Pre-Emotional Value Awareness and the Content-Priority View

Jonathan Mitchell

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Much contemporary philosophy of emotion has been in broad agreement about the claim that emotional experiences have evaluative content. This paper assesses a relatively neglected alternative, which I call the content-priority view, according to which emotions are responses to a form of pre-emotional value awareness, as what we are aware of in having certain non-emotional evaluative states which are temporally prior to emotion. I argue that the central motivations of the view require a personal level conscious state of pre-emotional value awareness. However, consideration of extant suggestions for the relevant type of evaluative state shows them all to be problematic. As such, I conclude that at present we do not have a persuasive formulation of the content-priority view, and that to get one defenders of the view need to specify which version they are committed to and defend it against the criticisms raised.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Philosophical Quarterly
Early online date6 May 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2019


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