The philosophy of emotions seeks to develop a systematic theory of the phenomena we refer to by terms such as ‘fear’, ‘envy’, ‘anger’, ‘sadness’, ‘joy’, ‘embarrassment’, ‘shame’, ‘jealousy’, ‘remorse’, ‘boredom’, ‘nostalgia’, ‘pride’, ‘regret’, ‘admiration’, ‘compassion’, ‘disgust’, ‘amusement’, ‘indignation’, ‘hope’, which fall under the generic label of ‘emotions’. We know it when we are undergoing emotions, often we know which emotion we have, and we know how to ascribe them to others and why we ascribe them. Still, the fact that this intuitive knowledge is easily available should not make us think that emotions are simple phenomena. Let us start, then, by introducing what are often thought to be the central features of the emotions, features we shall illustrate by considering how the emotions contrast with other affective phenomena and, more generally, other psychological states. Doing so will not only furnish some preliminary insights into the nature of emotions, but will also put us in a position to briefly present some of the main issues with which we shall be concerned in this book. The first of these core features concerns the role of feelings in the emotions (their phenomenology), the second the fact that emotions are directed towards objects (their intentionality), and the third the sorts of standards to which the emotions are answerable (their epistemology).

Consider the following everyday expressions: we say we are ‘in the grip of panic’, ‘struck by fear’, ‘overcome with joy’, ‘oppressed by shame’, ‘overwhelmed by sorrow’. These locutions suggest that emotions are reactions we passively undergo. The term ‘passion’, which used to refer to what are now known as emotions, testifies to that fact. So are the many participial adjectives designating emotions (e.g., ‘horrified’, ‘astonished’, ‘troubled’, ‘vexed’). In the emotions, we seem to be acted on, and this typically manifests itself to us through bodily agitations or disturbances – a feature to which the very term ‘emotion’ alludes. The crucial point for present purposes, however, is that these bodily disturbances are felt. This is why the term ‘feeling’ is never far away when there is talk of the emotions. What are these bodily disturbances or agitations that we are said to be

feeling during emotional episodes? Emotions are generally held to involve