Jesse Prinz and the Huck Finn TestMr Tristram Oliver-Skuse (University of Melbourne)
Common Room, Old Quad
Philosophers often claim that emotions are representational partly in order to help explain cases where it looks like an emotions play justificatory roles. Cognitivists have an easy time making sense of this, since they claim emotions are, or constitutively involve, judgments and so are representational and can have justificatory roles, but they struggle to account for recalcitrant emotions which conflict with explicit judgement. Feelings theorists have no problem accounting for the conflict, but have a harder time accounting for the justificatory roles. Perceptual views are meant to be the best of both worlds. Prinz offers the most direct account of how to make a perceptualist account of emotional representation work. But, I will show that his position fails to make room for emotions’ justificatory roles, and so is more like a traditional feelings theory than it looks. This falls out of his Dretske-inspired account of representation, which ties representation too closely with detection and does not easily extend to account for the attributive nature of representation. As a result, on this picture, fear represents danger rather than representing the thing I am afraid of as dangerous and so does not give us the right kinds of representations to figure in justifications.
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