Shame and Cognitivism

Phil Hutchinson


Cognitivist accounts of the emotions attempt to offer explanations of emotional
states in terms of the propositional beliefs of the agent. Cognitivist accounts often
divide emotions into two groups; emotions such as pride, shame and guilt, which lend
themselves to cognitive interpretation, and emotions such as fear and disgust, which
do not readily do so (Taylor 1980: 385, 1985: 1). The former are characterised as
sophisticated emotions of self-assessment and the latter as less sophisticated,
affective states, which are thus less amenable to cognitive accounts. Proponents of
cognitive accounts can be divided into two groups: objective cognitivists such as
Donald Davidson (1976) and subjective cognitivists such as Gabriele Taylor


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; shame; cognitivism; emotion

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