Publication details for Prof Matthew RatcliffeRatcliffe M. (2005). William James on Emotion and Intentionality. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 13(2): 179-202.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0967-2559, 1466-4542
- DOI: 10.1080/09672550500080405
- Keywords: Affect, Cognition, Emotion, Experience, Feeling, Intentionality.
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
William James’s theory of emotion is often criticised for placing too much emphasis on bodily feelings and neglecting the cognitive aspects of emotion. This paper suggests that such criticisms are misplaced. Interpreting James’s account of emotion in the light of his later philosophical writings, I argue that James does not emphasise bodily feelings at the expense of cognition. Rather, his view is that bodily feelings are part of the structure of intentionality. In re-conceptualising the relationship between cognition and affect, James rejects a number of commonplace assumptions concerning the nature of our cognitive relationship with the world, assumptions that many of his critics take for granted.