Publication 777

Colombetti G. & Thompson E. (2008) The feeling body: Towards an enactive approach to emotion. In: W. F. Overton, U. Müller & J. Newman (eds.) Developmental Perspectives on Embodiment and Consciousness. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale NY: 45–68. Fulltext at
Our aim in this chapter is to bring emotion theory and the embodied view of cognition closer to each other. We first present an overview of classical (pre-Jamesian) theories of emotion and show that they were all psychosomatic. We then turn to the disembodied stance of cognitivism and trace how and why emotion theory came to lose the body. We argue that cognitivism not only neglected the body, but also tended to classify previous theories of emotion as either cognitive or physiological. This tendency has fostered a tension between these two features of emotion that exists to this day. The main manifestation of this tension in current emotion theory is the tendency to see cognitive and bodily processes as separate aspects or constituents of emotions. Finally, in the remainder of the article, we sketch an embodied approach to emotion, drawing especially on the “enactive approach” in cognitive science. Relevance: It develops ideas for an enactive approach to emotion.


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