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Affect, perceptual experience, and disclosure

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Vanello Daniel,
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Philosophical Studies
Volume (Issue) 175(9)
Page(s) 2125 - 2144
Title of proceedings Philosophical Studies
DOI 10.1007/s11098-017-0951-0

Open Access

URL http://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-017-0951-0
Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)

Abstract

A prominent number of contemporary theories of emotional experience—understood as occurrent, phenomenally conscious episodes of emotions with an affective character that are evaluatively directed towards particular objects or states of affairs—are motivated by the claim that phenomenally conscious affective experience, when appropriate, grants us epistemic access not merely to features of the experience but also to features of the object of experience, namely its value. I call this the claim of affect as a disclosure of value. The aim of this paper is to clarify the sort of assumptions about experience that we ought to avoid if we want to be able to argue that for the claim of affect as a disclosure of value. There are two core arguments in this paper. First, I argue that Mark Johnston’s account of affect as a disclosure of value, due to its naïve realist commitments, relapses into a position that is vulnerable to the same objection put forward by some naïve realists against intentionalist accounts of perceptual experience. Second, I argue that Michelle Montague’s account, due to its phenomenal intentionalist commitments, relapses into a position that is vulnerable to the same objections put forward against qualia theories of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. The upshot of the paper is that the core assumptions embedded in the three dominant models of experience—namely naïve realism, different versions of intentionalism, and qualia theory—are problematic as found in contemporary accounts of affect as a disclosure of value.
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