Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


A Brief Comparison Between Accounts of emotions

What is the difference between shame and anger?

  • Behaviorism: we tend to behave differently when we are angry and when we are ashamed (psychological), a difference in the descriptions of two different kinds of awkward situations (analytic).
  • Existentialism: two solutions to two problems.
  • Cognitivism: Difference in content: in shame one feels responsible, while in anger one expresses an aversive reaction.
  • Non-propositional cognitivism: anger and shame direct attention to different features (e.g. problems vs. social context)
  • Evaluative: shame, but not anger, “track” social values and norms
  • Empiricism: difference in our sensations, feelings;
  • Social-constructionism: two different transitory roles: the ‘angry agent’ and the ‘ashamed agent’
  • Social-intuitionism: different intuitions triggered by different situations
  • Evolutionary approaches: adaptations to individual vs. collective problem-solving; or affect programs (natural kind) vs. social emotions (normative kinds)
  • Neo-empiricism: different neural structures, different processing of bodily states, different integrations of affective and cognitive information.
[this is inspired from Solomon, R. (1998). Emotions. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge.]