Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 19, 2010

Intentionality and Feeling. A Sketch for a Two-Level Account of Emotional Affectivity

Mikko Salmela
From the journal


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.

Published Online: 2010-03-19
Published in Print: 2002-May

© Philosophia Press 2002

Scroll Up Arrow