Emotions, Motivation, and Character: A Phenomenological Perspective



In this paper, I wish to explore whether and how emotions build on a state of being motivated that is linked to character and requires the positive contribution of habit. Drawing on phenomenological accounts of motivation (most notably Husserl’s and Merleau-Ponty’s), I argue that the relation between emotions and character depends on the institution of an emotional space, which is responsible for our sensitivity to the values of the felt situation and yet it is open to changes and revisions.



I presented shorter versions of this paper on the occasion of the following meetings: the conference Aesthetics of Emotions. Art and the Cognitive Sciences organised by Prof. Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis at the University of Milan in October 2016, the staff work-in-progress meeting of the UCD School of Philosophy in November 2016, and the 48th Meeting of the Husserl Circle in July 2017. I would like to thank all the participants in these events for the opportunity to discuss this paper and for their encouraging feedbacks. I am also grateful to Fabrizio Desideri, Alessandra Fussi, Alfredo Ferrarin, Niall Keane, Alice Pugliese, Jeremy Smith, and Salvatore Tedesco for reading and commenting on previous drafts of this paper. The completion of this article was made possible by research grants funded by the University of Milan in collaboration with ACRI and the Irish Research Council for Social Science and Humanities.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCD School of PhilosophyBelfield, Dublin 4Ireland

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