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Demystifying Emotions
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: July 2022
  • Print publication year: 2022
  • Online ISBN: 9781107588882
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Book description

Demystifying Emotions provides a comprehensive typology of emotions by comparing major theories in psychology (evolutionary, network, appraisal, goal-directed, psychological constructionist, and social) and philosophy (feeling, judgmental, quasi-judgmental, perceptual, embodied, and motivational) in a systematic manner with the help of tools from philosophy of science, allowing scholars in both fields to understand the commonalities and differences between these theories. Agnes Moors also proposes her own novel, skeptical theory of emotions, called the goal-directed theory, based on the central idea that all kinds of behaviors and feelings are grounded in goal-striving. Whereas most scholars of emotion do not call the notion of emotion itself into question, this review engages in a critical examination of its scientific legitimacy. This book will appeal to readers in psychology, philosophy, and related disciplines who want to gain a deeper understanding of the controversies at play in the emotion domain.


‘Moors' tour de force is a careful, thorough, and insightful account of modern scientific and philosophical theories of emotion. From now on, everyone must start with her analysis and summary – and learn from it (I did).'

James A. Russell - Professor of Psychology, Boston College, USA

‘There used to be no single book that tells you literally all you need to know to understand contemporary debates on emotions across disciplines. The book you are holding in your hands is that book. It reflects Agnes Moors' singular talent for systematic taxonomy. Enter this garden of theoretical forking paths without fear – you have the best tour guide that money can buy.'

Andrea Scarantino - Professor of Philosophy, Georgia State University, USA

‘This modestly titled ‘Typology' is in fact enormously ambitious. Moors has provided a lucid guide through the intricate history of emotion theory, tracing its many twists and turns over the past decades of accelerating research, and her accounts of both psychology and philosophy are even-handed and impressively systematic. And with all that, Moors does not merely explicate the complex debates to which emotion has given rise; she also makes a compelling case for an original synthesis, built around her contention that emotional processes are best understood as goal-directed rather than stimulus-bound.'

Ronald de Sousa - Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Canada


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