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Affect without object: moods and objectless emotions

Faculty of Arts and Scieneces
Publication Date
  • Emotion
  • Mood
  • Intentionality
  • Teleosemantic Theory Of Content
  • State Of Vigilance
  • Linguistics


Should moods be regarded as intentional states, and, if so, what kind of intentional content do they have? I focus on irritability (understood as an angry mood) and apprehension (understood as a fearful mood), which I examine from the perspective of a teleosemantic theory of content. Eric Lormand has argued that moods are non-intentional states, distinct from emotions; Robert Solomon and Peter Goldie argue that moods are generalised emotions and that they have intentional content of a correspondingly general kind. I present a third model, on which moods are regarded, not as generalised emotions, but as states of vigilance; and I argue that, on this model, moods should be regarded as intentional states of a kind quite distinct from emotions. An advantage of this account is that it allows us to distinguish between a mood of apprehension and an episode of objectless fear.

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