Affect - or feeling (after Leys)

2016-08-03T12:21:14Z (GMT) by John J. Cromby Martin E. H. Willis
In recent years, the “affective turn” has permeated the arts, humanities, social sciences, and psychology, but like any influential academic movement, has not escaped critique. We outline and agree in general terms with a critique by Leys which emphasises the influence of the basic emotion paradigm; the dualisms that accompany its deployment; and concerns regarding intentionality and meaning. We then propose an alternate approach to affect and feeling, derived from the philosophies of Whitehead and Langer; demonstrate how this avoids the endorsement of cognitivism to which Leys, critique succumbs; illustrate the strengths of this approach with respect to analyses of former U.S. President Reagan; and highlight two strengths of affect theory which are compatible with it. We conclude that our approach closes the intentionality gap that Leys identifies whilst retaining a fruitful emphasis upon the affective realm.

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