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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 51, Issue 1, March 2011

Daniel Harris
Pages 73-84
DOI: 10.5840/ipq20115116

Of Somethings and Nothings
Wittgenstein on Emotion

In philosophical discussions of emotion, feeling theories identify emotions with bodily events while cognitive theories insist that any coherent conception of emotion begins with acts of mind. The purpose of this paper is to argue the extent to which this debate is motivated by Cartesian considerations that unduly problematize the relationship between mind and body, and to suggest that in Wittgenstein we find resources for a view of emotions that overcomes this Cartesian problematic. My strategy is to show the important intuitions captured by each theory, intuitions the accommodation of which is necessary for any satisfactory theory of emotion, and then to suggest that Wittgenstein enables this accommodation without the stalemate characteristic of the present debate.