A new outlook on the problem of natural kind status of emotions
Wringe, William Giles
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This thesis deals with the question of whether emotions are natural kinds or not. Those who take a negative stance in this ongoing debate argue that the emotion categories that scientists make use of are not appropriate for scientific investigations on the grounds that they are not natural kinds. On the other hand, some argue that emotions, at least basic emotions, are natural kinds and the existing emotion categories are viable for scientific investigation. At the beginning of thesis, I will introduce sensation-based theories of emotion and glance at what the constitutive components of emotions might be. Thenceforth, I will examine natural and nonnatural kinds to illustrate what kind of criteria for natural kinds can be settled. In light of this information, I will show what the experimental data purports about the natural kind status of emotions. As a last step, to answer the main question of the thesis, I will assert that we have to distinguish between emotions and emotional sensations. I will contend that emotional sensations, which I take to be the cores of emotions, might be accepted to be natural kinds since they are less subject to environmental and personal factors, compared to emotions. However, I will take an agnostic stance regarding the question whether this claim can be scientifically proven or not.