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ARE EMOTIONS PERCEPTUAL EXPERIENCES OF VALUE?

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Abstract

A number of emotion theorists hold that emotions are perceptions of value. In this paper I say why they are wrong. I claim that in the case of emotion there is nothing that can provide the perceptual modality that is needed if the perceptual theory is to succeed (where by ‘perceptual modality’ I mean the particular manner in which something is perceived). I argue that the five sensory modalities are not possible candidates for providing us with ‘emotional perception’. But I also say why the usual candidate offered – namely feeling or affectivity – does not give us the sought-after perceptual modality. I conclude that as there seems to be nothing else that can provide the needed perceptual modality, we should reject the perceptual theory of emotion.1

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