Becoming Human"The Ontogenesis, Metaphysics, and Expression of Human Emotionality"

Becoming Human"The Ontogenesis, Metaphysics, and Expression of Human Emotionality"

Jennifer Greenwood

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780262029780

Publisher: The MIT Press


Contemporary orthodoxy in philosophy and psychology of emotion construes emotions as falling into two distinct groups, one being largely innate, the Basic Emotions and, the other, being largely socially-constructed, the Higher Cognitive Emotions. In addition, current orthodoxy construes emotions as operating primarily in individual psychological economies, that is, as individualistic. In this monograph I argue that both of these construals are mistaken. I argue that Basic Emotions and, subsequently, Higher Cognitive Emotions develop from inborn emotion precursors (affect expressions) concurrently with language and, by implication, symbolic thought and through the same developmental mechanisms. I argue, further, that emotions operate primarily in social economies to enable human social life, firstly through interpersonal regulation and, subsequently, through intrapersonal regulation. In light of these analyses, I also argue that emotional ontogenesis, which includes the ontogenesis of emotional intentionality, is a world-to-brain transcranial achievement, that is, it is radically externalistic. The development of human emotionality, language and thought is dependent upon the deep functional integration of two exquisitely complementary repertoires of constraints, one neonatal and, the other, maternal (or primary caregiver). Drawing on insights primarily from developmental sciences and philosophy, I show how a limited range of shared developmental mechanisms results in the concurrent development of at least some aspects of human emotionality and language. The deep functional integration of neonatal and maternal constraints repertoires results in the progressively synchronised, mutual modulation of relevant causal processes in both partners together with the neurogenesis and close, linguistically-mediated social relationship prerequisite to such development.