Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

I Don’t Feel like That! A Phenomenology-Free Approach to Moods

Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy
Keywords: emotions, functionalism, Intentionalism, Moods, Representationalism


People in moods usually claim that they feel in a certain way, and yet they also say that moods are undirected states. If one takes these reports at face value, moods are a counterexample to representationalism, namely the doctrine of a necessary connection between phenomenal character and content. The standard representationalist answer is to deny moods’ undirectedness in order to capture the phenomenal character of moods. I go in the opposite direction: I will deny moods’ phenomenal character and secure moods’ undirectedness instead. I will show that both our folk-psychological usage and our introspective based reports favour this proposal over standard representationalism.

Being in a bad mood is something that everybody has experienced at least once in a lifetime. Considering the world to be a terrible place, holding beliefs about negative things, etc. are all experiences that anybody in a depressive mood may have had. Like emotions, moods are a common occurrence in our mental lives. Usually, people’s introspective reports on moods highlight two features. Firstly, being in a certain mood is feeling in a certain way. In other words, we report that moods are…


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