Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion

Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion

by Jesse J. Prinz
     
 

Gut Reactions is an interdisciplinary defense of the claim that emotions are perceptions of changes in the body. This thesis, pioneered by William James and resuscitated by Antonio Damasio, has been widely criticized for failing to acknowledge that emotions are meaningful insofar as they represent concerns, not respiratory function and blood pressure. Fear represents…  See more details below

Overview

Gut Reactions is an interdisciplinary defense of the claim that emotions are perceptions of changes in the body. This thesis, pioneered by William James and resuscitated by Antonio Damasio, has been widely criticized for failing to acknowledge that emotions are meaningful insofar as they represent concerns, not respiratory function and blood pressure. Fear represents danger, sadness represents loss. To explain this fact, many researchers conclude that emotions must involve judgments regarding one's relationship to the environment. Prinz offers a new unified account of the emotions that reconciles these two theories. He argues that emotions are embodied appraisals - they are perceptions of the body, but, through the body, they also allow us to literally perceive danger, loss, and other matters of concern.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gut Reactions is an important book on emotions by a careful thinker and engaging writer, one who tries harder than most to work in both the philosophical and psychological realms. It ought to be required reading for all those who are interested in the scientific study of emotions, and should appeal to an even wider audience."-Anthony P. Atkinson, Philosophical Psychology

"Prinz's book provides a valuable perspective on the emotions by offering a compelling and surprisingly fecund defense of a view neglected in recent philosophy. Given the tendency of much recent research on the philosophy of emotions to revisit ad nauseum the same few debates with the same few responses, Prinz's book offers an exciting and refreshing new course. Gut Reactions should spawn needed debate about the views he offers, and may act as the locus in philosophy for a rebirth of the James-Lange theory."—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Excellent...Prinz's book is utterly compelling and a valuable read for any student or researcher of the emotions, philosophy of mind and perception."—Metapsychology Online Book Reviews

"Jesse Prinz's wide-ranging knowledge of the cognitive sciences makes this book a watershed contribution to the field of emotion research. His embodied appraisal theory, which attempts to mediate between recent neurobiological approaches and the cognitive theories that have dominated philosophical thinking, is a major step forward in the debate. Because Prinz builds his case on a richly detailed account of empirical research, I recommend this as the book to read on the renaissance of emotion in the last two decades, in neuroscience and psychology as well as philosophy."—Robert M. Gordon, University of Missouri, St. Louis

"In this philosophically deep and scientifically erudite work, Jesse Prinz provides the first systematic philosophical account of the emotions grounded in 'affective neuroscience.' This rapidly developing science has had a major influence on recent philosophy of mind and moral psychology. Through his searching analysis of its conceptual underpinnings Prinz throws light on many of the central issues in the philosophy of mind. Essential reading for philosophers of mind and for emotion researchers in all disciplines."—Paul Griffiths, University of Pittsburgh

"Jesse Prinz's Gut Reactions is an exciting book. I couldn't put it down, but I fought with it every inch of the way. I found myself forced to look at the emotions through a "brain's eye view" instead of by way of my usual humanist perspective. Thirty years ago, a younger generation employed excessive but effective polemics against the Jamesian paradigm. Prinz energetically returns the favor, but now it is we cognitivists and social constructionists who are on the defensive."—Robert C. Solomon, The University of Texas at Austin

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195151459
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/28/2004
Series:
Philosophy of Mind Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Prinz is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Furnishing the Mind, in which he defends the view that all concepts have their basis in perception, and two forthcoming titles. In The Emotional Basis of Morals, he argues that moral concepts essentially involve emotions, and, in eyond Human Nature, he argues that culture and experience shape human thought.

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