What are Emotions For?

From Affective Epistemology to Affective Ethics

  • Francisco Gallegos Wake Forest University
Keywords: emotion, recognition, evaluative property, construal, fittingness


What would it mean for an emotion to successfully “recognize” something about an object toward which it is directed? Although the notion of "emotional recognition" is central to Rick Furtak’s Knowing Emotions, the text does not provide an account of this concept that enables us to assess the extent to which a given emotional response is recognitive. This article draws from the text to articulate a novel account of emotional recognition. According to this account, emotional recognition can be assessed not only in terms of the “accuracy” of an emotional construal in a strictly epistemological sense, but also in terms of the quasi-ethical ideal of responding emotionally to what we encounter in ways that are “specific,” “deep," and “balanced." 


Furtak, Rick Anthony. 2018. Knowing Emotions: Truthfulness and Recognition in Affective Experience. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190492045.001.0001

Roberts, Robert C. 2003. Emotions: An Essay in Aid of Moral Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610202

How to Cite
Gallegos, Francisco. 2020. “What Are Emotions For?”. Journal of Philosophy of Emotion 1 (1), 123-34. https://doi.org/10.33497/jpe.v1i1.33.