The Phenomenology and Science of Emotions (CfP, Special Issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences)

“The Phenomenology and Science of Emotions”
Special Issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
Edited by Andreas Elpidorou and Lauren Freeman

Call for Papers: Phenomenology, perhaps more than any other single movement in philosophy, has been key in bringing the emotions to the foreground of philosophical consideration. This is in large part due to the ways in which emotions, according to phenomenological analyses, are revealing of basic structures of human existence. Indeed, it is partly, and to some phenomenologists, primarily through our emotions that the world is disclosed to us, that we become present to and make sense to ourselves, and that we relate to and engage with others. A phenomenological study of emotions is thus meant not only to help us to understand ourselves, but also to allow us to see and to make sense of the meaningfulness of our worldly and social existence.

Within the last few decades, the emotions have re-emerged more generally as a topic of great philosophical interest and importance. Philosophers, along with psychologists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists have engaged in inter- and intra-disciplinary debates concerning the ontology and phenomenology of emotions, the epistemic and cognitive dimensions of emotions, the rationality of emotions, the role that emotions play in moral judgments, the role that our bodies play in the experience and constitution of emotions, the gendered dimension of emotions (and whether or not there is one), the temporality of emotions, and the cultural specificity of emotions, to name just a few.

Contemporary phenomenological and scientific considerations of the emotions, however, have treated and continue to treat them differently. The former takes a first-personal approach to the emotions that is guided by, rooted in, and engaged with our experiences in the world, where the felt quality of emotional states provides important insights into the meaningfulness of human experiences. The latter often takes a third-personal and sub-personal approach to the emotions and focuses on their cognitive architecture and neurobiological mechanisms, which can be detached from and unconcerned with the way that emotions are experienced in and connected to contextual, complex worldly human experiences. Both kinds and levels of analysis are important for understanding the emotions, but at the same time, seem to be at odds with one another.

It is at this juncture that we would like to take up and explore the question of the emotions in this special issue of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the journal, we invite papers on the phenomenology and science of emotions that cross the disciplinary boundaries of phenomenology, psychology, and the cognitive sciences. Papers can engage both continental and analytic traditions and can take an historical, contemporary, applied, or a theoretical approach to the emotions. Our aim is to consider how these different fields and approaches can inform and influence one another in order to shed light on contemporary debates about the emotions.

Some suggested topics include:

  • Critical engagement with historical phenomenological approachesto the emotions.
  • Critical engagement with contemporary phenomenological approachesto the emotions.
  • Phenomenological accounts of specific emotions such as grief, anxiety, love, lust, joy, anger, shame, guilt, or disgust.
  • Consideration of whether and how phenomenological approaches to the emotions can and do engage with scientific and conceptual approaches.
  • Phenomenological and scientific considerations of:
    • Emotions and disorders
    • The temporality of emotions
    • The embodiment of emotions
    • Gender and emotion
    • Emotions and oppression
    • Individual and collective or group emotions
    • The difference between mood, affect, feeling, and emotion
    • The rationality/irrationality of emotions
    • The controllability of emotions
    • The relationship between morality and emotions
    • The relationship between emotions and judgments
  • A consideration of how and whether phenomenological accounts of emotions can engage with perceptual theories of emotions and cognitivist theories of emotions
  • Critiques of first personal accounts of the emotions
  • Critical account of the difference between emotional states and embodied feelings

Submission information: Word limit: 8000 words. Deadline August 15, 2013. Publication is expected in 2014/15. There will be a small number of invited contributions, thus leaving a generous space for submitted papers. Peer review: all submissions will be subject to a double blind peer-review process. Please prepare your submission for blind reviewing. Submissions should be made directly to the journal’s online submission website indicating: special issue “The Phenomenology and Science of Emotions.”

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