Journal Article

The Natural Kind Status of Emotion

Louis C. Charland

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 53, issue 4, pages 511-537
Published in print December 2002 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 2002 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/53.4.511
The Natural Kind Status of Emotion

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It has been argued recently that some basic emotions should be considered natural kinds. This is different from the question whether as a class emotions form a natural kind; that is, whether emotion is a natural kind. The consensus on that issue appears to be negative. I argue that this pessimism is unwarranted and that there are in fact good reasons for entertaining the hypothesis that emotion is a natural kind. I interpret this to mean that there exists a distinct natural class of organisms whose behavior and development are governed by emotion. These are emoters. Two arguments for the natural kind status of emotion are considered. Both converge on the existence of emotion as a distinct natural domain governed by its own laws and regularities. There are then some reasons for being optimistic about the prospects for consilience in emotion theory.

1 The mantra

2 Griffiths on emotions as natural kinds

3 Panksepp on emotions as natural kinds

4 Emotion as a neurobiological kind

5 Emotion as a psychological kind

6 Response to the mantra

7 Unification or fragmentation?

8 Concluding remarks

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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