Emotion, Mood, and Traits of Character

Peter Goldie

in The Emotions

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253043
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597510 | DOI:
Emotion, Mood, and Traits of Character

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Emotion, mood, and character are entwined in a life narrative. Moods are intentional; drawing on Robert Musil's work on the emotions, it is argued that emotion and mood are distinguished by the degree of specificity of their object. Character traits are dispositions to have thoughts and feelings of a certain sort. The idea that the notion of character is fundamentally mistaken—the fundamental attribution error—is challenged. Sometimes people fail to act according to their traits, and this can be explained by reference to an excusing reason: a non‐rational influence on thinking, or an undue influence on thinking. Milgram's obedience experiments are discussed in some detail.

Keywords: character traits; dispositions; emotion; excusing reason; fundamental attribution error; Milgram; mood; obedience experiments

Chapter.  16019 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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