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L. Barlassina : The role of bodily perception in emotion : In defense of an impure somatic theory


Luca Barlassina - 16/11/2012 at 4 pm

Our next speaker will be Luca Barlassina (Ruhr University Bochum). Luca was a visiting fellow at the Institut Jean Nicod 2 years ago, and he is now a Von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Fellow at Bochum University. He will talk about a paper he wrote with Albert Newen (Ruhr University Bochum).

"The role of bodily perception in emotion : In defense of an impure somatic theory"

Date, Time, Place : 16/11/2012, 4pm, TBA

In this paper, we develop an impure somatic theory of emotion, according to which emotions are constituted by the integration of bodily perceptions with representations of external objects, events, or states of affairs. We put forward our theory by contrasting it with Prinz’s (2004) neo-Jamesian pure somatic theory, according to which emotions are entirely constituted by bodily perceptions. After illustrating Prinz’s theory and discussing the evidence in its favor, we show that it is beset by serious problems―i.e., it gets the neural correlates of emotion wrong, it isn’t able to distinguish emotions from bodily perceptions that aren’t emotions, it cannot account for emotions being directed towards particular objects, and it mischaracterizes emotion phenomenology. We argue that our theory accounts for the empirical evidence considered by Prinz and solves the problems faced by his theory. In particular, we maintain that our theory gives a unified and principled account of the relation between emotions and bodily perceptions, the intentionality of emotions, and emotion phenomenology.

Prinz J. (2004), Gut Reactions : A Perceptual Theory of Emotion. New York : Oxford University Press.