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Title: Affective perception
Author: Taylor, Richard James
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis aims to present and defend an account of affective perception. The central argument seeks to establish three claims. 1) Certain emotional bodily feelings (and not just psychic feelings) are world-directed intentional states. 2) Their intentionality is to be understood in perceptual terms: such feelings are affective perceptions of emotional properties of a certain kind. 3) These ‘emotion-proper properties’ are response-dependent in a way that entails that appropriate affective responses to their token instances qualify, ipso facto, as perceptions of those instances. The arguments for (1) and (2) appeal directly to the phenomenology of emotional experience and draw heavily from recent research by Peter Goldie and Matthew Ratcliffe. By applying Goldie’s insights into the intentional structure of psychic feelings to the case of emotional bodily feelings, it is shown that certain of the latter—particularly those pertaining to the so-called ‘standard’ emotions—exemplify world-directed intentionality analogous to the perceptual intentionality of tactile feelings. Adapting Ratcliffe’s account of the analogy between tactile feelings and what he terms ‘existential feelings’, it is argued that standard emotional bodily feelings are at the same time intrinsically intentional world-directed perceptual states (affective perceptions) through which the defining properties of emotional objects (emotion-proper properties) are apprehended. The subsequent account of these properties endorses a response-dependence thesis similar to that defended by John McDowell and David Wiggins and argues that tokening an appropriate emotional affective state in response to a token emotion-proper property is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for perception of that property (Claim (3)). The central claim is thus secured by appeal both to the nature of the relevant feelings and the nature of the relevant properties (the former being intrinsically intentional representational states and the latter being response-dependent in a way that guarantees the perceptual status of the former).
Supervisor: Charles, David Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Philosophy of mind ; Emotion ; Philosophy ; emotions ; affect ; perception ; philosophy