•  212
    An ongoing debate in the philosophy of emotion concerns the relationship between two prima facie aspects of emotional states. The first is affective: felt and/or motivational. The second, which I call object-identifying, represents whatever the emotion is about or directed towards. “Componentialists” – such as R. S. Lazarus, Jesse Prinz, and Antonio Damasio – assume that an emotion’s object-identifying aspect can have the same representational content as a non-emotional state’s, and that it is p…Read more
  •  60
    Constitutivism, belief, and emotion
    Dialectica 62 (4): 455-482. 2008.
    Constitutivists about one's cognitive access to one's mental states often hold that for any rational subject S and mental state M falling into some specified range of types, necessarily, if S believes that she has M, then S has M. Some argue that such a principle applies to beliefs about all types of mental state. Others are more cautious, but offer no criterion by which the principle's range could be determined. In this paper I begin to develop such a criterion, arguing that although the princi…Read more
  •  59
    Genetic enhancement and parental obligation
    Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2): 98-111. 2007.
    Among moral philosophers, general disapproval of genetic enhancement has in recent years given way to the view that the permissibility of a eugenic policy depends only on its particular features. Buchanan, Brock, Daniels, and Wikler have extensively defended such a view. However, while these authors go so far as to argue that there are conditions under which parents are not only permitted but also obligated to proeure genetic treatments for their intended child, they stop short of arguing that t…Read more
  •  50
    Direction, causation, and appraisal theories of emotion
    Philosophical Psychology 22 (2). 2009.
    Appraisal theories of emotion generally presuppose that emotions are “directed at” various items. They also hold that emotions have motivational properties. However, although it coheres well with their views, they have yet to seriously develop the idea that the function of emotional direction is to guide those properties. I argue that this “guidance hypothesis” can open up a promising new field of research in emotion theory. But I also argue that before appraisal theorists can take full advantag…Read more
  •  40
    Human subjects seem to have a type of introspective access to their mental states that allows them to immediately judge the types and intensities of their occurrent emotions, as well as what those emotions are about or “directed at”. Such judgments manifest what I call “emotion-direction beliefs”, which, if reliably produced, may constitute emotion-direction knowledge. Many psychologists have argued that the “directed emotions” such beliefs represent have a componential structure, one that inclu…Read more
  •  18
    Can Emotional Feelings Represent Significant Relations?
    Acta Analytica 34 (2): 215-234. 2019.
    Jesse Prinz (2004) argues that emotional feelings (“state emotions”) can by themselves perceptually represent significant organism-environment relations. I object to this view mainly on the grounds that (1) it does not rule out the at least equally plausible view that emotional feelings are non-representational sensory registrations rather than perceptions, as Tyler Burge (2010) draws the distinction, and (2) perception of a relation requires perception of at least one of the relation’s relata, …Read more
  • Noninferential Emotion-Based Knowledge
    Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. 2003.
    This dissertation focuses on psychological and epistemological issues related to our practice of accepting first-person reports of emotional state as knowledgeable. It concerns the epistemic warrant of beliefs having the form "I'm feeling X about Y" and "Y is making me feel X about Z", where X refers to an affective state, and Y and Z refer to situations. On the assumption that such "emotion-based" beliefs are true if and only if they accurately represent the "situation-directed" emotions they a…Read more