An approach to the non-conceptual content of emotions




emotions, non-conceptual content, recalcitrant emotions, action-oriented representation, basic emotions


There is the intuition that some emotions do not sustain a cognitively demanding reading of their representational content. However, it is not evident how to articulate that intuition—and the mere claim that the content of those emotions is not conceptual (or, alternatively, that it is non-conceptual; see, for instance, Tappolet, 2016) does not shed light on the specific way in which those emotions represent. We, therefore, develop a proposal with the aim of giving substance to the claim that emotions involve non-conceptual mental content. The thesis that we defend entails that certain emotions are intrinsically motivational, specifically that their content is action-oriented and presents the world in terms of intrinsically motivational possibilities for action. Then we delve into the way this thesis stands in regard to views according to which the essence of emotions lies in the attitude rather than in the content (Deonna & Teroni, 2012, 2015), or others in which emotions have to do with action-readiness rather than with action itself (Scarantino, 2014)—as well as in regard to doubts on the very notion of non-conceptual content. Finally, we examine some consequences deriving from the proposal (having to do with the so-called irrationality of some emotions and the notion of basic emotion, among others) and its position relative to notable approaches to emotion (cognitive, perceptual, attitudinal and motivational).


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Biografia do Autor

Alejandro Murillo-Lara, Universitaria Agustiniana

Research coordinator, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education.

Carlos Andrés Muñoz-Serna, Universitaria Agustiniana

Researcher of the Philosophy Program


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Como Citar

Murillo-Lara, A., & Muñoz-Serna, C. A. (2019). An approach to the non-conceptual content of emotions. Revista De Filosofia Aurora, 31(54).