The Phenomenology of Emotional Expression

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Emotions are personal-level states that occupy causal roles and, as such, have a range of behavioural outputs distinctive of them. Intuitively, some but not all of these outputs qualify as expressions of the emotion. But which ones? I begin by offering a descriptive phenomenology of emotional expression, both from the perspective of the expresser and that of the observer. I then consider answers to the question that focus on each of these perspectives. I argue that the best available versions of observer-perspective views are subject to significant objections. I go on to defend an expresser-perspective view that accords a central role to the expresser's consciousness of the relation of motivation that holds between their emotion and its expression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-35
JournalJournal of Consciousness Studies
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2023


  • Emotion
  • Expression
  • Phenomenology


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