Presentation Title

A New Theoretical Model of Emotion: Four Categories of Emotion and the Implications of These Categories on Cognitive Development and Evolution

Format of Presentation

15-minute lecture to be presented April 1, 2017

Location

IB 1008

Start Date

1-4-2017 11:30 AM

End Date

1-4-2017 11:45 AM

Abstract

Abstract: Charles Darwin and William James both knew that emotions likely play a fundamental role in the evolutionary process, but they failed to explain why emotions are necessary in explaining normal human behaviour. This has left a gap in the literature, and crippled the study of emotion within the realm of empirical science. My project is to propose a theoretical framework, within the study of emotion, which is falsifiable, rich in explanatory potential, and able to both justify and facilitate a much-needed resurgence in the study of emotion. As my honours thesis, my research covers key theories in the philosophy of emotion (mainly from “What is an Emotion?” by Solomon, 2003), key theories in psychology of emotion (mainly those mentioned in “Emotion” by Shiota & Kalat, 2012), as well as a vast range of peer-reviewed research articles on emotion and related topics. I argue that emotions should be seen as falling into four general motivational categories, approach and avoidance as well as punishment and reward; and I further argue that these two dichotomies comprise the first two levels within a model of three cumulative levels of cognitive development and evolution. This model will help explain the role of emotions in human behaviour, show the relation between emotions and motivation, explain why it is illogical to believe animals do not have feelings, provide criteria for distinguishing emotions from non-emotions, and potentially even answer one of the most vexing questions in human history: what is love?

Department

Philosophy

Faculty Advisor

Jenna Woodrow

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Apr 1st, 11:30 AM Apr 1st, 11:45 AM

A New Theoretical Model of Emotion: Four Categories of Emotion and the Implications of These Categories on Cognitive Development and Evolution

IB 1008

Abstract: Charles Darwin and William James both knew that emotions likely play a fundamental role in the evolutionary process, but they failed to explain why emotions are necessary in explaining normal human behaviour. This has left a gap in the literature, and crippled the study of emotion within the realm of empirical science. My project is to propose a theoretical framework, within the study of emotion, which is falsifiable, rich in explanatory potential, and able to both justify and facilitate a much-needed resurgence in the study of emotion. As my honours thesis, my research covers key theories in the philosophy of emotion (mainly from “What is an Emotion?” by Solomon, 2003), key theories in psychology of emotion (mainly those mentioned in “Emotion” by Shiota & Kalat, 2012), as well as a vast range of peer-reviewed research articles on emotion and related topics. I argue that emotions should be seen as falling into four general motivational categories, approach and avoidance as well as punishment and reward; and I further argue that these two dichotomies comprise the first two levels within a model of three cumulative levels of cognitive development and evolution. This model will help explain the role of emotions in human behaviour, show the relation between emotions and motivation, explain why it is illogical to believe animals do not have feelings, provide criteria for distinguishing emotions from non-emotions, and potentially even answer one of the most vexing questions in human history: what is love?