The philosophical approaches to emotion that we have reviewed in the present chapter have little to say about the underlying processes involved in having an emotional experience. This highlights a fundamental difference between the ambitions of philosophy and psychology. Philosophy is primarily concerned with the construction of a coherent conceptual framework within which to understand emotion, whereas psychology is also concerned with how such a framework might be instantiated in the human mind. This difference seems to map closely onto what Marr (1982) has suggested is the distinction between the computational level and the algorithmic level. As we have written elsewhere:
The computational level, despite its name, is not concerned with process; rather, it is a description of what the system as a whole is doing, not how it is doing it. It represents an abstract formulation of the task which defines a given psychological ability. The algorithm is a specification of how the task is carried out, the nature of the computational processes involved and the way in which the information these processes use is represented. (Dalgleish, 1994a, p. 154)
So, in the case of emotion we have suggested, for example, that we need some notion of appraisal. This is a statement at the computational level of analysis. The next questions are: How would such a process of appraisal work? What would it need to look like? Do we need to propose some type of schema or semantic network? Which appraisals go with which emotions? These are questions at the algorithmic level of analysis and are the remit of psychology. The present chapter can be seen as providing a computational-level analysis, a philosophical analysis, of the nature of emotions. The remainder of the book is concerned with providing a psychological analysis of how these computational-level ideas can be instantiated at the algorithmic level.
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