Theories of emotions traditionally divide into two categories. According to some researchers, emotions are or essentially involve evaluative thoughts or judgments. These are called cognitive theories. According to other researchers, an emotion can occur without any thought. These are called non-cognitive theories. Some defenders of non-cognitive theories argue that emotions are action tendencies, others say they are feelings, and still others say they are affect programs, which encompass a range of internal and external events. One of the most celebrated non-cognitive theories owes, independently, to William James and Carl Lange. According to them, emotions are perceptions of patterned changes in the body. I think the perceptual theory of emotions is basically correct, but it needs to be updated. In this discussion, I will offer a summary and defence.
The question I am addressing bears on the question of modularity. Within cognitive science, there is a widespread view that perceptual systems are modular.