WHY MOODS CHANGE: THEIR APPROPRIATENESS AND CONNECTION TO BELIEFS (Synthese, 2020) There are many more philosophical discussions of emotions than of moods. One key reason for this is that emotions are said to have a robust connection to beliefs while moods are said to lack that connection. I argue that this view, though prevalent, is incorrect. It is motivated by examples that are not representative of how moods typically change. Indeed, once we examine the notion of belief-responsiveness and look at a wider range of examples, we can see that moods are belief-responsive and can be evaluated for appropriateness along a number of dimensions. Moreover, for all cases in which moods seem to be disconnected from beliefs, I argue that there are analogous cases for emotions. In other words, the connection between moods and beliefs on the one hand and the connection between emotions and beliefs on the other are, in fact, very similar. This means that not only should we take belief-responsiveness to be a core feature of moods but also potentially pursue a unified theory for why moods and emotions would have this connection to belief.
EPISTEMIC AND MORAL DIMENSIONS OF MOODS (in progress) Much has been said about the epistemic and moral roles of emotions—particularly their roles in our ability to apprehend value. While it is generally accepted that such roles exist, there is extensive debate about what the roles are. On one side of the debate we have perceptualists who think that emotions ground our evaluative beliefs in the same way that sensory perception grounds our non-evaluative beliefs. On the other side we have philosophers who think the epistemic role of emotion is less direct—that perhaps emotions provide heuristic guides to value or promote understanding of our evaluative situation. What has been significantly less explored is the epistemic role of moods. In this paper, I argue that moods also have important epistemic and moral roles. Further, I argue that they have these roles in virtue of their connection to attention.
MOODS AS PATTERNS OF ATTENTION (in progress) In this paper, I lay out a novel account of moods, the patterns of attention view.
ONCE MORE WITHOUT FEELING (in progress) There are feelings that we associate with being in particular moods. We often become aware of our moods because we feel certain ways. These things make it very tempting to include feelings as a constitutive part of moods. In this paper, I argue that the patterns of attention account of moods can explain the relationship between feelings and moods without building feelings into moods themselves.
VARIETIES OF MOOD EXPERIENCE (in progress) Research in psychology suggests that moods vary across cultures in several different ways. This means that any adequate theory of moods has to explain how this is possible. Moreover, the theory has to predict the right amount and the right kind of variation. I argue that the patterns of attention view of moods is uniquely suitable for the task. The view's incredible flexibility can provide an elegant explanation of the ways that moods have been proposed to vary across cultures. Between feelings theories which give us too little cultural variation and cognitive theories that give us too much, the patterns of attention theory gets it just right.
A LITTLE MOOD MUSIC (in progress) There is an important difference between my moods and the moods in pieces of music. My moods involve me, a conscious being who has feelings and experiences. Music involves no such thing; music does not feel, think, or experience. So, we are faced with two questions. 1. What are musical moods (m-moods)? and 2. What is their relationship to psychological moods (p-moods)?
There have traditionally been two rival camps on these issues. On one side, there are the emotivists who think that m-moods depend on the p-moods that a piece produces, is apt to produce, or is designed to produce. So, m-moods are basically just p-moods that stand in some particular causal relationship to the music. On the other side are formalists, who think that m-moods are expressive features of the music itself, that exist independently of how audience members react to it. So, m-moods are not p-moods and the p-moods of the audience do not determine what the m-moods are. In this paper, I argue for a hybrid view. On one hand, I argue that m-moods are genuine structural features of the music itself and that there is an important sense in which the reaction of audience members has no bearing on what mood the music expresses. On the other hand, I will argue that m-mood and p-mood are not entirely distinct, that m-moods are isomorphic to p-moods. The reason that this position has not been set out yet is that I believe philosophers have been working with wrong theories of p-mood. I argue that if we embrace the view that moods are patterns of attention, we can both make sense of how m-moods can be independent of particular people’s p-moods and how the connection between the two can nevertheless be deep and important. Looking through the lens of moods as patterns of attention, we can see how we can learn more about m-moods from knowing about p-moods and how we can learn more about p-moods from knowing more about m-moods.