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What Emotions Really Are: The Problem of Psychological Categories

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Paul E. Griffiths argues that most research on the emotions has been as misguided as Aristotelian efforts to study "superlunary objects" - objects outside the moon's orbit. Such subjects exist, of course, but studying them as a group produces no useful results because they share no traits other than an arbitrarily defined location. Similarly, Griffiths show that "emotion", as currently defined, groups together psychological states of very different, and thus not comparable, kinds. According to Griffiths, theoretical research on emotions took a wrong turn by not fully exploring the relevant empirical evidence. Griffiths provides a detailed overview of this material, drawing on ethology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and anthropology of the emotions. He identifies and assesses the relative merits of three main theoretical approaches - affect program theory, evolutionary psychology, and social constructionism.
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Editorial Reviews

Robert C. Solomon
Perhaps the best and most persuasive book on this perspective on emotions. -- Philadelphia Enquirer
Ray Dolan
It is difficult to do justice to Griffiths in a short review. His analysis of the concept of emotion and his proposal for the future direction of the field is the most compelling and best argued I have read...[The book] makes a strong to be one of the best books to have emerged in the subject of human emotion.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Philosophy and Emotion - The Poverty of Conceptual Analysis 21
3 The Psychoevolutionary Approach to Emotion 44
4 Affect Programs and Emotion Modules 77
5 The Higher Cognitive Emotions: Some Research Programs 100
6 The Social Construction of Emotion 137
7 Natural Kinds and Theoretical Concepts 171
8 Natural Kinds in Biology and Psychology 202
9 What Emotions Really Are 228
10 Coda - Mood and Emotion 248
References 259
Index 277
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