The Attitudinal Opacity of Emotional Experience

Jonathan Mitchell

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According to some philosophers, when introspectively attending to experience, we seem to see right through it to the (apparent) objects outside, including their properties. This is called the transparency of experience. This paper examines whether, and in what sense, emotions are transparent. It argues that emotional experiences are opaque in a distinctive way: introspective attention to them does not principally reveal non-intentional somatic qualia but rather felt valenced intentional attitudes. As such, emotional experience is attitudinally opaque.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-546
Number of pages23
JournalThe Philosophical Quarterly
Issue number280
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2020


  • Emotion
  • Experience
  • Transparency
  • Opacity
  • Attitude
  • Valence


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