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Emotions, Me, Myself and I

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Teroni Fabrice,
Project Modes and Contents
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal International Journal of Philosophical Studies
Volume (Issue) 24(4)
Page(s) 433 - 451
Title of proceedings International Journal of Philosophical Studies
DOI 10.1080/09672559.2016.1188845


We are prone to think that the emotions someone undergoes are somehow revelatory of the sort of person she is, and philosophers working in the eld have frequently insisted upon the existence of an intimate relation between a subject and her emotions. But how intimate is the relation between emotions and the self? I rst explain why interesting claims about this relation must locate it at the level of emotional intentionality. Given that emotions have a complex intentional structure – they are about an object and evaluate it – this means that the relation between emotions and the self may take di erent shapes. My discussion focuses on three di erent claims about this relation. According to the rst claim, all emotions are about the subject who undergoes them. The second claim appeals to a more moderate form of re exivity and a rms that emotions always feature a representation of other psychological states of the subject. The third understands the relation between emotions and the self in evaluative terms: emotions are said to evaluate relationally, one of the terms of this relation being the subject who undergoes it. I argue that all three claims apply, at best, only to a limited subset of emotions and that they must sometimes give way to claims that do not presuppose any intentional connection between emotions and the self.