood.

  10. 10.

    Cf. Crane’s subtle argumentation in (Crane 1998) and (Crane 2013).

  11. 11.

    Kenny (1963), Tappolet (2000), Terroni (2007).

  12. 12.

    For a balanced discussion of the representationalist movement see Siewert (1998), (Siewert 2012).

  13. 13.

    The argument from transparency can be found in Harman (1990), developed in Tye (2002), elaborated by Byrne (2001). For the varieties of ontological dependency involved in supervenient claims see Hatzimoysis (2003b).

  14. 14.

    De Sousa (2004), Deonna and Teroni (2012), 68–69).

  15. 15.

    Kind (2014), 130).

  16. 16.

    Kind’s line of argumentation at (2014, 130–131) appears to me to imply as much.

  17. 17.

    For Solomon, moods “are about the whole of our world” (Solomon 1976, 173), while for Lyons moods are “aimed out at the world” (Lyons 1980, 104); cf. Annette Baier (1990, 14).

  18. 18.

    For Solomon, moods are “indiscriminately about anything that comes our way, casting happy glows or somber shadows on every object and incident of our experience” (Solomon 1976, 173); Solomon’s proposal is in tune with theories which highlight the puzzling fact that moods appear to be directed at both nothing and everything; cf. Goldie (2000, 18), De Sousa (2010), and Sizer (2000, 747) and for discussion Kind (2014), 120).

  19. 19.

    Mendelovic (2013) ( 2014).

  20. 20.

    I used the simplest interpretation of the notion of ‘object’ to illustrate the problem, but the criticism applies whatever technical notion the representationalist might invoke. If by ‘object’ she means, for instance, an unqualified substratum, or a qualified substance, or a bearer of qualities, the point remains that something need not fall in those ontological categories to count as intentional object.

  21. 21.

    Mendelovic (2013), ( 2014).

  22. 22.

    I leave aside issues raised by haeccity: even if we were to admit such property in our ontology, it would not be of help to the current representationalist proposal, since it is a property bound, by definition, to some particular object.

  23. 23.

    Mendelovic (2013), ( 2014).

References

  1. Baier, A. (1990). What emotions are about. Philosophical Perspectives, 4, 1–29.

  2. Ben-Ze'ev, A. (2000). The subtlety of emotions. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  3. Byrne, A. (2001). Intentionalism defended. Philosophical Review, 110(2), 199–240.

  4. Crane, T. (2013). The objects of thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Crane, T. (1998). Intentionality as the mark of the mental. In A. O’Hear (Ed.), Contemporary issues in the philosophy of mind (pp. 136–157). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  6. De Sousa, R. (1987). The rationality of emotions. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  7. De Sousa, R. (2004). Emotions: What I know, what I’d like to think I know, and what I’d like to think. In R. C. Solomon (Ed.), Thinking About Feeling, ed (pp. 61–75). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  8. De Sousa, Ronald (2010) ‘Emotion’ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2013/entries/emotion/.

  9. DeLancey, C. (2006). Basic moods. Philosophical Psychology, 19, 527–538.

  10. Deonna, J. A. (2006). Emotion, perception and perspective. Dialectica, 60(1), 29–46.

  11. Deonna, J. A., & Teroni, F. (2012). The emotions: A philosophical introduction. New York: Routledge.

  12. Dretske, F. (1995). Naturalizing the mind. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

  13. Elgin, C. (1996). Considered Judgment. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  14. Fish, W. (2005). Emotions, moods, and intentionality. In G. Forrai & G. Kampis (Eds.), Intentionality past and future (pp. 25–35). New York: Rodopi Press.

  15. Frijda, N. (1994). Varieties of affect: Emotions and episodes, moods and sentiments. In P. Ekman & R. Davidson (Eds.), The nature of emotion (pp. 59–67). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  16. Goldie, P. (2000). The emotions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  17. Griffiths, P. E. (1997). What emotions really are: The problem of psychological categories. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

  18. Harman, G. (1990). The Intrinsic Quality of Experience. In N. Block, O. J. Flanagan, & G. Güzeldere (Eds.), The Nature of Consciousness (pp. 663–675). Cambridge: Mass.: The MIT Press, 1997.

  19. Hatzimoysis (2003a) ‘Emotional Feelings and Intentionalism’ in Philosophy and the Emotions, ed. by A. Hatzimoysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 105-112.

  20. Hatzimoysis (2003b). ‘Analytical Descriptivism Revisited” Ratio, XV: 10-22.

  21. Hatzimoysis (2011) ‘Introduction’ in Self-Knowledge, ed. by A. Hatzimoysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011: 1-8.

  22. Kenny, A. (1963). Action, emotion and will. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

  23. Kind, A. (2014). The case against representationalism about moods. In U. Kriegel (Ed.), Current controversies in philosophy of mind (pp. 113–134). London: Routlegde.

  24. Lormand, E. (1985). Towards a theory of moods. Philosophical Studies, 47, 385–407.

  25. Lyons, W. (1980). Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  26. Mendelovici (2013) Intentionalism about moods. Thought 2: 126–136.

  27. Mendelovici. (2014). Pure Intentionalism about moods and emotions. In U. Kriegel (Ed.), Current controversies in philosophy of mind (pp. 113–134). London: Routledge.

  28. Neta, R. (2011). The nature and reach of privileged access. In A. Hatzimoysis (Ed.), Self-Knowledge (Vol. 2011, pp. 9–32). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  29. Nussbaum, M. (2001). Upheavals of thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  30. Price, C. (2006). Affect without object: Moods and objectless emotions. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, 2, 49–68.

  31. Prinz, J. (2004). Gut reactions: A perceptual theory of emotion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  32. Rattcliffe, M. (2010). The phenomenology of mood and the meaning of life. In D. Zahavi (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of philosophy of emotion (pp. 349–372). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  33. Roberts, R. (2003). Emotions: An essay in aid of moral psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  34. Searle, J. (1983). Intentionality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  35. Siewert, C. (2012). Respecting appearances: A phenomenological approach to consciousness. In D. Zahavi (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of contemporary phenomenology (pp. 48–69). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  36. Siewert, C. (1998). The significance of consciousness. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

  37. Sizer, L. (2000). Towards a computational theory of mood. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 51, 743–769.

  38. Solomon, R. (1976). The passions. New York: Anchor Press.

  39. Solomon, R. (1993). The passions: Emotions and the meaning of life. Indianapolis: Hackett.

  40. Tappolet, C. (2000). Emotions et Valeurs. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.

  41. Terroni, F. (2007). Emotions and Formal Objects. Dialectica, 61(3), 395–415.

  42. Tye, M. (2002). Consciousness, Color and Content. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Anthony Hatzimoysis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hatzimoysis, A. Representationalism and the Intentionality of Moods. Philosophia 45, 1515–1526 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11406-017-9825-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mood
  • Emotion
  • Intentionality
  • Representationalism
  • Intentionalism