The Ontology of Emotions

April 26, 2013 - April 27, 2013
Thumos, University of Geneva



  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences

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thumos, the Genevan research group on norms, values and emotions is pleased to announce an international workshop on The Ontology of Emotions.

For a detailed schedule, please see To register, please contact one of the organisers: Julien Deonna ([email protected]), Fabrice Teroni ([email protected]), or Clare Mac Cumhaill ([email protected])    *Registration is free*

For information on thumos, its research activities and weekly seminar program, please visit our webpage:   


  • MGF Martin  
  • Matthew Soteriou  
  • David Pineda  
  • Joachim Schulte  
  • Clare Mac Cumhaill  
  • Edoardo Zamuner  
  • Agnes Moors  
  • Hichem Naar 
  • Isabelle Pitteloud 

Motivation: It is quite natural to think that the basic units composing our affective lives are emotions. It is clear, though, that emotions are not temporal “atoms”. Emotions start at a given time, last for a while, follow a particular trajectory, wax and wane and then disappear. This is to say that there are different stages in the unfolding of an emotion, and no doubt important relations between these stages. What, we may then ask, constitutes the temporal unity of an emotion? Or, considered from the first person perspective, how is the identity of an emotion over time given to one? What is the role of values, if any, in constituting this unity? Does the characteristic unfolding of emotion just referred to support the view that emotions are processes rather than states? For example, is the contrast recently emphasized between, on the one hand, the continuous and processive nature of phenomenal experience, and, on the other hand, the durationless and instantanous character of states like judgements and thoughts, evidence that emotions are processes? The claim that emotions are processes is in any case at the heart of recent discussions of emotions. It has been defended by the late Peter Goldie and also underlies influential versions of appraisal theories that conceive of emotions as dynamic patterns of basic appraisal checks. But what constitutes an emotion in such models? More generally, how should we best characterize the nature of emotions in relation to or by contrast with other affective phenomena such as moods and emotional dispositions? Does paying attention to the characteristic sequences that different emotions tend to assume help understand their nature? The goal of this conference is to bring together established and emerging researchers from various disciplines to make some headway in addressing these questions and related ones.
The organisers acknowledge the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences.

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April 26, 2013, 11:00am CET

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