Two main theories of emotional affectivity exist in the modern philosophy of emotion: sensationalism and ‘cognitivism’. The fundamental dispute between these theories concerns the question of whether feeling merely accompanies the evaluative content of emotion or is directed toward it. I reject both sensationalism and cognitivism as general theories of emotional affectivity. Instead, I propose a twolevel account of emotional affectivity that allows both theories their proper due. We must distinguish between feelings with primitive and full-fledged intentionality. Both involve a sense and a reference to an object, but only the latter exhibits experiential directedness toward an object. Primitively intentional first-order feelings emerge as analog representations of changes in one's organismic and/or attitudinal mental state. They amount to a hedonically valenced experience of one's own state, as the sensationalist view suggests. Second-order feelings with full-fledged intentionality emerge when a ‘pure’ feeling is interpreted and categorized in terms of the evaluative content of one's present emotion. They are feelings toward the object of one's emotion, as the cognitivist theory holds.
© Philosophia Press 2002