Intentionality and Emotions

  • Orestis Giotakos
Keywords: intentionality, emotion, feeling, intentionality arc, affective intentionality, emotional intentionality, neuroscience, phenomenology


Researchers use the terms “emotion” and “intentionality” with different meanings. There are distinctions between the functional emotion state, its conscious experience, our ability to attribute emotions to others, our ability to think and talk about emotion, and the behaviors caused by an emotion state. For phenomenologists, affective intentionality is an embodied and enactive process that connects the person to a shared world. For Freeman all actions are emotional having at the same time their reasons, and this is the nature of intentional behavior. Gibson suggested intentionality as the one end of the intentionality arc, which connects us to the world, while Searle suggests “intentional causation”, as an essential connection of intentionality with consciousness. Ratcliffe proposed existential feelings, as kinds of background and «pre-intentional» feelings. Furthermore, Krueger proposed that focusing on disruptions of intentionality can deepen and enrich our understanding of core disturbances involved in different psychopathologies. I believe that affective or emotional intentionality is a prominent research field in neuroscience, for better understanding human behavior, emotion dysregulation, and even psychopathology.

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