Shared emotions

a steinian proposal

Gerhard Thonhauser

pp. 997-1015

The aim of this paper is to clarify the notion of shared emotion. After contextualizing this notion within the broader research landscape on collective affective intentionality, I suggest that we reserve the term shared emotion to an affective experience that is phenomenologically and functionally ours: we experience it together as our emotion, and it is also constitutively not mine and yours, but ours. I focus on the three approaches that have dominated the philosophical discussion on shared emotions: cognitivist accounts, concern-based accounts, and phenomenological fusion accounts. After identifying strengths and weaknesses of these approaches and summarizing the elements that a multifaceted theory of shared emotions requires, I turn to the work of the early phenomenologist Edith Stein to further advance an approach to shared emotions that combines the main strengths of Helm and Salmela's concern-based accounts and Schmid's phenomenological fusion account. According to this proposal, the sharedness of a shared emotion cannot be located in one element, but rather consists in a complex of interrelated features.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-018-9561-3

Full citation [Harvard style]:

Thonhauser, G. (2018). Shared emotions: a steinian proposal. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (5), pp. 997-1015.

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