Summary And Conclusions

We began the chapter by posing eight questions that any aspiring emotion theorist would need to address. We then considered two main historical strands of philosophical opinion on emotion: the first centres on feeling theory and originated in the writings of Plato, which seemed to come to rather an abrupt halt following the work of the psychologist William James, but in a hybrid form is clearly influential in recent affective neuroscience (e.g., Damasio, 1993; Prinz, 2004). The second cognitive strand originated with Aristotle's analysis of emotions in The Art of Rhetoric and is still unravelling itself in contemporary philosophical thought.

In this section we consider again the eight questions that we listed previously and examine the answers that these two strands, spanning some 2000 years of philosophy, have been able to provide. These answers and our elaborations on them will form the philosophical framework for the rest of the book and provide both a set of criteria by which to judge the theories reviewed in Chapters 3 and 4 and the philosophical basis of our own model, which we outline in Chapter 5.

Inevitably, the summary that we are about to provide reflects our belief that what we have called the strong cognitive theory of emotions is the only approach that has the makings of a truly comprehensive theory. However, we hope that we have been convincing in our claim that the various non-cognitive theories are at least vulnerable to significant philosophical challenges. Let us turn, then, to the questions that faced our now somewhat world-weary emotion theorist.

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Letting Go, Moving On

Letting Go, Moving On

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