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Moods, Colored Lenses, and Emotional Disconnection: a Comment on Gallegos

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In “Moods Are Not Colored Lenses: Perceptualism and the Phenomenology of Moods” (2017) Francisco Gallegos presents a challenge to popular view about the phenomenology of being in a mood that he calls “perceptualism”. In this essay, I offer a partial defense of perceptualism about moods and argue that perceptualism and Gallegos’s preferred Heideggerian alternative need not be viewed as in opposition to one another.

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    See, e.g.: (Fish 2005; Haugeland 1978; Kind 2014; Rusting 1998; Tye 2008)

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    I am grateful to the reviewer for this journal for this and many, many other valuable and challenging suggestions and comments that helped me a lot in getting clearer about my thinking on this topic.

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    It is important to note that the expectations need not take the form of fully articulate beliefs or some other cognitive states. If Siegel is right, the expectations are part of the content of perceptual experiences, but making that claim is not mandatory for the perceptualist, who, it seems to me, may locate the expectations anywhere within the perceptual-cognitive system, provided that reality’s failure to conform to them is reflected in the subject’s phenomenology.

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    It could be objected that it is strange for a mood experience to affect cognitive states and perceptual states differently. But this wouldn’t be a terribly uncommon occurrence. Suppose you thought that moods are causally associated with biochemical changes within an organism. It is well established empirically that biochemical changes could affect perceptual states differently than they affect cognitive states: one example comes from the changes caused by marijuana intoxication: it typically has profound acute effects on cognition (Crean et al. 2011), and mild to nonexistent effects on (visual) perception (Stapleton et al. 1986). The same could be true of moods; after all, mood effects on cognition seem more robust than mood effects on perception.

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    It might be held that Helm’s worries affect any perceptualist account of moods. To the extent that this is correct, I have to admit that trying to answer Helm’s objection goes beyond the aims of this paper; rather, my aim is to see how perceptualism can deal with Gallegos’s objection.

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    The reviewer for this journal points out that this type of account might, in fact, be more congenial to Gallegos than it is to the perceptualist, depending on how one interprets the notion of a mode of presentation (or, at any rate, a Fregean could stay neutral between the two accounts). The reason for this is that a Fregean need not commit herself to the modes of presentation being features of perceptual awareness rather than other kinds of awareness. I agree; while expanding on the Fregean view of moods is beyond the aims of this paper, I will state, without argument, that it strikes me as the most promising one to develop perceptualism in light of Gallegos’s critique.


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Correspondence to Bartek Chomanski.

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Chomanski, B. Moods, Colored Lenses, and Emotional Disconnection: a Comment on Gallegos. Philosophia 46, 625–632 (2018).

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  • Moods
  • Affective phenomenology
  • Evaluative perception