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Title: The transparency of emotions
Author: Deonna, Julien Amos
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2001
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I am sad, and you - watching me - can feel this. What does becoming aware of someone else's emotions consist of? In this dissertation, I articulate and defend the claim that other people's emotions are, in the ordinary case, transparent to us. By this I mean that, on the whole, they are not more difficult or more problematic to become aware of in the case of others than in our own case - the transparency intuition. I argue for this claim against a purported asymmetry, existing at many different levels, between feeling one's own emotions and feeling other people's emotions, one alleged difference being that one does not experience other people's emotions as if they were our own - the ownership intuition. First, I set up the problem raised by these (supposedly) incompatible claims in the context of early phenomenalist theories of empathy, and suggest a way to reconcile them with respect to our awareness of sensations. Second, having examined some crucial aspects of the nature of the emotions and the way they (may) differ from sensations, I apply the suggestion made concerning the latter to the case of the former, and argue that both the transparency intuition and ownership intuition can be met if we distinguish between different layers of emotional engagement with the world, and in particular, with other people. Third, in the context of the recent literature on mind-reading, I assess the manner in which my account of the awareness of the emotions in others and ourselves bears upon the question of our understanding of other people's emotions. Finally, I examine the impact of my account on the possibility of knowing about other people's emotions in the context of contemporary (externalist) epistemologies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available